Johnson said among other hurdles veterans face is an age gap and an education gap. For some these produce a lack of confidence surrounding returning to school.
Hilary Lithgow, an english and comparative literature lecturer for the program, said the Project’s academic boot camp focuses on the humanities. Participants attend lectures, seminars and workshops.
Kyle Piunti, a veteran, participated in the inaugural Warrior-Scholar Project at Yale University.
“It introduced me to authors, thinkers, historiographers I had never heard of before,” Piunti said. “The curriculum was very developed and I think it helped me transition over to academia.”
After attending the program and two semesters of community college, Piunti said he was accepted to Columbia University where he now studies computer science.
“In the classroom with these vets, you see a certain motivation, an eagerness to learn,” Lithgow said. “I feel like I learn so much from the veterans I work with.”
The Carolina Veterans Organization is currently collaborating with the Warrior-Scholar Project. Gantt Kinlaw, president of Carolina Veterans Organization, said the program is a great idea.
Kinlaw credits the ease of his own transition in part to the established network of veterans at UNC. He hopes to help student veterans in the same way others helped him when he first arrived at UNC.
Throughout the duration of the program, veterans will stay on campus, have access to the libraries, gyms, dining halls and loaner computers.
“We just want them to have the same experience as any other student on campus,” Johnson said.