Student veteran Kenneth Brons
Kenneth Brons spent almost three years as an active duty soldier in the Army. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004 where his duties included driving U.S. military tanks. Three weeks into his tour he was injured by shrapnel from a bomb blast and he had to return home.
After being discharged, he faced the transition to civilian life. Eventually, he decided he would go to college, and maybe become a teacher.
Now Brons, an undergraduate student in UNT's College of Education, is scheduled to graduate from UNT in May 2012.
UNT is committed to vets' success
While initially he chose UNT because of its close proximity to his home and for its strong science and research programs, he quickly found out that UNT's programs specifically targeted for veterans provided benefits he had not expected.
"I would definitely recommend UNT to other vets," Brons says. "UNT has the resources that make transitioning to student life less intimidating. They are constantly adding programs and benefits to accommodate veterans."
UNT's Veterans Center helps student veterans navigate university resources for academic success. It focuses on three pillars:
- emphasizing transition support through campus life
- connecting student veterans with resources both on and off campus
- using programs and scholarships to recognize UNT community service members.
UNT was ranked the sixth best school in the nation for student veterans by Military Times EDGE, which recently released its list of Best for Vets: Colleges 2010. UNT outranked all other Texas schools, making it the No. 1 university in Texas for student veterans.
"I have gained valuable skills, not only in the classroom, but around campus by being active in the Student Veterans Association and Omega Delta Sigma Veterans Fraternity," Brons says.
Valuable faculty and staff support
He also says, as he has worked toward his degree, UNT faculty and staff have supported him every step of the way.
"The faculty at UNT, specifically the College of Education, have been very helpful and accommodating," Brons says. "But if it wasn't for my advisor, Philipe Becerra, who helped me find my educational path, I would be stuck in limbo on choosing a career."
This spring, Brons was named the inaugural recipient of the Disabled War Veterans Scholarship awarded by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Education Foundation. He earned the $2,500 scholarship for his academic excellence and outstanding leadership. AFCEA scholarships are supported by Microsoft employee contributions which are matched dollar for dollar by Microsoft Corporation.
"Two College of Education faculty members, Jennifer Alward and Judith Bradetich, wrote letters of recommendations for me that made this scholarship possible."
"This scholarship is a huge morale booster more than anything," Brons says. "It has helped improve my confidence, and also help relieve a lot of the financial burden this semester."
Make the world a better place
Brons says he's not sure exactly what he wants to be doing 20 years from now, but he hopes by then to have earned a PhD in educational administration or biology -- or both.
"Some day I'd like to be a school district superintendent or to be conducting my own research," he says. "I want to show people how important education is and that it needs to be a priority in their lives – not an afterthought."
Brons says he didn't realize the impact teacher quality had on his own education until he was grown.
"The teachers I remember most, and probably the best I had, are the ones who were enthusiastic about their subject and teaching," Brons says. "I want to be that teacher, the one that everyone remembers."