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Abstract

The Veterans Embracing Transition (VET) Connect Peer Leadership Program is a University-based effort to assist student veterans in transitioning to campus and civilian life. Peer Leaders receive training to provide outreach to educate the campus community about the needs and perspectives of veterans (Klaw, Li, Avalos, & Diaz, 2016). As part of a larger project exploring the effects of VET Connect, exploratory findings in qualitative research indicate that through their participation in VET Connect student veterans gained a sense that civilians do indeed care (12, 92%) about veterans. Over half of the participants (8, 61%) reported changing ideas about themselves as veterans, seeing themselves at first as “not needing anybody” and then discovering that relationships were important to their sense of self. In their services as peer educators, these students discovered that they were not significantly different from other SJSU students as diverse and varied individuals. This study was conducted in collaboration with Jemerson Diaz. We worked on independent research questions and observations using data derived from the same larger study simultaneously under the supervision of Dr. Klaw.

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