On the Job with Marty Martinez
Marty Martinez is the Veterans Service Center Project Coordinator at the Wyoming Union, University of Wyoming.
Please describe your professional background related to your veteran service center position.
Chief warrant officer, human resources officer, 29 years with U.S. Army Wyoming National Guard, 26 years on active duty; veterans service center project coordinator since 2012.
Based on your experience and training, what services do student veterans most need?
Number one would be academics. They may have been sharp in high school but coming back after four, six, or eight years can be challenging, so tutoring programs are paramount to us. We have free tutoring in our office and a network of tutors outside the office. It’s the number one requested service. Second would be dealing with transitional needs, be they physical, health, or social. We work with U. S. Veterans Administration to bring clinicians into our center and work to break through that barrier of them asking for help.
How does your center communicate the unique experiences and possible transitions of student veterans?
Two things we do each year that attract a lot of attention and get faculty, staff, and the community involved are the Roll Call project held during Veteran’s Day, and in the spring semester we have a She Served Picture Project. For Roll Call, we read off the names of every military person who has been lost since 9-11. It’s held just outside the union, starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. or later, and students and faculty are walking by all day. There are about 98 slots to fill with each person reading about 100 names; some come and drape a uniform over the podium; others just breakdown and can’t get through it. Our She Served Picture Project highlights the service of our female veterans and all the females in our families who’ve supported veterans. Different students work on it each year, and I think we have over 1,000 pictures now that are used in all types of displays.
What programs have been particularly successful?
We have a work-study program supported by Veterans Affairs that has grown from two student staff members to seven now, and each of them has responsibility for one of seven pieces of center operations. It’s broken down into budget, outreach and newsletter, website, outdoor programming, marketing and advertising, logistics, and a chief of staff. The system is built around one similar to what you would experience in the military, and last year we had 52 different events. We also have a new student orientation for student veterans where they have an opportunity to connect with the resources that are not only on campus but also in the community. This year, we had 29 different resources available at the orientation.