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MassBay Student Veteran Accepted into Warrior-Scholar Project at Cornell University

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Charles Santamaria WELLESLEY HILLS, MA (July 13, 2017) – The Massachusetts Bay Community College is pleased to announce student veteran Charles Santamaria of Millis has been accepted into the Warrior-Scholar Project to attend Cornell University July 23rd – 30th. The Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) empowers enlisted military veterans by providing them with a skill bridge that enables a successful transition from the battlefield to the classroom; maximizes their education opportunities by making them informed consumers of education, and increase the confidence they will need to successfully complete a rigorous four-year undergraduate program at a top-tier school.

“We are proud to host a Warrior-Scholar Project Academic boot camp at Cornell University for the 2017 year,” said Dr. Sidney Ellington, Executive Director of WSP. “The program at Cornell will tap into the immense potential of Post-9/11 veterans and reduce obstacles to success, addressing veterans’ misperceptions about college and building their confidence through an intense academic reorientation.”

“Charles’ participation in WSP will bring him one step closer to his goal of applying to pre-medical and biological sciences programs,” said MassBay Coordinator of Transfer Affairs and Articulations Rhian Waterberg. “Charles exemplifies the rich academic and co-curricular contributions our student veterans bring to MassBay. We are excited about his participation in the Warrior Scholars Program and hope that it will inspire a new tradition of WSP participation among MassBay’s student veteran population.”

Santamaria is a Life Science major who began classes at MassBay in the Fall of 2016 after his tour in the United States Marine Corps was finished. While on active duty, he served as Combat Correspondent/Broadcaster in Twentynine Palms, California. Santamaria is very involved in campus life here at MassBay, serving as President of the Student Government Association (SGA), an Orientation Leader welcoming new students to the College and one of the MassBay Veteran’s Club representatives. Santamaria is the first MassBay veteran accepted to the WSP program and he will be one of 16 students attending Cornell program this year and 250 nationwide. He is a first generation American as well as a first generation college student.

“As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I am excited to be accepted and participate in the Warrior-Scholar Project at Cornell University,” said Santamaria. “Attending a community college like MassBay has been a smooth transition from the military that has provided me with a solid foundation for my academic career. This program creates a tremendous opportunity for veterans and I know my time at Cornell University will contribute to my level of readiness for transfer to a 4-year university and possible changes I might face in the future.”

The Warrior-Scholar Project is a nonprofit organization seeking to help GIs in the transition to college. The organization launched a nine-person pilot program at Yale University in 2012, and as of 2017, the Warrior-Scholar Project has expanded to assist over 700 students attending 15 top colleges around the country including; Yale University, the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, the University of Arizona, Syracuse University, the University of Chicago, Princeton University, the University of Oklahoma, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California, Texas A&M University, the University of Michigan, Amherst College and Cornell University.

Each WSP boot camp is run by a team of student veterans, and taught by university professors and graduate students. An intensive syllabus composed of both classic and modern scholarly works guides participants as they learn how to frame their ideas in an academic context, think critically, and formulate scholarly arguments. Participants not only learn the subject-matter material; they learn how to learn. This one week intensive academic boot camp program is free for accepted veterans to participate.

“I taught for the Warrior-Scholar Project at Cornell in past years, and they were among the most enjoyable and memorable experiences I have ever had in the classroom,” said Cornell University President Emeritus Hunter R. Rawlings III,. “The veterans are eager to learn, ready to take on new and difficult reading assignments, lively respondents in class, and admirable in their discipline and seriousness. Their experience in the military gives them a fine perspective from which to read documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, as well as to study a historian of war like the ancient Athenian Thucydides. I am proud and pleased that Cornell helps to sponsor this course of study for veterans of our armed services.”

"The Warrior Scholar Project serves as a catalyst for veterans succeeding in higher learning,” said Cornell University President of Undergraduate Veterans Association and WSP Program Alumni Luke Opyd. “Whether they have considerable academic experience or are starting their first class, veterans at WSP will take away a multitude of critical skills and resources which will greatly assist them during their academic journey."

WSP funders and private donors cover the entire cost of the program for participants, excluding travel. Student veterans attending Cornell University boot camp will reside in campus housing and attend lectures in various classrooms.

MassBay currently enrolls more than 140 veteran students each semester and has been recognized for its military and veteran friendly policies and veteran friendly campus by Military Advanced Education Guide to Colleges and Military Times’ Best for Vets Colleges. MassBay offers academic advising, career counseling, and support services to assist our veteran students succeed. Among the resources available to MassBay veteran students is the on-campus Veterans Resource Center, nicknamed “The Bunker” and a very active student run Veteran’s Club.

For more information on the Warrior-Scholar Project;
For more information on MassBay Community College;

MassBay Community College was recently ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for 2-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England and ranked #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded life-long learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.