WOU student Adam Dryden was selected as the January Team Leader of the Month for Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE). Dryden, who will be graduating this year, is an Exercise Science major from Salem, with a minor in Health Education. We spoke to Dryden about his wonderful honor, as well as how he got involved with the program. Check out his answers below!
Can you talk a little about what PAVE is? How did you find out about it?
PAVE is an acronym Peer Advisors for Veteran Education. It is a program that spans across many other Universities in the United States. This program was created to ease the tough transition from military service to higher education using the knowledge of upperclassmen. Veteran upperclassmen apply to be an advisor and after completing our certifying process, these upperclassmen then become peer advisors. Peer advisors are connected to a small group of freshmen who are receiving VA education benefits, to include veterans, dependents, and guardsmen. I found out about this program when Colin Haines, the former Veteran Resource Coordinator, told me about it and asked me to attend the PAVE National Training Center at the University of Michigan in August 2019. I gladly accepted.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities as a PAVE team leader?
As a PAVE team leader, my day-to-day responsibilities include monitoring our Veteran’s Resource chat line, answering emails, logging PAVE outreach and interaction logs, maintaining and fostering resources, and managing my PAVE team.
How does it feel to have been selected as team leader of the month?
I am honored to have been selected as the team leader of the month in January. My team is truly fantastic and deserves all the recognition. Their hunger to help the student veteran community makes being the PAVE team leader very enjoyable.
How has the PAVE program grown at WOU?
The PAVE program has grown tremendously since the fall of 2019. Student veterans, professors, and faculty members of WOU are talking and asking questions about PAVE. The PAVE program works in conjunction with our Student Veterans of America chapter on campus. Our goals are closely aligned with each other, so we often work together to help the student veterans, dependents, and guardsmen here on WOU. While our PAVE team’s goal is to be student advisors for incoming freshmen who are receiving VA education benefits, we are always willing to aid any student, regardless of veteran status.
How fulfilling is it to be a support system for student veterans?
It is incredibly fulfilling to be a support system for student veterans, dependents, and guardsmen. We are all willing to be that support system for the set of unique challenges that this population faces. We were all freshman at some point, VA education benefits are not streamlined and as easy to access at certain times. Moreover, there are different obstacles that this population faces, that is why the PAVE program exists. Peer advisors that have faced the same, or similar, challenges before.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plans are up in the air currently, I am getting married after graduation; starting a family is a high priority in my life. Finding a house and a well paying job has been incredibly important. Pushing my previous ambitions for a master’s degree to the side, for now.
Congratulations, Adam Dryden!