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Notre Dame hopes to attract more students with military service experience

A new office of veterans and military affairs will be actively recruiting more students with service experience. // WSBT 22 Photo

There's a type of student the University of Notre Dame says it would like to see more of on campus.

A new office of veterans and military affairs will be actively recruiting more students with service experience.

The university has a history with military careers. Notre Dame was among the first universities to host all three ROTC branches of the military back in the 1950s.

In fact, the ROTC building on campus is now home to a new office that wants to make sure service members are re-adjusting to life as a student.

"Working in the reactor department is tough,” said Lieutenant Jennifer Malherek.

Malherek is trained to handle nuclear power, but most days on Notre Dame's campus she disarms ROTC student problems. Her active U.S. Navy duty is now spent on assignment at the alma mater she says was a challenge to re-adjust to after deployment.

“When you transition back to civilian life, or even if you're just transitioning to a non-military establishment, you kind of lose that community and those resources available to you," said Malherek.

Re-integration back from blue navy fatigues to life under the Irish blue and gold is why a new office of veterans and military affairs wants to make sure service members are retained on campus.

“You have this incredibly talented and diverse group of people that have served overseas and done these incredibly brave things. But they're terrified about their next act. What do they do after service?" said Retired Marine Regan Jones, the military affairs office director.

Jones heads the new office and says one of his goals is recruiting more students with service experience.

"It represents this great opportunity to leverage their diverse experiences in the classroom,” said Jones.

He says the office is working to be more inclusive of not just veterans, but all military-connected students. Including ROTC and active duty. He says that totals 330 Notre Dame students.

Malherek is also seeking her MBA and says she works to remind other students how military education benefits can be passed down to their dependents. Now she says there's an office that serves those who continue to sacrifice.

"What's great about that is that it takes this nontraditional student and is able to merge them back into this traditional lifestyle," said Malherek.

Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business MBA program enrolls 38 veterans as part of the Yellow Ribbon Program.

That program helps cover any costs not covered by the GI Bill.

To learn more about Notre Dame’s resources for military-connected students, visit the OMVA website.

You can contact Jones at 574-631-9074 or reganjones@nd.edu.

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