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Warrior Scholar Project introduces veterans to college life at Notre Dame

Warrior Scholar Project introduces veterans to college life at Notre Dame. // WSBT 22 photo

The summer is a popular time to visit college campuses.

For a group of veterans, they are getting an entire week in the life of a Notre Dame student.

The program helps the veterans transition to college life.

The Warrior Scholar project started back in 2012 at Yale.

It brings veterans looking to go back to school to big name universities.

As part of Notre Dame's military and veteran initiative, the program has now expanded to Notre Dame.

The funding coming from the 3rd and Goal Foundation, a veteran support organization founded by alum Brady Quinn.

Inside the Pasquerilla Center, 15 prospective students are hard at work.

"I made a promise to my grandfather before he died that I would go to college and graduate," said Warrior Scholar student Noah Stubblefield.

These students come with a different set of skills. They have all served in the military.

"They're team builders. They're problem-solvers. They've learned leadership. They are highly adaptable," says Sidney Ellington, executive director of the Warrior Scholar Project.

"When you couple those civil aspects and those traits with a top-tier education from a school like Notre Dame, you've got a civic leader of tomorrow. America needs that," Ellington says.

The students are taking part in the Warrior Scholar project in its first year at Notre Dame. The program helps veterans transition between two very different cultures: the military and college.

"You have to manage your own time. You don't have someone telling you where you need to be and when you need to be there, so you have to be able to manage your own time effectively," Stubblefield said.

While skills like time-management and note-taking are an important part of the program, the main focus is building confidence to help the veterans see themselves at top-tier university like Notre Dame.

Stubblefield says he's already seen progress in himself.

"This program has taken my confidence level in my ability to be successful in a rigorous academic environment from, ‘I'm moderately confident’ to ‘I know I'm going to be able to go and excel and thrive at a rigorous institution,’" Stubblefield says.

"We want to show these individuals that you can go to Yale and compete. You can go to a Harvard and compete. You can go to an MIT and compete,” Ellington said. “All you need is the determination to do so."

The director says at the beginning of the week, he asked the students about their educational goals.

Not a single one listed Notre Dame or any other school involved in the Warrior Project.

Only halfway through the week, the director says he's already had four students approach him asking about how to join the Fighting Irish.

Regan Jones, director of special projects at Notre Dame, says while the goal of the program is not admissions, veterans enrich classrooms. He says they want the Warrior-Scholar students to be interested in Notre Dame.

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