After being deployed to Iraq twice as a U.S. Marine, Cassie Michael knew her transition to academic life — as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan — would be a challenge.
Still, even before she arrived on campus in 2011, Michael knew her military training and experience gave her the tools and confidence to believe she could tackle anything.
Since then, Michael has made the most of her time at U-M, not only excelling academically but also working to ensure U-M is a place where other veterans and military students can thrive and feel supported.
She is a graduate student in the School of Social Work and program director for the new campus initiative, VetCoRe, a one-week, campus-based “boot camp” designed to help college-bound veterans make the switch from military to university life.
“Since completing my military service, I knew I wanted to continue helping people,” Michael said. “I hate to use the word ‘empower,’ but I want to make sure other veterans feel they belong here.”
To honor the service and sacrifice of Michael and other service members, veterans and their families, U-M will host Veterans Week from Nov. 5-15. Each day will feature programing or an event designed to support, recognize or advocate for U-M’s military community.
“Our goal for Veterans Week is to recognize the service and contributions of our military service members and provide engagement opportunities that build a better understanding of the veteran experience,” said Philip Larson, program director for U-M’s Veteran and Military Services.
“The diversity that veterans and military students bring to campus enhances the educational experience for all students and makes our community stronger. Everyone stands to gain from participating in this important week.”
U-M has a close connection to public service and the military community. Michigan Medicine has a longstanding affiliation with the VA Ann Arbor Hospital. The Michigan Union was once used as a barracks and mess hall by the Student Army Training Corps. And Alumni Memorial Hall, now part of the U-M Museum of Art, was built in 1910 to commemorate U-M students who served in the Mexican War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.
Currently, there are 390 veterans and active-duty service members attending U-M, including 142 undergraduates and 248 graduate students.
Events include an appreciation luncheon, an evening gala at the Michigan Theatre, a panel discussion featuring LGBTQ+ service members, and a conversation with retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, Army Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, on national security, service and policy.