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​​​​​Community Advocates

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Meet Our Major Lawrence Miller Veteran Community Ad​vocates

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Dave Bergunzi
Office:  Buckeye Careers
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: History
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: As I transitioned off of active duty and into being a student, I wasn’t taking full advantage of the opportunities that Ohio State offers to military veterans. I actually had a fellow veteran advocate reach out to me and explain that I didn’t have to go it alone. Fellow veterans; you don’t have to go it alone once your service is complete. There are thousands of veterans who know what types of struggles you are dealing with when making the transition away from the military. The advocate program along with the veteran office is here to ensure you meet your next goal.



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Burt Bowman
Office:  Off Campus and Commuter Student Services
Service Branch:  Air Force 
Academic Program:  Anthropology Major, Military History Minor
Hometown: Anaheim, California
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  I wanted to participate in the VCA program because, as a veteran, I can appreciate wanting to feel like you are part of the traditional college experience.  It means a lot to be part of something bigger than yourself and this program bridges the gap between service experience and student experience.  It also allows me the opportunity to approach traditional college students with a broader prospective and help coordinate immersive veteran and non-veteran events.



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Tristan Britcher
Office: Student Wellness Center
Service Branch: Army National Guard
Academic Program: B.S. in Psychology
Hometown: Newport, Pennsylvania
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: I wanted to participate in the Advocate program to not only work with an office I am very passionate about but to also work with a community I love being a part of. I enjoy being involved with the military community and with the Advocate program I get to not only work directly with student-veterans but for them as well.







Ray Buckley
Office:  Athletic Fan Experience
Service Branch:  
Academic Program:  Sport Industry
Hometown: Bethel, CT
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  I wanted to become a Veteran Community Advocate in order to give back and make our veteran community at OSU feel comfortable in a situation where they may sometimes feel out of place.  I felt that the best way to do that was through Athletic Fan Experience, where there is no better to immerse in our OSU culture and experience.





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Luo Chen
Office: Student Activities
Service Branch: Air Force
Academic Program: B.A. in Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Troy, Ohio
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: This was a great program for my freshman year that allowed me to receive help when I needed it, and it was a great way to get to know the rest of the veteran community!



John Christensen
Office: Marion Regional Campus
Service Branch: USAF
Academic Program: BSSW (Social Work)
Hometown: Lincoln Nebraska
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: My primary focus in participating in the advocate program is to help integrate veteran and guard students into Marion campus. I want to help ease the transition into student life. When I started at OSUM I felt disconnect, I did not know where or how I fit in. I want to ensure no one else feel this way. I want everyone to recognize that the veteran population has a lot to offer OSU and OSU has a lot to offer veterans.


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Steph Dampney
Office:  Vets with Pets
Branch of service: Army, National Guard
Academic Program: Veterinary Medicine
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  I wanted to provide an avenue for veterans to mingle and get to know one another, and what better way to do that than with animals! Pets foster a way for people to alleviate the stressors of every day and are a perfect media to utilize when designing programs to suit veteran needs.




Sean Dupiano
Office: Fisher College of Business Undergrad
Service Branch: Air National Guard
Academic Program: B.S.B.A. in Finance
Hometown: Dublin, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "I hadn't had the opportunity to meet many military members from Ohio States and I felt I was neglecting that part of my community. Being an advocate, I hope to re-connect with other military members in my school."


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Haelie Egbert
Office: Battelle Center for Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
Service Branch: Air National Guard
Academic Program: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Fremont, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "I decided to apply for the Advocate position because I wanted to help out veterans and military affiliated students who have already given so much to the community."



Andrew Evans
Office: School of Health and Rehabilitation Service
Service Branch: Navy
Academic Program: B.S. in Health Sciences
Hometown: Roanoke, Indiana
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: I decided to become a student advocate in order to provide a path forward for all student veterans in the Health Sciences school, whether they might be looking to continue on to graduate school or planning to start a career immediately.  Helping veteran students transition into college life is important to me.  I honestly want to give back and help give direction to those who need it.



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James Fulton
Office: College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Service Branch: Air National Guard
Academic Program: B.S. in Agriculture
Hometown: Yellow Springs, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: I applied for the Advocate Program because I want to become further engaged with the student-veteran community along with assisting veterans around campus.




Nate Garens
Office: Parent, Family, and Alumni Relations
Service Branch: Marine Corps
Academic Program: B.S.B.A. in Accounting and B.A. in Chinese
Hometown: Akron, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "The first year transitioning out of the military can be difficult to manage. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by an extremely supportive Veteran community here. I just wanted to put myself in a position where I might be able to provide the same kind of support."


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Mohammad Ghamloush
Office: Disability Services
Academic Program: BSSW in Social Work
Hometown: Lebanon, Beirut
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: I have a passion of helping others. As humans we must be humanitarian and practice compassion and empathy towards one another. I believe offering help to the vulnerable population is our duty as good supportive human beings.



Colin Golian
Office: College of Dentistry
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: Doctor of Dental Surgery
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Biggest Tip for Transitioning Students: "Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are countless resources available at Ohio State to help you succeed. Nobody made it through their military service alone, so why should college be any different?"





Ian Guttendorf
Office: College of Engineering
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: B.S. in Civil Engineering
Hometown: Delaware, OH
 Biggest tip for transitioning students:  "Get Involved! The size of OSU is very overwhelming. However, getting out and meeting new people and making new connections will make the campus feel, not only smaller, but more like home."




Lon Heft
Office: Vets4Vets Student Veteran Organization President
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: B.S. B.A. Major:  Accounting Minors:  Entrepreneurship and Innovation/Religious Studies
Hometown: Lancaster, OH
Most Influential Ohio State Experience: "My most influential experience at Ohio State has been getting involved in the veteran community at OSU.  Becoming a member of Vets4Vets and getting to know other student veterans has broadened my horizons and opened up numerous business and social opportunities.  Having such a broad and caring support network has been a boost to my academic and personal well-being.."


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Dave Hibler
Office: Mentor/VCA’s in Colleges and Schools
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "My brothers and sisters in the armed forces have given me a lot, and the reason that I've taken on this advocate position is because I was to do my part in paying it forward.  After living through the difficulties that being a student-soldier can bring, and seeing first hand how help and support could have made things so much better, I want to try to give that help and support to the other military and veteran students around me and hopefully keep them from some of the difficulties that I had to experience.  I know student-soldiers will never be the same as "normal" students and we shouldn't be expected to be; but if I can help lighten the load that our military students have to carry and possibly give them a more traditional experience that will set them up for success after school, I want to."





Dustin Highnote
Office: College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Service Branch: Navy
Academic Program: B.S. in Construction Systems Management
Hometown: Ellaville, Georgia
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "After separating from the Navy with 11 years of service, I really began to miss that feeling of comradery and family I had with my fellow shipmates. As an older student, I also didn’t really feel like part of the Buckeye community; so I began to look for opportunities to connect with my fellow students. The advocate program was the perfect fit for me as it gave me a way to share my knowledge and experience with my fellow student veterans while creating an opportunity to connect with others."



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Edwin Juarez
Office: Knowlton School of Architecture
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: B.S. in City and Regional Planning
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "Transitioning from active service to the civilian sector comes with many challenges. I want to improve the reintegration process for incoming military-affiliated students, while also advocating to improve the academic experience for current military-affiliated students."



Lili Kawasaki
Office: Recreational Sports
Service Branch: Air National Guard
Academic Program: B.S. in Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Circleville, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "I wanted to participate in the advocate program to provide a helpful hand to those that may need it."



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Hanbum Kim
Office: LGBT Initiatives
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: Doctorate in Pharmacy
Hometown: Centerville, Ohio
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  I attended OSU in 2010 and then joined military after one year.  After getting out of the military, I wanted to contribute my familiarity of the campus and Columbus to fellow veterans who many not have had the same experience I have had. I still feel very connected to the veteran community and want to utilize organizing and studying skills to non-traditional students who have also been out of school for years. Through this experience, I also want to hone leadership skills and build rapport with fellow veterans. This program is personal to me, as I have once thought in the past that gay marriage would never be legalized and now we have a VCA position dedicated to advocating for students who are part of the LGBT community and educating those who support them. To participate in such a niche program like a LGBT group is a special honor for which I am very grateful.


Aaron Kuck
Office: Student Legal Services
Service Branch: Marine Corps
Academic Program: B.S. in Architecture
Hometown: Wapakoneta, OH
Reason for participating in the Advocate Program:  I am returning to the Advocate Program for the third year to help foster relationships between Advocates and to continue crafting memorable experiences for our veteran and military students during their time at OSU.



Kari Kueterman
Office: Career Counseling and Support Services
Service Branch: Army Reserve
Academic Program: B.S. in City and Regional Planning
Hometown: Versailles, OH
Most Inflential Ohio State Experience: "My most influential experience at Ohio State was participating in the OSU Football Veteran's Appreciation Game. I really enjoyed holding the American Flag at the pre-game show and spending the day with a great group of Veteran students."


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Jake Rutherford
Office:  Regional - Newark Campus
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program:  BS - Operations Management
Hometown: Winter Springs, FL
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  I chose to become a Community Advocate to give back to our Veterans and military students. I learned the hard way that the transition from military service to academics is a challenging one, but also very rewarding. This is primarily why I wanted to become a Veteran Community advocate; to help students like myself. My biggest advice is to know that you're not alone and to reach out for anything.



Terrence Shumate
Office: Recreational Sports 
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: B.S. in Exercise Science
Hometown:  Elyria, Ohio
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  “While I was in the Army, I did a lot of volunteer work as a member of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program as well as other volunteer opportunities, and I wanted to continue my service in that way once I got out. I believe that this service is crucial to OSU as there are a lot of veterans who come to the college environment unaware of every opportunity or benefit that they have, by being a college student as well as the ones specific to veterans. This program contributes to a lot of social events and informational sessions that benefit the veteran community of OSU in that way.” 

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Nick Siegrist
Office: Lima Campus
Service Branch: Navy
Academic Program: B.A. in History
Hometown: Fort Loramie, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "My first semester transitioning out of the military was rough. I want to help people who had a rough first semester like I did. I want to help my veteran brothers and sisters as they transition from the military to a classroom."



Eric Sowers
Office: College of Social Work (Graduate)
Service Branch: Army
Academic Program: Master of Social Work
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "The reason for me to participate in this advocacy program is because it will offer me another avenue to giveback and help the veteran community in and around Central Ohio. The best advice I have for a new/transitioning student(s) is to establish active lines of communication with a Veteran Community Advocate and the Military & Veteran Services office as soon as possible. We are here to help. Take advantage of the mentorship and camaraderie you will receive. I am always available to any veteran in need. Go Buckeyes!"


Scott Sparks
Office: Mansfield Campus
Service Branch: Air Force
Academic Program: B.S. in Aviation Management
Hometown: Monroeville, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "I applied for the Advocate position, because I had a long career of taking care of my troops. I am able to continue to take care of our veteran and military student to ensure they are taking advantage of all veteran and student benefits, and to ensure they are being treated as a valued member of the less than 1 percent of the population that serves this GREAT COUNTRY!"





Christian Schafer
Office: University Admissions – First Year Experience
Service Branch: Army Reserve
Academic Program: B.A. Japanese
Hometown: Hillsboro, OH
Biggest Tip for New/Transitioning Students: "My biggest tip for student veterans is to make time for events. They are fantastic for networking, you will open so many doors by going to events."



Tom Wike
Office: College of Social Work (Undergrad)
Service Branch: Marine Corps
Academic Program: B.A. in History
Hometown: Ashland, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "I struggled with my transition from military to civilian to college student. To have a successful transition we must help veterans find their new purpose in life and a tribe that they can belong to. This will stop them from isolating themselves and allow them to achieve their future goals."




Lizzy Williams
Office: Suicide Prevention
Service Branch: Army National Guard
Academic Program: B.S. in Neuroscience
Hometown: Ostrander, OH
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: "I was excited to apply for the suicide department role as that issue is one that hits close to home with me. I want to make an impact on my campus, and particularly in the veteran community."



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Brandi Wooten
Office: Women’s Initiatives
Service Branch: Army National Guard
Academic Program: PhD in Materials Science & Engineering
Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program: I applied to this position to be more active in the veteran community. Veterans are a unique demographic and I wanted to learn how to better serve those who serve the country.


Dean Zettler
Office :  Fisher College of Business
Service Branch:  Navy
Academic Program:  Graduate MBA
Reason for Participating in the Advocate Program:  I strongly believe that veteran voices and perspectives are an important part of the diversity of the Fisher College of Business.  I am proud to serve as President of Fisher Veterans Association and Student Council President.  My goal is to bring together veteran and non-veteran classmates.