Angela Gordon - VetCorps Navigator Spotlight

1. Can you describe your role at Bates? What program are you in?

As the VetCorps Navigator, I work in the Student Veterans Center (SVC). My main purpose is to help student veterans navigate the VA system, their benefits, local resources, and the college environment.

I can help veterans through the steps of enrollment and filing for their benefits. I have a support network in place for transitioning military as well. I provide peer mentoring and assistance with resumes and job searches. I am here to help take care of things that a veteran may be struggling with so that they can focus on school and achieving their academic and career goals.

I am in the CNC Machinist program and will graduate with my associate degree this spring.

2. What are your goals over the next year as it relates to veterans?

Over the next year, I would like to establish a stronger relationship between veterans and Bates' faculty and staff through continued training on veteran issues, with a focus on transitioning from combat to careers.

I will be putting together workshops that focus on dealing with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, resumes and job searches, peer mentoring training through WWP, and how to file for or appeal disability benefits. I am collaborating with other VetCorps Reps all over Pierce County to put together resource fairs, as well as fun events for veterans and their families. I want to make sure that veterans are heard on campus and in the community. 

3. What's your background?

I grew up in Texas and joined the Army at age 18. I spent 3 years as an ammunition specialist working as the liaison between military personnel and civilians at the ammunition supply point and the EO rep at Ft. Drum, NY. After an injury, I was discharged and moved to Washington to be close to family.  I returned to school at Bates to find a career that would accommodate my disabilities as well as provide a good income for my family. As a student here, I have advocated for veterans and service member's rights. I have been a member of committees and taskforces that are committed to ensuring veterans are given a voice on campus. I helped establish the SVO as a chapter of the Student Veterans of America and attended their leadership summit in Indianapolis over the summer. 

4. What services does your office provide? What are your open hours?

The SVC has resources for many different programs and services. There are connections for basic needs, like food, and contact for different programs and veterans organizations. There are job postings and community outreach/volunteer opportunities. There will be a clothing closet for interview appropriate attire and an exchange for school clothes. I am working on putting together a food pantry as well so that veterans can share food or be sure to have a lunch if they are in need. The SVC is also a Veteran Safe Zone. Veterans can have lunch, study, socialize, or just relax with other student veterans. Right now there are temporary office hours until I find out what I can schedule for time to be at South Campus. The SVC itself is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. right now. I am in my office from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., but am available other times by appointment. I am also answering emails and returning phone calls within 24 hours. I will send out an official schedule once it is established. 

5. When you're not at Bates, how do you like to spend your time?

I try to spend more time with family and friends. I am an artist and a huge movie nerd. I work with the Warrior Photo Project at the American Lake VA. We take residents with PTS, TBI, and substance abuse issues on photo shoots and teach them to edit their pictures. I set up displays and put together slideshows of their work. I also work with the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide. With a rate of 22 suicides a day, it is a cause that is close to my heart. We are gearing up for our holiday events-Blankets for Hope and the annual Christmas party for the American Lake VA residents.  I am a new associate member of the Marine Corps League Det. 504. 

To learn more about the Student Veterans Center, go to www.bates.ctc.edu/Veterans or email veterans@bates.ctc.edu.