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Military and Veterans

A group of MNR alumni veterans
A group of MNR alumni, left to right: Ryan Donner, Jerry Headley, Cheryl Pavic Henner, Jessi Campbell and Spencer Stater

Welcome, Military-connected Students!

We are glad that you are considering Virginia Tech to continue your education. Virginia Tech is proud of its long military history and has a strong commitment to supporting the success of our military-connected students, whether active duty, veterans, or dependents.

Military Friendly badge

Virginia Tech has been awarded designations as “Military Friendly, Silver Medal” by and “Best for Vets” by

At the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability we go to great measures to attract a diverse and well-rounded student population. This includes diversity of professional experience, such as the unique insights that our students with military backgrounds bring. Students who are veterans, active military, or military spouses comprise nearly 20 percent of each Executive MNR cohort, and almost 15 percent of each graduating class in the MNR. Some of our students are active duty military members exploring career options after their service commitment. Others are veterans or military-connected dependants looking to use veteran’s educational benefits to advance their education. All our students are committed to making the world a better place.

Not sure which benefits you may be eligible for?
For specific eligibility and application requirements, visit Virginia Tech’s Office of Veterans Services.

Yellow Ribbon Program
Virginia Tech participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides funding to help out-of-state veterans and dependents cover the cost of tuition that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover. Find out if you qualify.

Veterans: Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill, Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation
Spouses and Dependents: Transferred Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill, Virginia Military Survivors Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP), Chapter 35 Dependent Education Assistance (DEA)
National Guard and Reservists: Chapter 1606

From our students and alums

Ryan Donner, U.S. Navy Veteran
Ryan Donner, U.S. Navy Veteran

Growing up on a dairy and grain farm in Twin Valley, Minnesota, going fishing with my grandfather, I’ve always loved the great outdoors. Facing retirement from the Navy, I looked into attractive careers in the field, but quickly realized that I needed a degree in natural resources. When I learned about the MNR program, I thought, ‘Wow, there is something else I can feel comfortable leaving the service to do.’ Now that I have my degree, I am pursuing a career as a Natural Resources Police Officer, someone who patrols state-owned lands and enforces conservation and boating laws.”
                                                         - Ryan Paul Donner, U.S. Navy Veteran

Janet Tsao, Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army Reserve, with her daughter
Janet Tsao, Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army Reserve, with her daughter

“I’ve been in the Army for decades as a Reservist and have a successful civilian career with the California Department of Industrial Relations. I've always cared deeply about the environment, but a conversation with my teenage daughter made me realize the immediate threats to people posed by climate change. What kind of a planet will my daughter’s generation inherit as the result of my generation’s choices? And more importantly, what can I do? As I was retiring from the military, I saw an opportunity to pursue a career that aligns with my values, but I knew that I would need a degree in the new field first if I wanted to be effective in driving sustainability policies and innovations to reduce the global carbon footprint.”
                                  - Janet Tsao, Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army Reserve

Spencer Stater, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran
Spencer Stater, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

“The environmental field is very competitive, and you need experience. I had a degree in Geography-GIS: Environmental Science and Policy, which helped me get a job; but it wasn’t my dream job. The skills and credentials I gained in the MNR program set me up for a career I really wanted. The one-year accelerated format was perfect for me—I had a year left on my GI Bill—and I could keep working, since classes met only once a month. Less than two months after graduation, I started my dream job as an environmental health specialist. The position is multi-faceted, involving analysis of watersheds as well as food inspection for the county’s public health department.”
                                             - Spencer Stater, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran


Jordis McEwen, Veteran Spouse, with her husband
Jordis McEwen, Veteran Spouse, with her husband

“I didn’t have the undergraduate science background I thought I’d need for any future job in the environmental field. Virginia Tech’s MNR program stood out to me because it offered a range of courses I knew I could take with confidence, that would give me the knowledge and qualifications that I would need for the job I wanted. I was able to use the Virginia Military Survivors & Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP) which waived my tuition, and VA Chapter 35 Benefits provided a stipend while I was attending school. I feel lucky to have been able to use these state and federal veteran’s benefits to receive a truly world class education at Virginia Tech!”
                                                                  - Jordis McEwen, Veteran Spouse