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Spotlights

Veterans Find a Place to Belong at Otterbein

Veterans Find a Place to Belong at Otterbein


Soldiers who transition to students find a place to belong at Otterbein. In U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” Otterbein moved up two places to rank eleventh in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category.

Dean Bob Gatti invites all currently-enrolled student soldiers and veterans to join him from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the Den in the Campus Center, for a complimentary lunch. In addition, the OtterBean in the Library is offering free coffee all day to veterans.

Although free lunch and coffee are small gestures of gratitude on Veterans Day, Otterbein thanks veterans every day by proudly participating in the national Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program to help U.S. military veterans and their families attend college. Eligible veterans who apply and are accepted to Otterbein are able to attend tuition free.

“When I met with Laurie Mayhew, Assistant Registrar and School Certifying Official and she told me my tuition was covered, that made my day,” recalls second year MBA student Andrew Blasiman.

Blasiman was a Senior Airman in the Air Force for four years with was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 in support of the Green Beret Special Forces team in Kandahar. He was stationed overseas at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the United Kingdom as his home base. He is now employed as a senior systems engineer at Mediware Information Systems, a software firm.

“In the Air Force, I worked on servers and infrastructure and developed some leadership attributes. Learning rank and structure has helped me in my career,” he said. “My manager is a former Marine and is very supportive of my education. He works with my school schedule. I’ve recently been promoted to IT team lead.”

Blasiman considered applying to Ohio State, Virginia Tech and Colorado State, but chose Otterbein above the others due to strong connections felt throughout campus.

“I really wanted face-to-face learning. I want to work together with others; I’m responsible to other people on my team. We learn from each other through brainstorming and real-time collaboration. One of the best things about Otterbein are the connections and the quality of students and professors. They are top notch,” he explains.

The close connection of Otterbein to the Westerville community provided a way to give back, something that Blasiman values.

“In my MIS class, we have an opportunity to learn from a real business professional, Angelo Mazzocco, Chief Information Officer at Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians. Mazzocco mentioned that he volunteers for Westerville Area Resources Ministries. Our class is putting together a project plan for a PA system for them, as well as video-conferencing equipment,” Blasiman said.

Blasiman has a future goal of becoming a Chief Information Officer. He encourages other veterans to continue their education.

“Education can never be taken away from you. You worked hard for it, and it shows employers that you’re willing to not quit. People that are willing to stick it out and finish are the most employable. As a veteran, you’ve already stepped up and served your country. You’ve got a lot of leadership skills and training that employers want,” he explained.

OtterbeinTV takes a closer look at the university's history with students serving our country in the military and how they've helped shape campus, in an interview with University Archivist Stephen Grinch.

Otterbein knows that veterans enrich the learning environment on campus. Veterans bring valuable skills into the classroom and inspire their fellow classmates. Thank you, veterans, for all you do for our country—and for what you bring to our campus.