Tag Archives: Veterans

Metropolitan State student helps keep Veteran and Military Services thriving

Metropolitan State student and veteran, Steve Campos, has been integral to helping keep the Veteran and Military Student Services Center (VMSS) open and running during spring semester.  He is currently acting as the Interim Veteran and Military Student Services Coordinator, a position he is not only passionate about, but also comes naturally to him.

Campos, an Air Force veteran of 35 years, has always been active within the veteran community.  He has worked extensively on the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon organization that helps veterans with many challenges they encounter while assimilating to a more civilian lifestyle.  Once he became a student in 2010, he also worked to vigorously promote Metropolitan State University to other veterans who wanted an education, but were unsure of how to begin the process or what school to choose.  He has also brought many wonderful speakers to Metropolitan State for events.

Continue reading Metropolitan State student helps keep Veteran and Military Services thriving

Nov. 10: Veterans Day at Metropolitan State

Metropolitan State Veterans Network will celebrate Veterans Day 2016 from 7:30 am to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10.  This event will be located in the Founders Hall reception area.

Stop in to see an eclectic mix of military artifacts on display. Among the exhibits will be photos, paintings, examples of military uniforms, an extensive military coin collection, and an ejection seat from an Air Force F-4 Phantom.


Refreshments will be provided, and don’t forget to register to win door prizes while you’re there.

For more information, contact Julie.Olson@metrostate.edu.

Art therapy sessions for veterans

An eight-week art therapy session for veterans and military students begins Saturday, Sept. 24 and runs for eight weeks. The sessions hosted by the ARS Bellum Foundation will be held each Saturday to Nov. 19 at the Saint Paul Campus in the Student Center, Room 201.

Art therapy is a creative mode of expression often used as a therapeutic technique which originated in the fields of art and psychotherapy. Art therapy has been shown to:

  • promote feelings of safety and security
  • express self when there are no words
  • promote healthy emotional relationships and trust
  • move from helplessness to a feeling of increased sense of internal control
  • establish and rebuild healthy boundaries
  • grief and loss healing
  • help build connections to the world around them
  • build self empowerment, strength, and resiliency

Contact Robyn.alliah@arsbellumfoundation.org to register. No art experience is required. Clay, collage, plaster, painting, pastels, masks, and more are included in the art therapy program. The program is HIPAA compliant and confidential.

A Minnesota leader you didn’t know is a Metropolitan State alum: Sandra Best

Minnesota Air National Guard Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Sandra L. Best

In February, alumna Air Force Col. Sandra L. Best became the first female general in Minnesota National Guard history when she was promoted to brigadier general. In her new position, Brig. Gen. Best will be the chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard, responsible for command supervision, oversight and leadership of the 133rd Airlift Wing and 148th Fighter Wing to include all items pertaining to manning, operations, readiness, training and equipping of units in the Minnesota Air National Guard.

Best graduated from Metropolitan State University in 1988 with a bachelor of arts  emphasizing human resource management. Her post-graduate education includes a master of business administration from the University of St. Thomas, as well as advanced education in leadership, public affairs and military operations. She is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College. She was a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Originally from Northeast Minneapolis, Best joined the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard in 1984, as a personnel specialist and progressed through the enlisted ranks to technical sergeant. She was commissioned in 1991 through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. Best has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008.

In 2015, she attended the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Leadership in Homeland Security Program. Her career includes both public sector and military service. She serves as the director of Strategic Relations and Mission Support Group commander with the Minnesota National Guard. She will continue to promote the benefits of lifelong learning and specifically the unique nontraditional environment geared for diverse working adults at Metropolitan State. Best and her husband of 27 years have four daughters and reside in rural Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys socializing with family and friends in the St. Croix River Valley.

More Minnesota Leaders

Memorial Day Building Schedule

All Metropolitan State buildings will be closed this Memorial Day weekend.

Saint Paul and Midway Center building hours:
May 28–30, all offices and buildings closed.

Library and Learning Center:

May 28–30, all offices and buildings closed.

Minneapolis Campus

May 28–30, all offices and buildings closed.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center (LECJEC):
May 28–30, all offices and buildings closed.

Safety officer information in case of emergency:

Saint Paul

Main Campus Cell:           651-775-0444
Security Desk:                   651-793-1717
Library Cell:                       651-775-0715
Ramp Cell:                         651-368-4297
Ramp Desk:                       651-793-1730
Student Center Cell:          651-775-6724

Midway Center
Cell:                                     651-775-6122

Minneapolis Campus
Safety:                                   612-659-6910
Emergency:                          612-659-6900

Safety cell:                        763-488-2655

Trista Matascastillo named 2016 Bush Foundation Fellow

What kind of person enrolls in the College of Individualized Studies (CIS)? There’s no uniform pattern—the program works and is intended for people exploring the meaning of what it means to be an educated person.

One such learner is CIS alumni and women’s veteran advocate Trista Matascastillo, who received news last month that she received a 2016 Bush Foundation fellowship.

“Trista Matascastillo is one of few to have served in three branches of the U.S. military. Often, she was the only woman in her command. After 16 years of service in the Navy, Marine Corps and National Guard, she was compelled to form the Women Veterans Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy and networking organization. She wants to respond to the growing number of women vets nationwide and to guide her organization as it grows from a working group to a robust nonprofit. With her Bush Fellowship, Trista will pursue post-secondary and graduate degrees to strengthen her leadership skills.”

Bush Fellows receive up to $100,000 over one to two years for travel, formal academic study or training that they design themselves to develop their expertise. The honor, which is bestowed on  a new cohort every year, is a vote of confidence given to people age 24 or older who have demonstrated leadership and have “extraordinary potential to make significant contributions,” according to Tuesday’s announcement.”

Congratulations to this outstanding CIS grad! Where can CIS help you take your own vision and leadership? Check out the program here.

Learn more about Trista’s brilliant work by following her on Twitter at @TristaMatas.


Boots to Business program to help veterans get their start as entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is one of the fastest paths to success for veterans. Learn how you can start your own business with the Boots to Business Reboot.

Presented by the Metropolitan State University College of Management in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration, this two-part program serves to help veterans understand how to transfer their military experience into viable start up or franchisee owner career paths.

The first component, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, is a free two-day class presented 9 a.m.–5 p.m., May 13 and 20, in Ecolab 302, Library and Learning Center, Saint Paul Campus. The program is open to veterans and their families. Space is limited. Register now at this link.

For more information view this FAQ document. If you have questions, contact Thomas Osborne at 612-370-2356 or e-mail thomas.osborne@sba.gov.

The program’s second component is the Foundations of Entrepreneurship course. This is a free eight-week online course led by the Institute of Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Participants must complete the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course to be eligible.

Boots to Business Video

Veterans represent one of the fastest emerging sectors for entrepreneurship start-ups and franchisee owners. This represents a tremendous opportunity for taking leadership in the veteran entrepreneurship efforts and to continue to build strong regional collaboration.

Art therapy program for veterans with PTSD and related conditions

Art therapy may be an effective way to deal with the aftereffects of trauma such as depression, anxiety, social isolation, hypervigilance and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Join board-certified art therapists to work through the sources of trauma symptoms, learn new coping skills and build resilience.

Therapy sessions are 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Saturdays,  April 30 to July 16, and will be at Metropolitan State University, 700 East 7th St., Saint Paul. To register, e-mail robynalliah@outlook.com.

View program flyer.

Feb. 22–23: Black History Month display

You are invited to view a display celebrating Black History Month and honoring veterans. View the display from 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Feb. 22 and 23 at Saint Paul Campus, Room 101, Student Center.

The display was created by Conceive Believe Achieve, a nonprofit organization that provides tools to conceive the concept of diversity by experiencing the rich history of different ethnicities. Attendees will see large format displays with corresponding syllabi to teach, promote and embrace diversity.

This event is sponsored by Metropolitan State, Minnesota National Guard, Metro State Veterans and Military Student Services, Metro State Yellow Ribbon, Student Life and Leadership Development, Equal Opportunity Office and Metro State Veterans Network.

Refreshments are provided at this free event. View and share the event flyer here.

Metropolitan State student named USO National Guardsman of the Year

(Photo, above: National Guard Sgt. Aaron Burdash, center, is pictured with Gen. Frank J. Grass, second from left, Metropolitan State class of 1985 and 2013 Alumnus of the Year, and head of the National Guard and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

Metropolitan State student and National Guard Sgt. Aaron Burdash is recipient of the United Service Organizations (USO) National Guardsman of the Year award, presented recently at the 2015 USO Gala in Washington, D.C. The annual event honors one service member from each branch of service who has taken quick action to save the lives of others, whether on the battlefield or in a civilian neighborhood.

Burdash, a medic, serves with the 204th Area Support Medical Company, 347th Regional Support Group, with the Minnesota National Guard. On May 24, while deployed in Sinai, Egypt, he provided critical care to a host-nation soldier who suffered a gunshot wound to his chest. A few weeks later, he again delivered lifesaving medical care to a host-nation soldier, providing immediate care after the soldier suffered a gunshot wound to the face. Burdash stayed by the soldier’s side until he was stable enough to be transported.

Burdash with his family at the USO Gala, Washington, D.C.
Sgt. Aaron Burdash, 2015 National Guardsman of the Year,  with his family at the USO Gala.

Burdash said he was surprised when his leaders told him they were submitting his name for the award, “They put me in for this award for something that was just a part of my job and the reason I joined the military—to help people. I just felt like I was doing what I had been trained to do and nothing that deserved recognition.”

“It meant a lot to me that they felt like I deserved recognition for that event,” he added. “It’s nice to know that your leadership and the people that you respect think you deserve something like this.”

Burdash is pursuing a bachelor’s in human resources management from the College of Management.