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SBCC to Host Women Veterans Recognition & Resource Day

California deputy for Women Veterans Affairs will deliver the keynote address at Wednesday's event

Lindsey Wathen, deputy secretary for Women Veterans Affairs in the California Department of Veterans Affairs, will be the noon keynote speaker at SBCC’s Women Veterans and Military Women’s Recognition & Resource Day on Wednesday at the East Campus Friendship Plaza.

The event is being held in recognition of Women’s History Month and California Women’s Military Week, March 19-23.

The SBCC formal program and keynote address will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. Resource tables with representatives from various government, public and private agencies, as well as the college, will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Wathen was appointed as California deputy secretary for Women Veterans Affairs by Gov. Jerry Brown on Nov. 22. She enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1997 as a cryptologic technician interpretive. She completed two flight tours in Rota, Spain, during which time she deployed in support of operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and achieved the rank of petty officer first class.

Magdalena Torres, SBCC Veterans’ Support Program coordinator, said SBCC’s women veteran students represent a wide range of military branches and student career goals. Cindy Gonzales served as a Spanish linguist in the Navy’s Defense Language Institute in Monterey from 2001-04, and Teija Kinnunen served in the Army in Fort Campbell, Ky., as a helicopter door gunner from 2006-11. Esther Roberts was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona as an aircraft structural maintenance apprentice from 2006-10, and Lenny Gonzales was a member of the Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton from 1998 to 2002.

All four women are in the process of completing their SBCC certificates or degree in majors including alcohol and drug counseling, Chicano and ethnic studies, criminal justice, early childhood development and graphic design. Three of the four plan to transfer to four-year universities.

Coordinated by Torres, the SBCC Veterans’ Support Program serves as an academic and financial resource for veterans, not only at SBCC but for other programs and available in the county, region and state. The program assisted 205 full-time and part-time veteran students in the 2010-11 academic year.

To raise the visibility of veterans on campus, Torres coordinates a number of other special events open to the college and community, including Veterans Welcome Week, Veterans Appreciation Week and Veterans Resource Day in November. At the close of each academic year, SBCC also names one Outstanding Veteran Student of the Year.

The SBCC Veterans’ Support Program was named a recipient of the John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors in 2011. SBCC was recognized as one of the top 101 “Best for Vet” colleges and universities in the U.S. by Military Times EDGE magazine in 2010. The college was cited for its excellent financial aid, academic policies, and supportive campus culture and student services that assist veterans to make a successful transition from military to college life.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

 
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