U.S. Air Force veteran and recent alumna Natalie Woodhurst ‘16 loved her experience at St. Ambrose and plans to give veterans and active military the same depth of support that ensured her success as a student.
Woodhurst recently replaced Andrew Gates '10 as coordinator of Veterans Recruitment and Services, a role created by the university to help veterans and service members transition into college. The office provides assistance with federal and state education benefits, and connects veterans with campus and community resources. It also helps advocate for veterans and coordinates outreach to local schools, employers and veteran service organizations.
St. Ambrose University is committed to doing everything it can to support active and retired military members, said John Cooper, vice president for enrollment management. "Our veterans have given so much of themselves in the service to our country. Institutions like St. Ambrose owe it to them to support earning bachelor or master degrees. We want to serve them just as well as they served us," he added.
Woodhurst said Gates was a tremendous help to her, serving a go-between with the registrar and financial aid office, as well as answering any questions she posed. "He made it a seamless transition for me. He was always available and willing to help," she said. "I loved St. Ambrose and my time here as a student."
I am a resource. If I can do it for you, I will, or I will find out who can help you.
Natalie Woodhurst, Coordinator of Veterans Recruitment and Services
Woodhurst said she will serve active and retired military and their dependents. "I am a resource. If I can do it for you, I will, or I will find out who can help you," she said.
Woodhurst said an important part of her job is to make sure all veterans are certified with the Veterans Administration each semester so there is no disruption in education benefits. She is also coordinating campus events, such as the Dec. 12 medaling ceremony which will honor graduating veterans and active military for their service and academic accomplishments.
The ceremony starts at 4 p.m. in the Rogalski Center ballroom.
St. Ambrose has repeatedly been recognized as a military friendly and supportive university by national publications. Nearly 3.5% of the student population at SAU is a veteran or service member. Woodhurst said that figure is telling; most large state universities have veteran populations of about 1.5 percent.
"Having a liaison makes it easier to transition into civilian life. I want to handle everything I can for veterans and make their transition seamless. I want people know we are a military-friendly, " Woodhurst said.
"I had such a positive experience at St. Ambrose. I want to share that story and let people know this university is a great place for veterans," she added.