Liaising with Veterans Affairs

Chance Majarian
2023

Emphasis Area: 

Business Administration

Partner Agency Name: 

Pima Community College's Military and Veterans Services Office

Internship Location: 

Local

Term: 

Spring
Chance Majarian interned with the Pima Community College's Military and Veterans Services Office and provided services to veterans enrolled in classes at Pima Community College.

Why did you choose this internship and what was the focus of the experience?

Some pretext is, I am a Veteran of the United States Air Force where I spent five years Active Duty, and four years as a reservist working as an 2A374A: A-10C/U-2S Avionics Technician. After I separated from Active Duty and became a reservist I had been working as a Veteran Affairs (VA) Work Study at Pima Community College (PCC) for three years while attending school. I had been doing various roles such as working for Veteran advisors, and the Military and Veteran Services (M&VS) administrative office.

When time came for the internship, I was initially at a loss for what to do for it. I was working in the Military and Veteran Services (M&VS) administrative office at the time. However, as the time for my internship enrollment came nearer, I thought about a lot of the things we covered in the Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness course (PAH383) - things like finding a good employee-organization fit and feeling fulfilled with the work being done. I realized I had those things as a VA Work Study. I realized I really enjoyed working for the office I did, with the people I did and the college. It was something I could happily do, where I could help people with something I was knowledgeable about and could relate to in a place where I could also be happy working.

I spoke with Stephanie Springer (the Applied Humanities Internship Director) and my supervisor about trying to do my internship with the M&VS office as a School Certifying Official (SCO) for PCC. An SCO’s primary job is to act as a liaison between the VA, and the school – essentially telling the VA what classes veteran students want to use their benefit for. Stephanie was incredibly supportive and told me it was absolutely possible. My supervisor also was on board and was happy to hear that I actually had a career interest in working for this office.

The most satisfying and challenging piece of the internship is speaking directly with students. We interact every day with students who face a variety of challenges. It is very rewarding to see the effects of our help through the students' success. In the same vein however it is also hard to see the different struggles and frustrations some students face especially being a veteran population. The biggest contribution I made was putting together and completing a report to be sent to the VA regarding the numbers of veteran students in each program. This was a time consuming report that helped alleviate some burden from other employees in the office. I also was able to contribute through the certification of dozens of veteran students GI Bill working as a liaison between the school and the VA.

Post internship, my plans have been more solidified in that I feel like I have better direction for what I want to do in the future. I have been offered a position tentatively later in the year with the office I am interning with, and I will graciously accept. Looking back before my enrollment in the PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness course, this was not the direction I saw myself going. But due to the insight gained during that class, and the internship experience itself I find that I am all to happy to be working for a college, in this specific office.

What advice do you have for other students as they search for or begin their internship?

I would issue two key pieces of advice for other students. First and foremost, do not overlook potential opportunities that you may already have in front of you. I almost overlooked my place of work as an internship opportunity and I am so glad that I did not as I really do, and have always enjoyed working for this department. They were delighted to hear that I was interested in doing my internship here and were all too happy to work with me to make it work, and provide a good professional growth experience.

Secondly, do not be afraid to do something simply because you are unsure. Internships should be seen as a twofold experience – one with the employer and the other for the intern. The opinions and experiences of both matter and can provide insight into future career direction. Maybe you enjoy the work, but dislike the company. Maybe you enjoy the company but dislike the work.