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Katherine West, student, School for New Learning

Katherine West’s mother urged her to go to DePaul. “She said it would set the stage for the rest of my life,” West recalls. She first enrolled at DePaul in 2000 and a little later joined the Army Reserve to help cover the cost.

Then 9/11 happened and everything changed. Although her unit was not immediately mobilized, she completed her Army training and was put on active duty. In 2006 she volunteered for a 15-month tour of Iraq, turning what had started our as a way to earn a little extra cash into an eight-year military career.

Then in May 2009, West was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and given a medical discharge.

Taking advantage of the federal government’s post-9/11 G.I. Bill, Katherine enrolled in DePaul’s School for New Learning. DePaul’s welcoming atmosphere, SNL’s adult-centered approach, and special programs for returning veterans have eased her transition and helped her heal, she says.

Today Katherine is moving on, working toward a psychology degree, aiming eventually for a master’s degree in social work. She says she wants to help other veterans make their own transition from combat to civilian life.

“I love the School for New Learning,” she says. “The advisors and professors really work with you. My dream is to help people overcome whatever obstacles they feel they can’t overcome. I believe that is my mission as well, and I believe DePaul will push me forward in that mission every step of the way.”

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