LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Starting college can be intimidating for any incoming freshman, but when you add in the struggles of virtual classes and the pandemic, it can be overwhelming.
"We've seen more veterans wanting to drop their classes or wanting to take a step back from school because of the remote learning. It's very difficult to stay focused," said Jen Martinez.
Martinez is a Marine veteran who served nine years. She is currently a peer advisor for UNLV's Veteran Education Program.
UNLV is one of only 47 college campuses to offer the PAVE program. The program's goal is to connect first-semester veteran students with other veterans on campus who can help them navigate their first year.
"It was nice to get that check-up once in a while," said Andrew Ho, a peer advisor.
Dwayne Gordon, the associate director of Veteran Outreach Services, says they want to create an environment where everyone can succeed.
"When we talk about student veterans, we're also talking about family members, the reserve, those still on active duty. So, our veteran population encompasses a lot of people," Gordon said.
And all three pledge to continue helping veterans thrive.
"We want them to know we are their battle buddy. We got your back," Martinez said. "Just because you left the military doesn't mean your team is gone. We're still right here."
More information about the program is available here.