Kaley Louck was one of four students who created resources to assist
student veterans on campus.
Marissa Acevedo is a health communications major and one of the
Student research addressing health concerns for military veterans,
conducted as part of a health communication class, will also be used
as a resource for helping Laker veterans.
The research resulted in a white paper about burn pits and their
effect on military personnel as well as a presentation about the
impact of traumatic brain injuries on veterans, said Jill Hinton
Wolfe, GVSU military and veterans resource manager.
Wolfe said this work is part of an ongoing collaboration with Lorie
Jager, affiliate professor of health communication.
The issue of burn pits is a little-known issue that Wolfe said
affects thousands of veterans, including some Lakers. Burn pits are
used to incinerate waste generated by military bases.
The ongoing concerns for veterans are health problems that can result
from exposure to toxins that are released from the burn pits,
according to the white paper produced by students Marissa Acevedo,
Alex Dagostino, Lajoya Fulton and Kaley Louck.
Those same four students also developed the presentation on traumatic
brain injuries, describing symptoms, levels of severity and possible
challenges, including academically.
In each case, Grand Valley veterans provided data for the research.
Wolfe said she intends to share the findings with campus advocacy
organizations and will also use the information to help educate the
GVSU community about these concerns for veterans.
"This class is just one small example of how we’re innovating
and partnering across divisions at Grand Valley, and of the culture of
inclusion at our university," Wolfe said. "It’s so
refreshing to have Laker students, staff and faculty truly want to
understand and support military veterans in ways that have real impact."
Louck said it was an important experience to have this perspective
about veterans, and particularly Laker veterans.
"Though I have always been supportive of our veteran community,
it wasn’t until now that I could understand the struggles they
face," said Louck, a health communication major. "While most
students at GVSU are just trying to successfully finish our degrees,
our service members have already completed active duty and are coming
home to begin yet another difficult mission."
Acevedo expressed hope that this work will have a positive impact on
campus and beyond.
"It was a great opportunity to learn more about the health risks
veterans and service members face and discover ways I can be an
advocate for fellow Lakers on and off campus," said Acevedo, a
health communication major. "I gained valuable knowledge about
the Military and Veterans Resource Center at GVSU, and I'm happy to be
a part of creating powerful tools to educate and raise awareness on