Penn College employee accepted into exclusive veteran cohort
The veteran services specialist at Pennsylvania College of Technology is one of 20 successful applicants for a national Focus Forward Fellowship, a competitive mentoring program for women student veterans.
Katie Burke, who has served nine years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, assists campus military personnel through the Major General Fred F. Marty Veterans & Military Resource Center on the first floor of the Davie Jane Gilmour Center.
She is pursuing a Marketing Analytics Graduate Certificate at Penn State World Campus, which directly aligns with the Master’s in Marketing Analytics & Insights program that she will start this summer and complete in Fall 2024.
“I applied at the end of January and had to answer a few short-answer-style questions about my experience as a woman student veteran and my professional goals,” she said. “I found out I was selected in late February and was thrilled!
“I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to connect with other women student veterans and learn everything I can from the faculty and mentors. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with Penn College’s women student veterans and encouraging them to apply for next year’s cohort.”
Candidates selected into the Focus Forward Fellowship will participate in a summer residency program through the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (the alma mater of Burke’s father, Gary R. Schaefer), then engage with a virtual community throughout the 2023-24 academic year.
“Being Women’s History Month and having this opportunity makes me appreciate the women that paved the way for programs like this to exist,” Burke added. “Someone I particularly admire is Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and a passionate advocate for women’s rights.” Walker was an Army surgeon during the Civil War.
“I am sure that the fellowship that has accepted Katie will find out as quickly as I did, what a truly valuable asset she really is. I could not have asked for a better partner in the work that we do for our veterans,” said Chet Beaver, Penn College’s coordinator of veteran and military services and an Army veteran. “Katie has become a great mentor and example for our entire veteran community. I know she will bring some valuable insight back from her time in the fellowship.”
Penn College offers a wide range of benefits to current veterans, students who have served in the military, and dependents or family members of veteran students. For more information, visit the Veterans & Military website.