By Michael Bliss, Soldier for LifeMarch 20, 2013
ARLINGTON, Va. (March 20, 2013) -- Assistant Professor of Mathematics and former Soldier Larry Huff is passionate about leveraging online education opportunities for transitioning service members.
He is the driving force behind the veteran outreach and support network at Frederick Community College in Maryland.
Based upon his personal experience, Huff mentors veteran students on how to overcome hurdles they face when transitioning from active service to attending a higher institution of learning.
As Huff interacted with veterans at Frederick Community College, he discovered that many were having difficulty passing the mathematics proficiency exam in order to take required college level math courses.
Through his own research he determined that about the same percentage of veterans and non-veteran students pass the Reading and Writing portions of the placement exams.
He attributes these results in that Soldiers exercise reading and writing skills daily while performing their duties.
However, Huff's research also found that veterans were failing the mathematics placement exam at a 25 percent higher rate than the non-veteran students.
Although many Soldiers are fully capable of passing the mathematics exam, their military jobs may not fully and consistently utilize their math skills, which are highly perishable.
The impact of failing the math placement exam is observed in the additional schooling required for graduation; veteran students can be required to take up to eight additional remedial mathematics credits.
Faced with eight additional credits of mathematics and additional pre-requisites, veteran Students can spend up to five years obtaining a bachelor's degree, for which only 36 months are covered by their Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefit.
Larry decided to address this problem by creating a three-week online Math Boot Camp preparation course.
This course, called VetOut, specifically prepares students to pass the Mathematics College Placement exam and is free for active duty service members, veterans, and their families. The website is at www.vetout.com.
Using the interactive social networking platform provided by Google+, students are able to attend online classroom sessions with real-time audio, video, and screenshare over three weeks focusing on hands-on problem solving techniques required to pass the placement exam.
Huff connected to the U.S. Army's Soldier for Life office through a "VETNET HQs" Google+ Hangout session hosted by Syracuse University's Institute for Veteran and Military Families.
His efforts definitely demonstrate the essence of the U.S Army's "Soldier for Life" program.
The Soldier for Life program looks to improve Soldier, veteran, and their families' access to employment opportunities, healthcare facilities, and education opportunities like the VetOut program.
There are many organizations across the United States that want to assist Soldiers in many different ways, but often find connecting to Soldiers to be a challenge for various reasons.
The Soldier for Life office works to remove these challenges so that connections are made between external organizations and our transitioning Soldiers.