West Virginia University student veterans are providing another service to the community in the upcoming weeks as they participate in two speaking engagements to discuss their experiences both in and outside of the military.

The events are part of Communication Sciences and Disorders professor Carolyn Peluso Atkins’ SPA 270 course, a class that teaches effective public speaking. Atkins holds several events throughout the school year at which student veterans and athletes address groups, often children, on character and resilience.

This semester’s class will speak to boys, ranging from 9 to 16 years of age, from the Chestnut Mountain Ranch from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Oct. 29 in Allen Hall, room 802B. In addition to the veterans, WVU gymnast Jaida Lawrence is featured as a speaker.

Chestnut Mountain Ranch is a Christian faith-based non-profit that provides education and housing for at-risk boys whose families are in crisis. The organization’s founder, Steve Finn, hopes that hearing the student veterans speak about their own hardships will be an educational experience for the boys.

Click below to hear the WVUToday radio spot on "Veterans Speak Out."

“We are thankful that Chestnut Mountain Ranch is close to the University and that our boys have had the privilege to participate in so many of the activities that WVU makes possible,” said Trina Cutright, development director for the organization. “Listening to Dr. Atkins’ students will be both informative and fun for our boys. We are thankful that she invited us to her class and is providing this opportunity.”

Joining the boys will be the WVU Mountaineer Jonathan Kimble. The Department’s chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association will be providing lunch and tours for the event and the College of Education and Human Services will provide the veterans shirts and cinch bags for the guests.

Speakers, affiliations, and speech titles include:
Peter Allen, U.S. Marine Corps, “Thirteen Weeks in Paradise”
Paul Jerabek, U.S. Army, “The Last Jump”
Dennis Ribeiro-Matos, U.S. Army, “Another Day”
Nicholas Shamblin, Army National Guard, “A Time to Change”
Jaida Lawrence, WVU Gymnastics, “Challenge Yourself”

Other upcoming events:

Student veterans enrolled in SPA 270, Effective Public Speaking, will speak at the diversity event “From Camouflage to Campus” from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.



CONTACT: Christie Zachary, WVU College of Education and Human Services
304.293.0224, Christie.Zachary@mail.wvu.edu

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