Avid Supporters

9134219Marilyn Nichols
Joan & Art Baron Veterans Center Assistant

Marilyn Nichols has worked in the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center since September 2006. She provides information to the general public and campus community regarding all aspects of Veterans benefits. She also serves as the liaison between Veterans Affairs and students to help resolve payment and overpayment issues. Marilyn also works closely with other campus offices to verify and process undergraduate and graduate student VA benefits.

Mentors For Life

7298281Joan Marie Putnam
Joan & Art Baron Veterans Center Director

As director of the SDSU Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center, Joan Putnam directs the Center which serves as the hub for all student veteran support services on campus. This includes all aspects of the veteran benefit programs for SDSU’s undergraduate and graduate veterans, active duty military, reservists, and dependents. She also oversees SDSU’s Veterans House.
Joan chairs the SDSU Veterans Scholarship Committee, is co-chair of the SDSU Troops to College working group, serves on the SDSU War Memorial Committee and team-teaches a “Military to Student” transition class. Her commitment to veterans extends beyond her work life – her father was a World War II veteran.


8627967Sandra Cook
Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Enrollment Services
Mentor For Life, Spring 2010

Dr. Sandra Cook, Director of Enrollment Services, has been one of the most influential and staunch supporters of the SVO since its founding in 2006. In her role as Director of Enrollment Services, she is responsible for ensuring fairness, neutrality and equal opportunity to all students seeking admittance to SDSU. She is not only able to accomplish this with a level of professionalism, tact, maturity and objectivity, she is also capable of a great deal of enthusiasm and encouragement for those students and programs that bring positive attention to the University. Case in point, her undeniable support of the Student Veteran Organization and the Veteran Center.

Dr. Sandra Cook was instrumental in getting the Veteran Center a larger space, more funding and seeking sponsors in the community to assist with the development of the lounge area and other assets.

She was also instrumental in making liaison with General Officers from the immediate area’s bases allowing them to petition successfully for admittance in cases of deserving Veterans and Active Duty Service members. Major General Lehnert requested and was granted a “special admit” for Nick Keith, former V.P. of Communications and House Committee Chair.

She has supported the War Memorial and it’s Ceremony since it’s inception and has worked with members of the Founders’ Committee to protect and maintain the monument. It was at the ceremony in 2006 that she met Mark Daemon and worked with Cheryl Trtan (Alumni Association), Joan Putnam (Veteran Center Director), Bob and Pat Menke (Founders Committee), Dr. Kitchen (Dean of Student Affairs) and Anthony Ghio (Founders Committee) to get Mark Daemon as a “special admit” after he returned from a combat tour in Iraq.

She has worked tirelessly with Colonel Peterson on the California Governor’s Troops to College Program. She has traveled several times to Sacramento to speak on behalf of the program and its benefits. She has helped devise ways to make the path easier for Veterans and service members to make the transition to Undergraduate degree work.

She worked with President Weber directly to ensure that (even though there were no spaces available and that the admittance was frozen at the time) Peter Salas (former President of the SVO) was allowed to begin a Masters course of study. This required direct contact with the Chancellor of the CSU system and amounted to “calling in a huge favor” and putting their positions and their reputations on the line.

She worked the issue (behind the scenes) with the campus and the President to support Ivo Moreno’s request and plan for Veteran Housing on the campus. This led directly to the granting of the SVO House that we presently are allowed to use and have as a base of operations. She also was instrumental in the affixing of the seal to the front of the house.

She has attended many events in support of the SVO directly such as the “20 Foot Long Banana Split”, two formal dinners, three breakfasts and every War Memorial ceremony. Each time she has been invited, she has made the effort to attend or has sent an emissary on behalf of the Enrollment Services office.

She has reported directly to Dr. Weber and Colonel Peterson on the progress and status of Veterans on the campus, for the purpose of sharing with Congressmen and Legislators objectively how the Veterans perform and achieve in a college environment. The reason why SDSU’s SVO is getting a great deal of positive press is the amount of detailed data that is being provided to those in positions of authority to help and represent Veterans on a National level. Our GPAs are consistently and significantly higher than that of the average student on college campuses, but it wasn’t until that Dr. Sandra Cook was specifically asking the questions and pressing the issue that the Governor began to take a strong interest in the Veteran cause. Colonel Peterson led the charge, but Sandra Cook gave him the ammunition to make the changes that are currently beginning.

9837062Lt. Col. (Ret.) Tom Richards
Chairman United Veterans Council

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3001512Stephen L. Weber
President, San Diego State University 1996-2011

Stephen L. Weber is the seventh president of San Diego State University. Educated as a philosopher, President Weber assumed his administrative responsibilities at SDSU in July 1996 and shortly afterward initiated a campus/community dialogue intended to set the course for the university’s future. Guided by this “Shared Vision,” SDSU has moved boldly ahead: reinforcing academic excellence, nurturing students, honoring diversity and social justice, carefully stewarding resources, and further developing global programs.

In the process, SDSU has become an increasingly popular and selective choice among university-bound students. For fall 2010, some 62,300 undergraduate applicants competed for approximately 6,000 vacancies. Not surprisingly, the overall academic quality of SDSU students is also rising. SAT scores have risen approximately 100 points and the average high school GPA of incoming first-time freshmen is now over 3.6.

Under President Weber’s leadership, SDSU created The Campanile Foundation, the university fundraising auxiliary. Since The Campanile Foundation was established in 1999, SDSU has raised approximately $583 million, 300 percent more than in the previous 103-year history of the university. Under President Weber’s leadership, The Campanile Foundation launched SDSU’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign in July 2007. To date, the campaign has raised more than $200 million.
SDSU is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s top urban research universities, working for the diverse peoples of Southern California to address such issues as health and human services, poverty, public safety, and arts and culture. Since 2006, SDSU has been ranked the No. 1 most productive research university in the United States, among schools with 14 or fewer Ph.D. programs*. Last year, faculty and staff of SDSU successfully competed for more than $150 million in grants and contracts – a record for the university. In addition, a recent study showed SDSU’s economic impact to the state and region as $6.5 billion annually.

A champion of community involvement, President Weber has been an advocate for community service. SDSU has been active in K-12 school reform, administering three inner-city schools enrolling more than 5,000 mostly low-income, highly diverse students and pioneering an often-copied “Compact for Success” working with the Sweetwater Unified High School district, California’s largest and most diverse secondary school district. SDSU has also worked closely with area business and industry to pioneer programs such as Hospitality and Tourism Management, Construction Engineering Management, Nurses Now and Regulatory Affairs (biotech).

More recently, SDSU has established itself as one of the nation’s most military-friendly universities. With more than 1,000 veteran, active-duty and dependent students on campus, the university opened the CSU’s first Veterans Center in 2008 and has since opened the nation’s only Veterans House to provide veterans with on-campus housing. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs recognized SDSU’s commitment to veterans when it opened a VA office on campus, only the second in the nation and the first in California to be located on a university campus. In 2009, Weber was the recipient of the San Diego Military Advisory Council’s annual achievement award honoring individuals and organizations whose work has supported the military community in San Diego.

President Weber has also overseen a physical transformation of the university, with more than $670 million in new facilities built at San Diego State over the past 14 years. Among the new buildings are the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center and the BioScience Center, both built entirely thanks to the generosity of alumni and community donors and without any state assistance. Weber also helped to bring the trolley to San Diego State in 2005. In 2010, Weber was honored with a Clean Air Circle Award from the American Lung Association for his project leadership, which has taken thousands of cars off the road and significantly reduced traffic and parking issues on Montezuma Mesa

Leading by example, President Weber is the past chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board of Directors, and co-chaired Partners for K-12 School Reform. He currently serves on the board of governors of the Peres Center for Peace, BIOCOM, and the board of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, in addition to being an active member of the Community Advisory Council for SDG&E. He is a member of the San Diego Rotary Club, an honorary director of the Japanese Society of San Diego and Tijuana, and an honorary advisor to the Asia Desk of the San Diego World Trade Center. Additionally, President Weber has served on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the NCAA Executive Committee.

Born in Boston, President Weber is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a B.A. in philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 and is the author of numerous articles on philosophy and higher education.

President Weber’s many awards include an honorary degree from Beijing Capital Normal University and distinguished alumnus at his alma mater, Bowling Green State University.

President Weber has also been awarded and recognized for his many professional and community accomplishments. To name but a few of his prestigious awards, he is the recipient of the San Diego Mediation Center’s Peacemaker’s Award, the San Diego Education Association’s Executive Director’s Award, and the recipient of the Gold Key Award from the San Diego Hospitality Association. In 2008 President Weber received the Diogenes Award from the Public Relations Society of America recognizing his forthrightness and honesty.

Before coming to San Diego State University, President Weber served at a number of universities in a variety of positions. He was president of The State University of New York’s Oswego campus as well as interim provost for academic affairs for the entire 64 campus system. Before that, he was vice president for academic affairs at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, and dean of arts and sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut. President Weber also served as assistant to the president at the University of Maine, and while a faculty member there he was honored as outstanding professor in humanities.

9128666James R. Kitchen Ed. D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Mentor For Life, 2011-2012

Dr. James Kitchen currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs at San Diego State University, a position he has held for eleven years.

Prior to arriving at San Diego State, Dr. Kitchen held the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Dean of Students at the University of Kansas. He also served in a number of administrative positions at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he also held the position of Head Assistant Basketball Coach.

Recent awards and honors include the 2010 Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education Leadership Award, the 2008 SDSU Summer Bridge Leadership Award. He was named a 2007 Pillar of the Profession by the NASPA Foundation (the most prestigious award given in honor of service in the area of Student Affairs). Also, the NASPA Region VI–2008 Distinguished Service to the Profession Award; the San Diego State University Quest for the Best Leadership Award; the KPBS Local Hero Award in Education; San Diego State University Honorary Ambassador; the SDSU Associated Students Harvey Goodfriend Leadership Award; The Jim Kitchen Student Success Olympics named in his honor at the University of Kansas; and the Moberly Area Community College Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Kitchen was the Special Recognition Honoree for the 2006 Annual Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) Banquet, hosted by the SAAB Chapter of SDSU, an organization he founded in 2004.

Prior to beginning his higher education experience, Dr. Kitchen served in the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He is married and has four children, and four beautiful granddaughters. His favorite hobbies include boating, fishing, NCAA basketball, and enjoying time with his family.

Past Meeting Minutes

November 21, 2013 Executive Board Meeting

November 14, 2013 General Body Meeting

October 31, 2013 General Body Meeting

Most Recent Meeting Minutes

October 17, 2013 General Body Meeting

October 3, 2013 General Body Meeting

September 5, 2013 General Body Meeting

September 12, 2013 Executive Board Meeting

Current Agenda

SDSU Student Veteran Organization
General Body Meeting Agenda
10/17/13, 1730




A. Kappa Sigma

B. Colby Smith- Homecoming Week Events


A. Donor’s Play: Text “svoas” to 650-319-7142, download app., and play game for 5
minutes this evening before bed, play new game each week
i. http://youtu.be/bYO1v8Xt6BE

B. David Zhang involvement

C. Budget for Halloween family event


A. President-Paul Contreras president@sdsusvo.com

1. Lt. Col. Grossman lecture
2. Alternative sites for events
3. SDSU Student Alumni Association
4. Veterans Alumni Chapter involvement
5. Veteran’s Day Parade

B. Vice President-Keith Nelms vicepresident@sdsusvo.com

C. Advisor-Dr. Reily advisor@sdsusvo.com

1. Eric McElvenny in the Kona Ironman
2. Mayoral debate at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park, October 26th @ 1800


D. Professional Development-Ray Corchado raymond.corchado@me.com

1. Aztec Mentor Program update

D. Communication-TJ Ortega communication@sdsusvo.com

E. Camaraderie-Jayson Vespia camaraderie@sdsusvo.com

F. Fundraising-Erika Armenta fundraising@sdsusvo.com

G. Membership-Andrew Gatz membership@sdsusvo.com

H. Community Service-David Fields communityservice@sdsusvo.com

1. Wounded Warrior, October 24th
2. Community Service committee
3. Suggestions for future events

I. Treasurer-Matt Joseph treasurer@sdsusvo.com

J. Cultural Rep-Canshara Washington

K. War Memorial Rep-Holly Shaffner

VI. ADJOURNMENT-Next meeting: 10/31/13, 1730 @ the Veterans House


Showing events after 11/26. Look for earlier events
Thursday, November 28, 2013

 SVO general body meeting
Thursday, December 5, 2013

 SVO exec meeting
Thursday, December 12, 2013

 SVO general body meeting
Thursday, December 19, 2013

 SVO exec meeting
Showing events until 5/31. Look for more


The Student Veteran Organization (SVO) began as an idea from a discussion between Nathaniel Donnelly and Michael Kilmer during summer 2006 at the San Diego Vet Center about student veteran needs. It was determined that an organization to represent the large number of student veterans at San Diego State University was a necessity if student veterans were going to increase their quality of life.

Nathaniel Donnelly took this idea into action and established the SVO on November 27, 2006 during his first semester at SDSU. He built the organization’s infrastructure, including an executive board of fellow student veterans. Since then, SVO membership has grown to more than 600 while the campus population of student veterans has grown to more than 1,000.
SVO has participated in many activities since its inception, including the foundation of the Student Veterans of America in January 2008 and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, which gained the majority of its support from student veterans in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. SDSU veterans also received a new home in the SDSU Veterans Center that opened in July 2008.
Most recently, the SDSU Veterans House has opened on campus and provides living and meeting space for more than 20 veterans, ROTC cadets, and dependents. Over the years, SVO has received numerous national awards and recognition including the Student Veterans of America’s 2008 Chapter of the Year award.

SVO supports future community leaders who have already shown their dedication and devotion to the values for which our nation stands. These student veterans deserve a voice, and the Student Veteran Organization will continue to provide them the opportunity to be heard.

Past Presidents:
2006-2007 Nathaniel Donnelly
2007-2008 Ivo Moreno
2008-2009 Peter Salas
2009-2010 Matt Sulamo
2010 Ericka Korb
2010 Nathaniel Donnelly
2010-2011 Tess Banko
2012 Todd Kennedy
2012-2013 Steve Scott


patricia_reily_staff-pageDr. Patricia Reily
CDR, USN (Ret.)

Patricia Reily is the director of San Diego State University’s Troops to Engineers SERVICE program (Success in Engineering for Recent Veterans through Internship and Career Experience.) The program’s goal is to create a clear path from active duty to a successful career in engineering for veterans through paid internships and other career experiences.

In addition to her work at SDSU, Dr. Reily teaches Organizational Behavior at the University of San Diego. She also writes and speaks about the effective use of story in organizations to teach, train, motivate, inspire and persuade. Her book on the leadership principles and practices of Navy Chief Petty Officers and the use of story in organizations was published in May, 2011.

A former senior naval officer, Patricia Reily’s Navy career encompassed a wide array of jobs in command, operations, human resources management, recruiting, program management, education and training. Subsequent to her military career, Patricia Reily managed the University of San Francisco’s Tutor Mentor Outreach program and was the Deputy Campus Director of Americorps*National Civilian Community Corps in San Diego, California.


paulPaul Contreras

Paul Contreras has spent fifteen years in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. During this time, he has been stationed in Japan and San Diego, as well as deploying twice to Iraq: once with the Marines, and another with the Navy SEAL teams. On campus, Paul is active as the A.S. representative for the College of Health and Human Services, participating in numerous boards and committees. He was also nominated to sit on the 2012 SDSU Homecoming Court and the SDSU Presidential steering committee. Paul has an associate’s degree in Biology and is pursuing majors in Nursing and Psychology.


keithKeith Nelms

Keith Nelms is a native of San Diego and an Air Force veteran. Just over 10 years of service included duty stations at Hill AFB, Utah, Osan AB, South Korea, Aviano AB, Italy, and Hill AFB, Georgia along with a 2003 deployment to Qatar in support of OEF/OIF and two deployments to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2011. His specialization was aircraft weapons systems where he maintained the weapons systems of the F-16 Falcon and the A-10 Warthog, loaded bombs, missiles, and ammunition onto the jets, and performed other duties to include the training and evaluations of other weapons load crews. After an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force, he returned to San Diego in 2012 to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering at SDSU and has a projected graduation date of May 2015.


matt1Matt Joseph

Matt Joseph is from Toledo, Ohio. Matt enlisted in the United States Navy in 2005 as a Logistic Specialist and spent 2 years in Norfolk, Virginia onboard the USS Cape St. George (CG-71), before shifting home ports with the Cape St. George to San Diego. During his active duty service, Matt reached the rank of Petty Officer Second Class and earned 2 Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals. Matt is majoring in Accounting with a minor in Finance and is the current Treasurer for the Student Veteran Organization.


ortega_timothy-239x300T. J. Ortega

T.J. Ortega is currently a Petty Officer First Class in the United States Navy Reserve where he serves as a Mass Communications Specialist and deals extensively with public affairs, visual information, and journalism. With more than eight years of service, he has served aboard the USS Peleliu and the USS Nimitz, has performed shore duty at Naval Base San Diego and Naval Air Station North Island, and deployed numerous times in support of the Global War on Terror.

Originally from Denver, Co., T.J. began his studies at San Diego State in the spring of 2012 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. He is actively involved in many campus and community organizations to include the Student Veterans Organization, the United Veterans Council as the Student Veteran Representative, and as part of the VA Work-Study program where he was recognized as the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center “Work-Study of the Semester” for the summer 2012 term.


Erika-Pic-242x300Erika Armenta

Erika Armenta served in the U.S. Navy for 7 years as a Hospital Corpsman. Her first duty station was at Naval Air Facility Atsugi and where she worked as a general duty corpsman. She got accepted to Physical Therapy Technician school at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and finished her clinicals at Naval Medical Center San Diego. She served her last of her enlistment at Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan, where she got the opportunity to serve at Expeditionary Medical Facility Kuwait in 2009. She finished her Associates in Physical Therapy Assistant through Pueblo Community College. After leaving the Navy 2010, she joined the U.S. Navy Reserves and currently drills at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

She is pursuing her B.S. degree in Biology and plans to do research in bioinformatics. She is a member of the SDSU Snow Team and snowboards at Mammoth Mountain. She is also involved with numerous community service events that help with underprivileged children, women, and veterans.



2546eac-300x300David Fields

David Fields served for eight years in the United States Marine Corps. His first duty station was Camp Lejeune, NC where he served as an ammunition technician with Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. In 2009 David performed a lateral move, became an intelligence analyst, and was sent to 1st Intelligence Battalion on Camp Pendleton where he deployed twice to Afghanistan. He separated from the Marine Corps at the end of 2012 as a Staff Sergeant and he is now pursuing a double major in Business and International Security and Conflict Resolution.


5167406Canae Washington
Student Diversity Board Representative

Canae Washington is a 3rd yr Political Science Major who finished the official year long program for Cultural Competency at SDSU under the Leadership of Dr. Tanis Starck and Dr. Valita Jones during her time as an Academic Mentor in Residential Education. She is now an SDSU Ambassador involved in Associated Students. The daughter of Retired Navy Veterans of 20 years of Service is a Yucca Valley, CA Native and gives back to her military family through culture, excellence, and service.


Raymond Corchado

Raymond Corchado is from Orlando, Fl. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a Information Systems Tech. While serving on active duty Raymond deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Philippines with the U.S. Navy SEAL teams as a Tactical Communicator. Raymond has served over 9 years in the Navy and is currently an IT1 in the Navy Reserve attached to SEAL Team 17. Raymond is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science. His future plans include grad school and hopefully a career in federal law enforcement.


Job Opportunities – San Diego Supercomputer Center

Dr. Reily has been approached with some job opportunities at the San Diego Supercomputer Center to share with us. If you’re interested in applying for any of these job opportunities, forward your resume to Dr. Reily at preily@projects.sdsu.edu immediately.

– IT Systems Engineer (Junior or Senior) – Deploys and administers Linux- and Windows-based IT systems, patching, developing tools, monitoring, etc.. VMWare experience a plus.

– ETL Developer – Develops routines to load data from flat files into databases. Structured data management experience and understanding of databases needed. Informatica experience a plus.

– Junior Database Administrator – Administers an Oracle-based database along with senior DBAs. Writes scripts, oversees backups, monitors the system, and tunes configurations for performance.

– Business Intelligence Developer – Develops reports and tools within an Oracle Business Intelligence environment based on requirements. Relational data structure experience needed. OBIEE experience a plus.

Resume Workshop

SDSU Career Services are holding a resume workshop on June 11 from 1100-1200 in the Career Services Workshop Room.  More details can be found at their website, which is found at: https://sdsu-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php?s=event&mode=list&ss=cf

Welcome Back – Spring 2013

Welcome back and welcome to the Spring 2013 semester, Aztecs.

Congratulations, welcome, and good luck to those students who are starting their first semester as an Aztec. I hope that everyone, new and old, had an amazing winter break and are ready for a new semester.

The Student Veterans Organization (SVO) has a multitude of activities planned for the Spring 2013 semester. February 1st we will be holding a Poker Night fundraiser at the Veterans House. The SVO will be serving food and hanging out with the Wounded Warriors Saturday February 10th. Aztec basketball season is in full stride, and we will be tailgating at the Veterans House Feb. 9 & 23 to support our fellow Aztecs. For those of you who love America’s favorite pastime, the Padres will be hosting an SVO night Friday, April 12th, when they host the Colorado Rockies.

Our new website is up and running thanks to the hard work of Jeremy Sutton, our Vice President of Communication; please check it out. There you will find information on upcoming events, postings for internship and job opportunities, and details (including photos) from past events. You’ll also find links to our Facebook page and Facebook group, as well as our Twitter page. The Facebook page contains links to recent SVO postings, links to relevant community & campus-related articles, and updates on upcoming events. Our Facebook group is where you will find updated information about current events and a chance to communicate with other SVO members.

Our first meeting of the semester will be held Monday, January 28 at 5:30 at the Veterans House (5500 Hardy Ave. San Diego, CA 92115). Food will be provided, but more importantly you will have a chance to meet the SVO officers and other fellow veterans as well as hear more details about everything coming up this semester. I look forward to seeing you there!

Steve Scott
President, SVO