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Vassar Veterans PosseIn the Classroom

Jeffrey Schneider, Associate Professor of German Studies, was so impressed by the student-veterans he had in his classes that he volunteered to be the faculty advisor to the Posse veterans of the class of 2022. “What I love about Posse veterans is what I love about all first-generation students,” he says. “They really appreciate Vassar from the start, and they’re here to get as much out of it as they can. They’re excited about liberal arts.”

Indeed, they are. In the words of Kyle Trumble ’22, who served as a nurse during his stint in the U.S. Army (where he met his wife, Tiffany Trumble ’23, a member of the incoming Posse): “It’s still kind of a shock that I am able to go to class and be taught by a person who is world-class in their field. The class size is really nice. With 15 people, you can really talk to your professors.”

The conversations with fellow students are equally rewarding. “Students lean in when Posse students speak,” says Katherine Hite, Professor of Political Science. “As someone who’s had a longtime concern about U.S. overreach and intervention, particularly as a student of Latin America, I worried about what Posse’s presence on our campus might mean. I expected there might be more defensiveness, more bristling in the classroom, but my experience is not that at all; it’s generally respectful listening and exchange.”

Francisco Andrade ’22

“They can be intimidated by the fact that I’m a vet, but then they open up more, and realize I’m not some sort of alien,” says Francisco Andrade ’22, who served as a supply specialist in the army and is looking to be an education and media studies dual major. He adds that the relaxed atmosphere takes some getting used to: “The open-door policy is nice, but as veterans we are more conforming; we respect authority and rank. So, texting a professor is like messaging a major, or asking directions from a company commander.”

Brandon Spears ’21

Brandon Spears ’21 spent 12 years in the U.S. Marines, including three deployments to Iraq, as an air traffic control communications technician. He is considering majoring in political science, and says he may want to run for office someday. Like many members of the Vassar Veterans Posse over the years, he had some community college experience before arriving here, and he sums up academic life at Vassar in a single word: “Rigor. Before I got here, the most you’d read in a week in college was 100 pages. Here it’s more like 800 pages.”

Daniel Reyes ’22Photo: Samuel Stuart Hollenshead / Vassar College

Daniel Reyes ’22, whose service in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman included tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, may eventually pursue an advanced nursing degree or become a physician’s assistant. But he also wanted to take something a little different, so he enrolled in Art 105. “I didn’t know it was iconic,” he says. “Over October break, I went to Buenos Aires, and to see that Paris-inspired architecture—you get a deeper sense of appreciation when you’ve actually studied it.” He adds that he’d like his next trip to be to Rome and Paris: “I want to go to the Louvre and put those skills to work a little more.”