After Serving Our Country, What’s Next?

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Though it may be difficult to distinguish them from the other students on campus without their uniforms, more and more students taking classes at Cape Fear Community College are veterans. In fact, veterans comprise roughly ten percent of CFCC’s student population.

Transitioning from the military to college can be an overwhelming process for returning soldiers. In response, colleges like CFCC are offering specialized facilities and services to help veterans acclimate to college life.

In addition to all the normal stresses of college life, veterans can struggle with feeling out of place.  They can also face challenges when navigating policies and procedures tied to their educational benefits.  CFCC tries to address these issues through its veterans’ center.  “Veterans of our nation’s armed forces have to make major adjustments to return to civilian life,” says Scott McLaurin, CFCC’s veterans’ affairs coordinator, and a United States Navy veteran himself. “Those adjustments can often be more complicated if they decide to attend college.”

CFCC’s veterans’ center is located in the Union Station Building on the Wilmington Campus.  At the center, veterans have access to registration, financial aid and counseling services—all in one place. The center provides student veterans with a study area, computers, and a place to be with other veterans and relax between classes.

CFCC is proud to serve those who have served our country and is making a continued effort to meet the needs of its veteran population.  One of McLaurin’s goals is to create a veterans’ center at each CFCC campus.

For more information about veterans services at Cape Fear Community College, contact Scott McLaurin, CFCC Veterans Affairs Coordinator at (910) 362-7106 or  slmclaurin824@cfcc.edu.

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Student veteran plans to continue to serve his fellow soldiers

For Cape Fear Community College student Ray “Chief” Charfauros, studying at CFCC is a continuation of his service to our country.

Charfauros served two tours in Afghanistan with the United States Marine Corps.   He was part of a major helicopter assault in Marjah, Afghanistan where he led a squad of 15 marines; he was 21 years old at the time.  During his time in Afghanistan, Charfauros survived many intense firefights and was eventually medically discharged due to his service-related injuries.

While stationed at Camp Lejune, Charfauros would often travel to Wilmington, and loved it.  He had a friend who attended CFCC, and upon his discharge, Charfauros decided to begin studying at CFCC as well.

What Charfauros experienced in Afghanistan affected him deeply.  As a result of his personal experiences and the loss of some of his Marine brothers, Charfauros made it his goal to study psychology and continue to dedicate himself to his fellow Marines by working with veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Now, Charfauros is studying psychology at CFCC with plans to transfer to UNCW in spring 2015.  He has worked with CFCC’s veterans’ center staff to carefully plan his career at CFCC and beyond, in order to maximize his GI benefits.  Charfauros has maintained a stellar GPA while carrying a heavy class load, volunteering regularly, and being very involved in his church and CFCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“CFCC has been an amazing experience for me,” says Charfauros.  “It’s been challenging academically, and the teachers are passionate and dedicated.  CFCC is very veteran friendly.  Veterans and their dependents are really treated well here; every CFCC employee I have met has a smile on their face.  I like that.”

Charfauros has plans to graduate from CFCC and UNCW, and then hopes to further his studies at an Ivy League school.  “I have a plan,” says Charfauros.  “I will see it through.”

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