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Vet Stories

At Robert Morris University, we're thankful for our veterans and the sacrifices they have made. That's why veterans study free at RMU.

Joshua Caskey

Josh Caskey completed two tours in Iraq before returning State side and applying to Robert Morris University. While enrolled in the School of Education and Social Sciences, he was introduced to the RMU Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project (IAVP), an oral history project in which students record interviews with veterans, archiving their experiences of America's recent wars.

“It’s important to us to document our brothers’ and sisters’ experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. A typical oral history project doesn’t have participants from the event it documents actively engaged in the project,” said Caskey, 34, of West View, Pa.

Caskey's hard work with the IAVP, as well as making Dean's list every semester, led him to receive the university's highest undergraduate award, the Presidential Transformational Award.The award is given annually at commencement to a graduating senior who has been transformed by their experience at RMU and, through their leadership, community service, and academic achievements has transformed RMU.

Caskey earned his bachelor's in history in May 2016 and is currently enrolled in RMU's master's degree program for instructional leadership. His He plans to be a social studies teacher and ultimately a school principal. He spent 12 years as a Marine, and he is the recipient of the Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in Iraq. He received a Combat Action Ribbon, four Good Conduct Medals, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with “V” for Valor.

 

Alec Chebatoris

A trained combat engineer in the Army Reserve, Alec is currently leading a team that's in charge of training the Afghan National Army (ANA) on route clearance. But his long journey to Afghanistan began back when he was at RMU.

When he was a freshman, his company was sent away for two weeks for training. When he got back to Robert Morris, Alec's biology professor let him postpone taking a test until he had time to catch up on homework. Then there was the extra effort that RMU's veterans office put in to make sure he got his full veteran's education benefits reimbursement for his classes.

Through his current deployment, Alec is learning a lot about the Afghani culture and way of life. "Some of them know decent English," he says, "which is very impressive, because many of them don't even know how to write their own name. The ones that know some English are teaching me their native tongue of Dari."

It is still a war zone, however, as Alec was reminded this April 4, when he was close enough to hear the blast that killed three Ohio National Guardsmen. "Those guys are on the same FOB [forward operating base] as me. So it was a very somber day and brought more realization that we are still at war."

Even though he's currently deployed, Alec is still focusing on his future and has been keeping in contact with the HR rep at a worldwide environmental engineering and consulting company with offices in Pittsburgh. "I gave them my resume and they said that they'll have an interview waiting for me when I get back home," he says. "So I'm really excited about that."

 

Kacy McCoy

Kacy McCoy is following in her brother's Sam's footsteps at RMU, thanks to their father's service as a U.S. Marine.

Both of the McCoy children received dependent benefits through veterans educational benefits. Sam graduated last year with a teaching degree from RMU, and now Kacy is a sophomore studying Web development.

After a year of studying media arts, Kacy switched majors to take advantage of RMU's excellent School of Computer Information Systems. She's also taking accounting and marketing.

"They require you to take different courses, and I like that," Kacy said. "It gives you broader knowledge, and maybe a foot up in the job market."

Spouses and dependents who qualify for tuition benefits under the post 9/11 veteran's education benefits may also study free at RMU.