Veteran Programs

Shaping Experiential Research for Veteran Education (SERVE)  2020-Current

This project is in collaboration with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The primary focus of the grant is to give more opportunities for our veterans to earn graduate degrees in STEM fields to fill the pipeline for Naval STEM workforce. To rally interest in pursuing a graduate degree, the grant offers an exchange program between UNC Charlotte and UT Knoxville in the form of summer research experiences. Veterans wishing to participate may conduct research under subject matter experts at either university. The research topics are defense related and reviewed by personnel at the Naval Research Lab. Veterans from both universities will have opportunities to visit the Naval Research Lab and participate in multiple research related symposiums.


Retooling Veterans with Service- and Combat-Connected Disabilities in Advanced Virtual Engineering  2019-Current

This project targets primarily U.S. armed forces veterans, especially veterans with service- and combat-connected disabilities, to retrain them to grow into Highly-Qualified Personnel (HQP) in the Naval STEM related areas through graduate level education and research involving virtual engineering design and analyses tools. This will be achieved by augmenting the existing Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) graduate program at UNC Charlotte’s William States Lee College of Engineering with two additional navy/defense application oriented, project based applied coursework, and applied-research based dissertation/thesis work along the same line. The program is tailored in such a way that it will have the flexibility to accommodate veterans with undergraduate degrees in STEM disciplines other than Mechanical Engineering entering the program and graduating with a Master’s or PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering. However, this might require that the students take additional bridging courses at the undergrad level before they can be enrolled in our MSME/PhD program.


Engaging Military Veterans to Increase Engineering Enrollment and B/S, M/S, and PhD Degrees Awarded    2018-Current

This project targets military veterans of the U.S. armed forces for graduate degrees in engineering to fill the pipeline of Naval STEM researchers. It does this by leveraging the activities in the engaging experimental labs developed for the previous ONR undergraduate engineering program. In order to keep our veteran undergraduate engineering student for graduate school, we
continue to focus on three major initiatives: 1) use of a new course that involve military-based experimental labs (with enhancements), 2) recruitment of current undergraduate veterans and 3) a Naval workforce outreach program. In addition to engaging them in enhanced “hands-on” research activities, the Graduate School is supporting us with scholarships and targeted recruitment activities and the College of Engineering is providing locations for our work. This funding also provides a number of partial tuition payments for veterans that enter into the early entry graduate program. Building on prior successes, we will produce engineering graduates who are interested in and prepared for Naval STEM-related jobs and research positions. To date the graduate school has provided 3 scholarships to veterans in the College of Engineering (out of 12 total) and the funding has recruited 6 early entry veteran in the first year and supported them with partial tuition payments.

Engaging Military Veterans to Increase STEM Enrollment and Degrees Awarded    2014-2017

This project provides programmatic experiences and support to all engineering students who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces in order to better engage them in their studies, thereby graduating increased numbers of undergraduates interested in Naval STEM-related workforce opportunities. It builds on prior successes and proven tactics with the following four major components:

1) Outreach to U.S. veterans in the community and those exiting the military
2) Engaging military-based experimental labs coordinated with nearby Naval S&T facilities
3) Veteran advocate faculty for veteran engineering students / Peer to Peer Tutoring
4) Naval workforce outreach program aligned with our career fairs.

Over the three funded years of this program, the team visited 11 locations and conducted a total of 36 recruiting events. From the funded phase, 17 veterans were assisted with enrollment and transition. The recruiting and retention portion of the program continues. Additionally, the alumni of the program continue to provide peer to peer tutoring for veterans currently enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program. Partnerships with industry and defense supporters continue with the partners conducting guest lectures, mock interviews, internships and post graduation employment.

Military Technology Class in the UNC Charlotte Motorsport Research Lab