Over the past several months, Syracuse University Maxwell students have been providing hours of research and analysis to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University as participants in the Community Link Program. Since the inception of the program at Syracuse University in 1978, more than 200 different public and nonprofit agencies have been served by Syracuse University students with over 1,600 projects completed.
Five students worked with the research team at the IVMF during the spring 2016 semester. They conducted survey work relating to the evaluation of veterans and military families’ satisfaction and experiences with programs and services administered by the IVMF.
According to William D. Coplin, Ph.D. professor of Public Affairs and the Director of the Public Affairs Program of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the tagline of the Policy Studies Major is undergraduates building professional skills through community service and research. “The IVMF has become our largest source of research experience,” shares Dr. Coplin. “Over the past year, the Institute has provided more than a dozen students with research projects. Students act as ‘consultants’ to IVMF staff members, and IMVF staff members serve as clients and mentors. The experience gives the students a competitive edge in the job market. And both are working for a better world for our mentors.”
Those students who conducted research, with some presenting to staff and faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the IVMF in early May, included:
• Ryan Nicholas Brinkerhoff on the Onward to Opportunity (O2O) intake assessment experience
• Jack Joseph Harding on the findings from the Boots to Business (B2B) outcome assessment
• Emily Knight on the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) at Syracuse University post-conference surveys (2012-2015)
• Emily Matthews on the Boots to Business (B2B) quality assessment
• Ji Seo on the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) post-conference surveys (2015)
In his presentation to the IVMF, Maxwell student Ryan Nicholas Brinkerhoff stressed, “I hope my work in some small way helps the IVMF to better deliver programs and services to those who have served.”
“Our team takes pride in how we integrate students—at all levels across the SU campus—in more than a dozen ongoing applied research and evaluation projects,” adds Nicholas J. Armstrong, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research and Policy at the Institute, and adjunct professor, Public Administration and International Affairs, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “The Policy Studies students at Maxwell are brilliant and bring great talent and added value to our work. In return, we reciprocate by pulling students into our team and providing them opportunities to engage in critical thinking, develop marketable skills, and make a real impact on a unique set of public policy challenges.”
The IVMF is anxious to see what more it can do with the Community Link Program, and with all of its campus partners, to better connect students to the IVMF and provide them with meaningful and enriching experiences.