Military and veteran educational specialist wants to network with campus, community

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

So, what do you do here? 

I am the military and veteran education specialist on campus, which means I work to ensure personal and academic success among our veteran students. That involves making sure their benefits are taken care of and providing them with access to all the resources and tools on campus they need to thrive.

A big part of that, the part that I'm most passionate about, is networking with people on campus and in the community who might be interested in working with our students. I never know who is going to walk through my door and what services they might need or what subjects they're looking to get plugged into, so I really see this office as being the generator, and it's my job to get the students plugged into the right outlet to be the most successful.

Travis Arment

Center for Diversity and Enrichment

Job Title: Military and Veteran Educational Specialist

Hometown: Grinnell, Iowa

At the UI since: June 15, 2015

Family: Wife, Holly

Alma Mater: Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

How did you get into this field of work? 

When I got out of the Navy in 2008, there weren't really a lot of resources available to veterans. There definitely weren't as many as there are now, so we were kind of left to figure out the rest of our lives and I couldn't find a job. I sent out two or three résumés a month for six months, and I eventually found a job at Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids as an assistant program supervisor. After that, I worked as a missionary, I started my own business, and, eventually, I went to graduate school at Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids, where I became a veteran peer adviser in June of last year.

What makes you passionate about your work?

I love to hear about what people are passionate about and what their dreams are and I love working with them and helping them to get from a place where they feel stuck to going in a direction they want to go. For me, it's really about being a coach and a mentor who pushes others toward their destiny and their purpose. I don't like seeing people go through life wishing they could have been something else.

Take us through your most memorable or rewarding day at the University so far.

I love learning and every day brings a new challenge and new learning opportunities. I'm very thankful for the people who have come before me for building a solid foundation here at the UI that I can run on. So, learning what that is—the different programs and initiatives this department has put together for veterans over the years—that's been a joy for me and I absolutely love every aspect of that. I've also been blown away by the leadership of the students. They take things by the reins and they run with them. Whether it's planning their annual golf tournament, the warrior dash, or other events during the school year, these veteran students excel. I'm impressed by their skills and their ability to get things done with excellence. 

What's the biggest risk you've ever taken? Did it pay off?

Joining the Navy after I graduated college. Did it pay off? Absolutely. I got to travel the world, I paid off all of my school loans, and now I still have education benefits that I earned while I was in the service. The Navy provided me with great life experiences, great friendships, and serving your country? There's nothing better than that. 

If you could get rid of one invention in the world, what would you choose and why?

It's a love and hate relationship, but I would get rid of all cell phones. I hate them because we have to be attached to them, but I love them because I can stay in contact with people. I just feel like the syndrome of having your head down and missing the things around you is greatly affecting people on Earth right now and we're losing a ton of soft skills that are needed.

Name five of your favorite things.

  • My wife, Holly
  • My Bible
  • My family
  • The outdoors (I love hunting, fishing, swimming, and flying)
  • Coaching people to be the best version of themselves