For Veterans Day, John Jay College is celebrating its student veteran population. With 530 veterans currently enrolled, the College takes pride in honoring its many veteran students who have served in various military branches and have made tremendous sacrifices for the nation and the greater good.
Recognized as a Best for Vets and Veteran Friendly higher education institution, John Jay offers extensive programming, services, and career opportunities to prepare its student veterans for life after the military. Richard Pusateri, Manager of the Military and Veteran’s Services Office, says that with an 80% graduation rate and with an average GPA last year of 3.3, veteran students are characteristically successful at John Jay.
One of those exceptional students is Sade Thomas, who will sing the National Anthem at the Mayor’s Breakfast on November 11, with Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and other prominent city leaders in attendance. Thomas served as an administrative specialist in the US Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, CA from 2006-2010, where she achieved the rank of Corporal. A native of Brooklyn, she graduated with a Criminal Justice BS from John Jay in 2014, and is currently enrolled in the MPA Oversight and Inspection program from which she will graduate in May.
As the President of the student-led John Jay Veterans Association, a peer mentorship group for veteran students, Thomas is committed to fostering community among veterans on campus.
“I’ve been a member of the Veterans Association since 2014, so I know the people well here and I love being around them,” she said. “I make sure student veterans get the best academic experience they can.”
Another veteran student John Jay is proud to recognize is Kyle Grant. When Grant retired from the military in 2014, he was more motivated than ever to complete his education. He immediately started taking classes at Kingsborough College, where he completed his Associate Degree, and then transferred to John Jay for his Bachelor’s in Security Management. Only a few months after earning his BS in the spring, he is now pursuing a dual-degree in Protection Management and Public Administration and plans to graduate this December.
During the day, Kyle works a full-time job as a Security Manager at First Data, one of the nation’s leading credit card processing companies. At night, Kyle returns to campus, where he is currently enrolled in five courses. “What I’m doing is not for everybody,” he said. “But it’s because of my dedication that I’m finding a way to get it done.”
Former Marine and Forensic Psychology major Eugene Marmontov shares a similar commitment to his education. Throughout his eight years on active duty as a Marine – in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Europe – he envisioned coming home one day and going to college, and specifically, to John Jay.
“I always wanted to go into public service in the justice field,” he said, “and I knew that was the place I wanted to be.”
Marmontov, 35, was born in Moscow and emigrated to Brooklyn with his mother when he was 18. After enlisting in the Marines at 24, he ended his active duty career in 2015, and enrolled at John Jay. Marmontov now has a 3.95 GPA and will graduate in December with hopes to begin his career in law enforcement either with a federal agency such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency or Secret Service, or with the NYPD.
On November 9 during community hour, the Office of Military and Veterans Services and the Veterans Association will host a Veterans Day observance and Marine Birthday celebration where community members are invited to contribute hygiene items to a month-long collection drive for homeless veterans. On November 28th, a ceremony and banquet featuring keynote speaker Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin will be held for new inductees into the John Jay chapter of the SALUTE National Veterans Honor Society, which was initiated on campus last year.
“John Jay is committed to honoring its veteran students,” said Pusateri. “For veterans, that acceptance in this community means a lot.”