Another active-duty member of the student task force is Army Capt. Matt Pratt, who was deployed first to Iraq and then to Afghanistan following his 2006 graduation from the U.S. Military Academy. “It was tough,” he says. “I lost close friends in both deployments.”

When he came home, Pratt renewed a goal he had set as an undergraduate cadet at West Point –– to share the lessons he had learned with others. He had applied and been selected for an Army program that includes the completion of a fully funded master's degree at any university in the nation before returning to West Point for a three-year assignment as an instructor. Pratt chose Purdue, and is now finishing his first year in Krannert’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) program.

Ostebo and Molina

Student task force member Chris Molina (right) interviews USCG Rear Adm. Tom Ostebo during the Military & Veterans Affairs symposium. (Photo by Mark Simons)

“I considered a number of other schools, but the combination of industrial and organizational psychology within a human resource management and business foundation made Krannert’s program unique,” he says.

For Pratt, it’s been a family affair. His wife of eight years, Lisa, a talented musician who won the Army Family Covenant’s 2009 Operation Rising Star singing contest, performed at this year’s EBV events. She also was a finalist for the armed services’ Military Spouse of the Year award. “Krannert’s commitment to military and veterans affairs is important to me both as an active-duty officer and as a husband and father,” he says.

Spurred by the events of 9/11 and economic realities, Marine Corps veteran and Krannert undergraduate Chris Molina took a less direct route to Purdue, joining the military in 2004 immediately after high school. "College wasn't really a viable option at that point,” he says. “I didn't know what I wanted to study or how I would pay for it."

During his seven years on active duty, Molina received assignments of increasing responsibility in various administrative and operations roles, which spurred his interest in business. He left the Marines as a sergeant and enrolled at Purdue's Krannert School as an accounting major in fall 2011, and changed his focus to logistics and supply-chain management after internships at both Honeywell and John Deere.

Molina says the discipline and maturity he developed in the Marines has made his time as a college student more meaningful and productive. He joined the student task force in fall 2013 and is now on target to graduate in May 2015.

"Knowing that I can make an impact on the lives of others has added value to my own experience at Krannert," he says. "It's helped me stay focused on the big picture."

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