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Pilot program helps make soldiers into successful students

East Carolina fall classes are right around the corner, but one new program is already getting a head start, helping veterans bridge the gap between a life in the service and one as a student.

The program is the brainchild of film studies associate professor Anna Froula, who designed the Soldier to Scholar program as a means of aiding soldiers and their fellow campusmates.

"My father is a Vietnam war veteran, my grandfather is World War II and my cousin is in Iraq so solider stories, veteran stories, veterans representation in popular culture, that's always been at the heart of my research," Froula said. "It's my hope that we can move toward better conversations not just about or military but with our veterans. Move past 'thank you for your service,' but more productive conversations about what veterans need when they come home."

More functionally, Soldier to Scholar helps ready veterans to make the transition from morning drills to math problems.

Marine veteran Oliver Anderson helped Froula found the program.

"It's a great opportunity to kind of see how a college class environment is and figure out some things you really need to focus on as far as getting those study skills honed," he said.

The program was one of 15 nationally - and two at ECU - to be funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The $65,000 grant will fund the program through the 2018-19 school year. Students who take the class will receive a three-hour humanities credit that can be used toward graduation.

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