Staff Feature: Serving those who served | Stark State College | North Canton, Ohio
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Staff Feature: Serving those who served

Meet Taylor Corum, military services specialist at Stark State College

Taylor CorumTaylor Corum has a knack for serving her community. As military service specialist at Stark State, she supports veterans, active-duty military members and their dependents along their educational journeys. Here, Taylor takes a moment to describe the important work of our Office of Military Services and explain what she enjoys most about assisting our military-connected students.

Q: Have you always worked in higher ed?

A: I worked as a site director for the University of Oklahoma in Geilenkirchen, Germany, on a NATO base for four years before moving back to Ohio. Prior to that, I worked for the Greater Oklahoma City YMCA for eight years in Oklahoma.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your role in the Office of Military Services at Stark State College.

A: We educate veterans, active-duty military members and their dependents about the entire Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit process. We want to make sure they feel comfortable, supported and included at Stark State. We’re a place where they can get answers to all of their questions, and we walk with them, step by step.

Q: What initially drew you to this role?

A: I’ve been connected to the military and its community for 14 years. Having the opportunity to serve those who served is unlike any other job out there. I was also looking for a job that I loved that was back home in Jackson Township (where I grew up) and closer to my family.

Q: Explain the type of support that our military-connected students need.

A: Transitioning from the military to academia can feel like stepping into an entirely different world. The military is a well-ordered setting in which most decisions about day-to-day life are already made. By contrast, academia allows students a lot of freedom – so much so that it can feel overwhelming to those not accustomed to it. In many cases, what student veterans need is a sense of belonging, which is no different from other college students. We provide that support and belonging with resources that Stark State offers in addition to outside agencies like the VA.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?

A: Honestly, I love that every student is different. They come from different backgrounds. They have different needs and wants, but they all have had the same training and structure in their military careers. This training gives my students loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, integrity, teamwork, patience and professionalism – all characteristics that will help them succeed in higher education and the civilian workforce. And I really enjoy the team of people I work with. Our crew has some of the best around.

Q: What are the strengths of Stark State’s Office of Military Services?

A: Military Services tries to be a one stop shop for our students. This could mean connecting them to Stark State resources like tutoring, resume building, FAFSA support and so on. But it also includes our outside military resources with finding jobs, housing, working with the VA, deployments and so much more.

Q: Describe your approach when it comes to helping our military-connected students succeed.

A: At the most basic level, supporting veteran and other military-connected students means being respectful and compassionate. The best way to learn how to help them get what they need to be successful is just to ask them. I try to get to know them for who they are. They’ll be more likely to open up and share their experiences, and I find the commonalities to be able to support them on their journey.

Q: What’s one thing these students – and their families – are always surprised to learn about your office?

A: I think our military-connected students and families are most surprised by how easy we make the process for them. They can come to us for advising, DSS accommodations, military-connected disability benefits and an array of other services. We go through lots of training to stay on top of the laws and new policies to be able to break it down for the students to comprehend. Our office also has a Veterans Lounge that many are not aware of. Our veterans have access to this room during our office hours where they can have a quiet space to study, grab a coffee or just relax between classes.

Q: What’s a hobby or two you enjoy outside of work?

A: I have a 4-year-old and 7-year-old who I love to travel with and be outdoors. I also love trying out new restaurants. If you have a good one, let me know!

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