Lone Star College-North Harris Veterans Affairs Campus Veteran Liaison, Brandon Swaringim knows first-hand what it takes to make the transition from military life back to civilian life, and how vital getting an education is.
Swaringim served as an Army Medic for four years from 2005-2009. He was stationed at Camp Casey in Korea working with the infantry as a line medic and in Fort Riley in Kansas doing clinical work at the post’s hospital.
“When I joined the military, I had just turned 21 and was still living with my parents and had very little ambition or hope for the future. I had not gone on to college, and I knew that in order to survive, I had to find an escape. For me, the U.S. Army was my only hope,” he said.
Swaringim continued his work in the military, and matured in the field each day, learning something new.
“By the time I got out of the Army in 2009, I was married and had a two-year-old son. I was a completely different person than the “kid” that joined the military four years prior. I was empowered to take control of my own fate. And at that point, I had the resources to successfully obtain an education thanks to the GI Bill. With the tuition covered, as well as the monthly living stipend that the GI Bill provides, I knew that I didn’t have to work and could just focus on my studies and raising my little boy,” added Swaringim.
After completing his college application, Swaringim enrolled at Lone Star College in 2010. He had never been to college before, and suffered from the “school isn’t for me” mentality.
“I didn’t think I was very smart, but luckily, I had a few amazing professors that helped me realize my potential,” said Swaringim.
Swaringim had tremendous potential! He not only earned his Associate of Arts degree from Lone Star College, graduating with Honors distinction and Magna Cum Laude, but he was also a member of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, participated in Model United Nations, won the English department award, as well as founded and was elected president of two student organizations.
In 2014, Swaringim transferred to the University of Houston, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in Spanish.
Swaringim currently serves as the Campus Veteran Liaison in the Veteran Affairs department at LSC-North Harris, working directly students who are military veterans.
The mission of Lone Star College’s Veterans Affairs program is to lead in the educational achievements of military veterans and those military-affiliated student populations – to continue to engage in mentorship and professional development of those who have and continue to serve and sacrifice for liberty and freedom.
“Having gone through this experience, I can easily empathize with those men and women that have served our country and are now trying to transition to civilian life and further their education. It can be an emotionally taxing and complicated job at times, but I love it,” added Swaringim.
Swaringim goes on to say, “The Veterans Affairs department is extremely important because there are veterans here suffering from the same sense of self-doubt and low sense of competence that I did, and there has to be a group dedicated to working extra hard to empower these veteran students so that they can also reach their potential.”
The transition from military to college can be overwhelming and LSC-North Harris is committed to addressing the distinct needs of our military-affiliated student population. The Veterans Office at LSC-North Harris is the liaison with the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans and dependents of veterans with the application process of veteran’s benefits.
LSC-North Harris salutes Swaringim and all of our servicemen and servicewomen who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country each and every day. If you are a veteran or know a veteran that is looking to pursue higher education, LSC-North Harris is here to help our veterans reach their next goals to achieve academic success.
For more information about the Veterans Affairs department at LSC-North Harris, call 281.765.7880 or visit LoneStar.edu/Veterans-Affairs.
Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 East, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit LoneStar.edu/NorthHarris.
Known for its leadership, innovation and steadfast commitment to student success, Lone Star College provides high-quality academic transfer and workforce education / career training programs to more than 83,000 credit students each semester, and a total enrollment of 95,000 students. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to promote student success and economic prosperity. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, which consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.