Fittingly enough, Christopher Kane’s favorite mountain to hike is Piestewa Peak, the Phoenix mountain renamed in 2003 for Lori Piestewa, a U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps soldier who lost her life in service to her country.
Like Piestewa, Kane also answered the call to serve his country as an intel support specialist, planning rescue missions for U.S. soldiers in such countries as Iraq and Yemen while stationed at the U.S. military headquarters in Qatar.
It would appear he has a knack for helping soldiers.
Today, he continues to do so as the military transition support specialist for the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University’s West campus. When Kane started in that position in January of this year, he became the first-ever such specialist at ASU West, filling a much-needed role.
“Besides helping out with academic advising for new students who are coming from the military or who are military family members, if they don’t know what kind of major to pursue or what their future goals are, I help them try to figure out what they like and work with them to choose a path for their future,” Kane said.
A typical day in his life consists of various academic advising appointments, making sure student veterans have all the right paperwork filled out and are on the right track toward their degree. But Kane doesn’t stop there.
“I also try to help them find internships, research projects and even scholarships,” he said.
Kane makes a point of visiting the vet center at ASU West campus at least once a day to mingle with student veterans and make sure that if they need anything, they’re getting it. He’s also very much committed to getting student veterans to participate in events, whether they’re on campus or out in the community.
His favorite events are those put on by the veteran nonprofit organization Team Red, White and Blue.
“Team Red White and Blue does weekly events, and it’s kind of like the American legion where you can go take a hike, or go biking with other veterans. So it’s a great way to actually introduce yourself and meet other veterans in the area,” Kane said.
According to Kane, getting student veterans involved in social activities is one of the most important aspects of transitioning back to civilian and student life. He says that although they tend to do great with things like time management, it is often the case that student veterans are older and have more world experience than their classmates, and so they find it difficult to relate. Getting involved in groups and activities on and off campus helps student veterans to feel more socially engaged.
And Kane is in a unique position to be the one at the helm of coordinating and encouraging participation in such events.
“Since I just transitioned, I know the experience of going from military back to civilian life,” he said. “I can relate through my own past experiences.”
For the upcoming fall semester, Kane hopes to make even more activities, clubs and events available to student veterans at the West campus.
“We have the lacrosse team here on campus, so I’d like to do more with them, like how Tempe has the Sun Devil Baseball and Basketball Salute to Service. I’d also like to have more career service events, such as resume writing and networking,” Kane said.
For more about veterans at ASU, including support services, scholarship opportunities and events, go to veterans.asu.edu.
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