Austin Sihoe’s journey to Sacramento State involved dozens of fighter jets, helicopters and surveillance planes – and one really big ship.
Sihoe spent five years as an Aviation Electrician in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier forward deployed to Japan. The deployment meant that the ship stayed overseas and didn’t return stateside.
Despite being more than 5,000 miles away, Sihoe completed the application process and was admitted to Sacramento State with the help of campus Veterans Success Center Director Jeff Weston.
“I’d emailed a couple other schools and I got accepted, but Jeff was the one who was most willing to help me out,” Sihoe said. “I applied while I was still over there. Jeff was really helpful in following up on my transcripts, all my admissions documents and all the other necessary steps to attend Sac State.”
Sihoe plans to enter the Nursing or Physical Therapy programs. He is currently interning with the University’s Student Health Services.
Since arriving on campus in 2007, Sihoe has also worked to help his fellow veterans attend Sacramento State. He counsels active-duty personnel and veterans on the admissions process as part of his job in the Veterans Success Center.
“I’ve gotten calls from Baghdad and Afghanistan, and it feels good to tell them about the services that are available,” Sihoe said.
He also tells them that a welcoming group of peers will be waiting once they arrive. Sacramento State has more than 1,200 veterans and their family members on campus, and many of them have formed a tight-knit group to offer support.
“We realize that some vets have a hard time adjusting back to the collegiate world,” Sihoe said. “They expect to be one of a very few veterans, but we tell them we have an entire student veteran organization.”
Weston says this personal level of service sets Sacramento State apart from other campuses. The University’s comprehensive effort to be the destination campus for our nation’s veterans includes fundraising for veteran scholarships and academic support.
Additionally, Sacramento State has hosted forums by congresswoman Doris Matsui and Col. David Sutherland of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which student veterans spoke about policies and regulations that can help ease the transition to college.