ELeVATE: What does it mean to you?

Read what our students are saying about ELeVATE:

The ELeVATE program is incredible. It not only better prepared me for pursuing a degree in engineering, but it was extremely beneficial in what it offered to me as a Veteran. After completing the ELeVATE program I feel very confident in finishing my post-military education with the tools that the ELeVATE program has given me."
- Nick S., ELeVATE student

"The ELeVATE internship helped me gain experience in a team project setting that was relevant to my computer science track at [my next college].  The professional internship allowed me to use my research skills gained at my undergraduate level.  This experience exposed me to NSF research and helped gained more incite about graduate schools at the University of Pittsburgh."

- Andrew D., ELeVATE student

"Deciding to take part in ELeVATE was the best decision I could have made. Participating has put me back on track to go to school in the fall. Taking part in a research project was very rewarding; it pushed me out of my comfort zone and led to me learning new things. The camaraderie amongst the vets was outstanding; something that I’ve missed the last few years since leaving the Army. Overall, ELeVATE was great learning experience for me."
- Adam C., ELeVATE student

"Since I was younger, my uncle tought me the importance of education. He also taught me that no one can take away what you can accomplish, especially when you set your mind on it. I didn’t know what to expect when I first learned about this internship, but making the decision to apply was an easy one. I did it not just for myself, but also for those who believe in my potential and follow my own dreams. I simply want to thank University of Pittsburgh for partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs to afford the opportunity to become greater."
- Keniel M., ELeVATE student

"I signed up for EleVATE to see how the things that I was learning in the classroom at the University of Pittsburgh apply to the real world. And I have found that I enjoy helping people live a better life. All the projects here are aimed at improving quality of life of all people. With all the veterans returning home, this program has a deeper meaning to me as it should for any veteran. The Brotherhood that we shared in the military is here, trying to help veterans and all people with disabilities."
- Michael M., ELeVATE student

"ELeVATE provided me an exceptional opportunity to meet and work with inspiring, intelligent people who guided and motivated me to gain valuable experience in computer aided drafting.  I also learned critical skills required to produce a high-quality research paper.  The organized tours were also a great experience and served as an inspiration for my future ambitions."
- Shawn O., ELeVATE student

"My favorite part of the ELeVATE program was the experience I have gotten working on an engineering project.  The planning, researching, presenting, and working in the machine shop all provided a well-rounded look at the design process. Another point of enjoyment for me was helping my fellow veterans with their project, math, writing, or anything else.  I feel that I was able to pass along my knowledge to them in a way that helped them understand their projects or something that will help in school down the road."
- Gary R., ELeVATE student

"My experience in the ELeVATE program was a life altering experience that afforded me the chance to get back on my feet after my medical separation from the United States Marine Corps after 15 years of honorable service.  I was undecided which path I wanted to take in life prior to ELeVATE.  I didn't have to work another day in my life if I chose not to, but I my personality wouldn't allow for that to happen.  Working with other interns, all of whom were significantly younger than me, energized me.  Based on the work and projects they were involved in that are designed to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities (such as myself), coupled with the volunteer work that I have been engaged in for years, made me realize that I wanted a lifestyle of changing the lives of others for the better.  ELeVATE facilitated this with the numerous seminars and programs that were provided to us on a weekly basis.  Being away from academia for quite some time, I certainly required assistance to assimilate to the university environment.  The seminar in particular that was the most useful were the bi-weekly math seminars, which greatly assisted me in regaining the knowledge I lost after being removed from the academic environment for the greater part of 17 years.  I enthusiastically recommend this program to any veteran (able-bodied and especially those less capable) to is interested in engineering, research, or just something to open their mind, eyes, and heart to those with disabilities.  ELeVATE assisted me in being admitted to the University of Pittsburgh in the fall.  After selecting pre-engineering as my major initially, I adore research and assisting those worse off than myself.  I am still attending the University of Pittsburgh, however, I'm working for my undergraduate degree in advocacy, with the intention of going to graduate school for rehabilitative counseling in the years to come."
- Matt H., ELeVATE student

"What I found most helpful was the mentorship. My graduate student mentor helped put me in the right frame-of-mind for returning to school as a full-time student. He was, and is, very intelligent and most importantly, mature.
"As for the most compelling and meaningful experiences, being part of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games was great; having a chance to work with another generation of veterans was nice. It was nice to see what was important to individuals with disabilities. I had the chance to talk with a gentleman who was sitting alone. I asked to interview him for a research study I was helping with (the psychosocial benefits of sports participation). He was very depressed and didn’t believe there were people that cared about him. I interviewed him at the end of the week for a follow up and I found him hanging out with other veterans at that point and his outlook seem to have had improved."
- Nate B., ELeVATE student

"I found the program to be extremely beneficial, not only in aiding me in my studies, but also gathering connections with people in the local universities.There are many instances where I learned new things, but the one experience that sticks out for me is when my mentor assigned me to build a part of an autonomous, battery powered robot with the purpose of aiding physically impaired individuals to complete multi-step tasks."
- Jon E., ELeVATE student

"ELeVATE offered me an opportunity to see and experience a lot of things I would not have the opportunity to on my own. It is hard for me to pinpoint just one, but I will say the level of technology available for research was very impressive. I learned everything from how to administer a survey to watching a demonstration of a robotic arm that may provide more independence to those with severe injuries. As a veteran, I was amazed at how many applications could be used to help my fellow veterans. I was impressed with the amount of research that goes into projects at HERL and I am thrilled I got to be a part of it."
- Nicolette M., ELeVATE student

Read what our mentors say about ELeVATE:

"Mentoring EleVATE students has been a great experience for me as I get to share aspects of research that translate into real world applications. During the mentoring process I have learned a lot about the skills that many of our Veterans have and how their leadership skills helps can help them execute projects successfully."
- Shiv Hiremath, Graduate Student Mentor

"I had the pleasure of working with an ELeVATE student during the summer of 2012 on the Cueing Handle project, a wirelessly triggered system of illuminating grad-handles. He assisted with a third generation handle case design and researched alternative switching technology for the handle that would be lower cost and easier to install. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him during the internship and was able to learn a lot from that experience myself."
- Josh Telson, Graduate Student Mentor


Support for this program is provided by the National Science Foundation, Grant # EEC 1232336.

Education > Veterans > ELeVATE > In Our Students' Words