Marine Veteran Victor Acosta on SMU’s Catalyst Transition Program » Dallas Innovates

Victor Acosta
marine veteran
Bilingual Relationship Banker
financial BOK
…on how SMU’s Catalyst military transition program opens doors for veterans.

Here it is Acosta he served as a Navy amphibious assault vehicle operator on assignments from Somalia to Haiti to Jordan before returning to the US and seeking his place in the civilian workforce.

“I gained life experience that allowed me to see the world differently,” he said in a statement about his Navy service.

To put that on the line in the business world, he entered the Catalyst program in Dallas Southern Methodist University. The eight-week military-to-civilian transition program is offered by SMU’s Continuing Education and Professional Development (LAYER). Participants learn how to transfer the skills they developed in the military, from leadership to time management and more, to the world of work by participating in case studies with area companies. While doing that, they earn graduate credit toward an MBA and certificate in project management. Veterans can use their educational benefits to fund the full cost of the program.

Acosta ended the program in June. In January, she will bring with her the credits earned to the online MBA program offered by SMU’s Cox School of Business.

Acosta graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and human resources from California State University. At the time, he wrote on LinkedIn: “As a first-generation college graduate and my parents raising 6 of us, I want to thank my family for all the support throughout this journey.”

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Now, with more support from SMU programs, he is taking advantage of his opportunities.

“Catalyst opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me,” he said. “It made me realize that we are underestimating ourselves as part of the military…”

Marine Veteran Victor Acosta on SMU's Catalyst Transition Program » Dallas Innovates Robert Hurst CAPE director at SMU e1668106700210

Robert Hurst

US Army Veteran Robert Hurst directs veterans affairs for CAPE. “The key that is missing from most military transition programs is how to leverage skills learned in the military in the classroom or on the job,” he said in the release. “Catalyst helps veterans build a personal brand, gain professional experience and earn a project management certificate, something they have likely been doing throughout their military careers.”

“Providing opportunities for veterans and their spouses is our way of saying thank you,” added Hurst.

Other SMU programs help military spouses, leverage Post 9/11 GI Bill

SMU offers other programs and services for veterans and their spouses.

SMU’s Continuing Education program is one of the few approved by the veterans administration by spouses of active duty service membersHurst says. Spouses eligible for the $4,000 My Career Advancement Account scholarship can apply to three of the certificate programs at SMU that the VA calls “portable camps,” The paralegal Studies, Projects managementY user experience design certificate programs are eligible for MyCAA scholarships.

As a participant in the Defense Department Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (named for the 1973 tony orlando song), SMU participates in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Eligible veterans get benefits that cover nearly 70% of tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate students. (By the way, Tony Orlando is the co-grand marshal for Friday Veterans Day parade in downtown Dallas.)

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SMU also hosts student groups that cater to veterans, including SMU MilVets Y veterans in business.

To learn more about who said what about all things North Texas, check out every last word.

Marine Veteran Victor Acosta on SMU's Catalyst Transition Program » Dallas Innovates Screen Shot 2017 10 01 at 12.42.04 PM e1506880190392

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