Joel Acevdeo at his desk


Bridging Military Service and Higher Ed

November 6, 2023

Pictured: Joel Acevedo recently joined New York Tech as the associate director of Military and Veterans Affairs.

New York Tech’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs welcomed a new associate director this year. In this role, Joel Acevedo bridges the gap between military service and academia as he assists student veterans in transitioning from disciplined military life to vibrant college life.

From overseeing programs and services tailored to students’ needs, like academic support, counseling, and career guidance, to developing and implementing initiatives like Student Veteran Orientation and Military Appreciation Week, Acevedo is in a unique position to advocate for student veterans.

“I focus on fostering a campus culture of understanding and inclusivity, where veterans feel valued and supported,” he says. “Through outreach, networking, and partnerships, I also aim to expand opportunities for our student veterans, ensuring their success not just in academia but in life beyond.”

Recognizing the need for student veterans to be aware of the office and to feel empowered to take advantage of the assistance it offers, Acevedo made it his first order of business to amplify communication about and visibility for those services.

He also has developed a focused plan to forge a partnership with the Alumni Relations office. A potential collaboration would lead to establishing a veteran mentorship program, linking New York Tech’s veteran alumni with current student veterans, and creating a structured network of support, guidance, and shared experiences.

Acevedo is determined to make the university a home away from home for the students his office serves, and he has the experience to do so—he served in the Army National Guard for seven years, during which he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“The National Guard connects the military and civilian worlds, blending the ethos of service to country with a commitment to local community,” Acevedo says. “It was this dual responsibility to both nation and neighborhood that resonated deeply with me and drew me to its ranks.”

Acevedo is the first in his family to join the military, a decision that stemmed from Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath on Staten Island. After witnessing the Army National Guard’s 145th Maintenance Company helping a community in need, he felt a calling to become a part of something bigger, to give back, and to serve. In 2014, he joined the very same unit he observed during that fateful time in 2012.

During his time with the Army National Guard, Acevedo forged friendships and honed his leadership skills. He also fostered a deep-seated desire to guide fellow veterans on their post-military journey. With his commitment to aiding others—especially veterans—he seized the opportunity to join the Office of Military and Veteran Affairs after a friend recommended the position.

“Veterans bring invaluable skills from their service that, with proper guidance, can be harnessed in academic and career pursuits,” Acevedo says. “In this office, we have specialized resources to recognize and honor their sacrifices made, ensuring these students can thrive in civilian life. It’s not just about easing the transition; it’s about acknowledging their experiences and potential.”

To express proper appreciation for New York Tech’s student veterans, the office hosts recognition events during significant military holidays and workshops tailored to translate military experience into civilian job skills, as well as having dedicated spaces on campus for veterans to gather, share stories, and support one another.

They are also actively collaborating with Admissions, jointly participating in military- and veteran-specific educational resource fairs so more military service members learn about and pursue their education at New York Tech. With robust support for the life-changing transition to college life, guiding students through benefit processes, and ensuring that New York Tech remains a welcoming and safe environment for all veterans, the office is committed to helping student veterans graduate from their chosen degree program.

“My primary goal is to instill hope and provide unwavering support. The most rewarding aspect of working here has been witnessing the tangible, positive effect on our student veterans. Seeing them find their path and achieve their dreams underlines the value of what I do here in the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs.”