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Unique Needs and Challenges of Women Veteran Students with Disabilities: Conceptualizing Identity in Higher Education

December, 2020
Article:

This article explores the experiences of women veterans in higher education and who have disabilities.

Abstract

This paper focuses on interviews conducted with women veterans with disabilities in Virginia and how they feel their needs would best be met as they transition to civilian college life. The interview questions were designed to capture the basic experiences of women veterans with disabilities who were enrolled in higher education. Those interviewed responded to 13 questions, which focused on background information, how their disability affected their education, what resources they used, and how schools can best meet their needs as women veterans with disabilities. Two members of the project staff conducted independent thematic content analyses, then discussed and agreed on common themes identified. Those themes were: cultural differences, military identity, bureaucracy, experiences, and disability influence. These women veterans revealed that they have difficulty transitioning from the highly structured military world to the less-structured civilian world; their disabilities have an impact on their education options: they seek out quiet spaces, they need more communication and direction on resources and accommodations, and they would like women-specific support groups. Project staff concluded that women veteran students should be treated as a cultural group with specific needs, such as quiet spaces, transition training and mentoring by women peers, and increased communication about veteran-eligible services.

Full Reference

Lau, S. J., McKelvey, S., Groah, C. H., & Getzel, E. E. (2020). Unique Needs and Challenges of Women Veteran Students with Disabilities: Conceptualizing Identity in Higher Education. Journal of Veterans Studies, 6(3), 101–109. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.v6i3.212

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