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We are often quick to thank military personnel for their service, but do we really offer the necessary support for them and their families? What unique challenges do they face and how can we prepare students to serve those issues? How can Arizona State University as a whole better support the military community?
These questions plagued Jennifer Brougham, an instructor in ASU’s T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics. As a former military spouse, Brougham understood the intimate challenges that military families face.
Noticing a professional need, she used her own experiences and insights from volunteering at a medical clinic to develop a proposal for a groundbreaking new course. With due diligence and the support of ASU’s ROTC commanders, Jennifer was able to push her proposal unanimously through ASU’s academic senate. In the fall of 2016, she was able to turn her passion into a class — FAS 410 — and the first group of students began their work. This remarkably creative, collaborative program works with the ROTC, the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and the Tempe community to provide students with increased understanding of the challenges faced by military families and to prepare them to provide assistance to this unique community.
This intimate class offers a unique combination of discussions, debates and guest speakers to communicate and explore the difficult issues surrounding military families. Open to all undergraduate majors and free of prerequisites, this class can be taken independently or as a part of a certificate path that includes an internship in a related field.
The benefits of this program go far beyond a certification. Students who explore this learning path emerge on the other side as well-equipped professionals ready to bring understanding, compassion and advocacy for individuals serving in our military and the families behind them.