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Veteran’s affairs liaison leaves lasting marks on students

March 26, 2015

 

CALEB DANIEL
Staff Reporter

 

One of the fondest memories in Sheila Sanchez’s career came in the form of a hug.

 

“There was this one student that I referred to the National Guard,” she said. “They were deployed, and when he came back, he came to my office, gave me a hug, and said he wanted to come back to school. That was very rewarding for me.”

 

As the veteran’s affairs liaison counselor at the registrar’s office of Louisiana Tech, Sanchez is responsible for overseeing veterans and veteran dependents who enroll at Tech and making sure they receive their Veteran’s Affairs benefits.

 

“She represents our university extremely well,” said Robert Vento, University Registrar.

 

Sanchez said she is passionate about her role in the lives of the veteran students.

 

“Once the veterans are discharged, there’s a lot of red tape and adjustments they have to make,” Sanchez said. “My biggest goal is that I want to make it as easy as possible for each one to receive his benefits.”

 

Sanchez said despite large amounts of red tape, the reactions from the students she assists make the work worth the effort.

 

“Many times students are frustrated because they don’t know what to do,” she said. “I can line everything out for them and tell them exactly where to go and who to see. And there’s this relief all over their face. That’s my favorite part of the job.”

 

Jerrod Snoddy, a junior forestry major, expressed his gratitude for Sanchez’s help.

 

“When I was considering Tech, I sat down with Mrs. Sheila, and we hit it off right away,” Snoddy said. “She is the most helpful person I have ever known. She helped me through every step and always made time for me.”

 

Snoddy said that Sanchez’s work was influential in his decision to finish school.

 

“I left college for two years, and this is my first quarter back,” Snoddy said. “She is the main reason I am back at Tech and the main reason I am finishing my degree at all. She has been a bigger help than anyone, and I am so thankful for her.”

 

Sanchez was quick to spread the credit around the office.

 

“One thing that makes my job easier is the family I work with in the Registrar’s office,” she said. “We care about one another, and I believe students can only benefit from that type of environment.”

 

Vento mentioned the far-reaching effects of Sanchez’s labor.

 

“When our students in the Guard or Reserve get deployed, we do work with them online to assist them in getting back into school,” Vento said. “Mrs. Sheila has done lots of work with soldiers literally while they’re still in the sand box.”

 

Vento said he had nothing but praise for his associate and the work she does to smooth out the veterans’ process of returning to school.

 

“She’s really good at it,” Vento said. “It’s almost like a sixth sense, she can look ahead and perceive future problems, and she just knows how to solve them. Lots of her work is behind the scenes, not part of her job description. It’s just her being Sheila.”

 

Email comments to csd020@latech.edu.

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