Stressful? And the Army isn’t?
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Sales, he said, “is a numbers game.”
That wasn’t the right fit for Smith, who served 23 years in the Army following in his father’s footsteps. His brother, sister and daughter also served in the Army. The Smith family has a closet full of “Army Strong” T-shirts.
“That’s the only branch that counts,” he said with a laugh.
And, of course, every sentence ends with: “Yes, sir.”
He was attracted to Miami Regionals because in his role he sells the military service and there’s “no better product,” he said.
“It’s good to be on a positive team again,” he said. “I like removing roadblocks so they can continue their goal of an education.”
His responsibilities include ensuring a smooth enrollment process and providing student support for Miami’s military-affiliated students. The veteran population at Miami Regionals is proportionately three times larger than at Miami’s Oxford campus, while the population of Butler County alone includes more than 26,000 veterans, with an additional 16,000 in neighboring Warren County.
There are 371 students enrolled at Miami University who receive Veterans Administration benefits, and 168 of them, or 45 percent, attend Miami Regionals.
For many veterans, the transition from military to civilian life, including higher education, can be daunting, Smith said. He works collaboratively with colleagues across the university to ensure best practices and service. He’s confronted with problems and seeks solutions.
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He’s an Answer Man.
“That’s the dream of a soldier,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Kristen Taylor, senior regional director of Enrollment Management at Miami University Regionals, said military-affiliated and veteran students — like much of its student population — are a diverse student group. From the entering enrollment process to graduation, these students have “specific needs” to ensure a smooth transition to college and success through graduation, she said.
She said Smith works closely with these students to support them through their application and continuation of their education benefits and helps them “navigate policies and procedures.” Smith has built a network of advocates through which Miami students seek assistance, she said.
Taylor said Smith is passionate about students and “untiringly works” to ensure they receive high quality attention and care in service. He’s regularly involved in supporting student veteran events, and has built a community of students on both campuses through the Veterans Centers and activities, Taylor said.
Smith’s “commendable career” in the Army undoubtedly adds value to Miami Regionals, she said. His knowledge and understanding of what students and their family members experienced, blended with his knowledge of and experience with education benefits and working in higher education, are an “ideal fit,” she said.