Updated: Dec 23, 2019
Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) is proud to announce that seven of its 2019 summer program alumni have been accepted to Columbia University’s 2020 incoming class.
Keith Cruz, Noah Dejewski, Daniel Hewett, Nicholas Leshowitz, Christian Martinez, Charles Wohlers, and Jake Yuskaitis are military veterans who attended Warrior-Scholar Project academic boot camps this summer, and have gained acceptance to the prestigious Ivy League university for the fall of 2020.
Keith Cruz recently separated from the U.S. Air Force and attended the WSP STEM academic boot camp at Yale University this summer.
Cruz had been attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University prior to attending WSP and applying to Columbia. Cruz chose Columbia because of the university's reputation for serving veterans.
"To me, this shows Columbia University's commitment to educating veterans and providing access to an Ivy League quality education to those who have served our great country," he said.
Cruz was also drawn to the city of New York and the diversity it offers. "Columbia University allows me to meet people from different backgrounds in the city of New York, where people come from all walks of life. I've learned a lot through others and it certainly developed me into who I am today."
Cruz had applied to Columbia before attending WSP with the help of Service 2 School, but WSP changed a major thing for him: "Before I attended the Warrior-Scholar Project, I didn't have the belief that I am capable of attending an elite university. I was hesitant to attend, let alone believe that I would be accepted. However, the motivation of the WSP staff and fellows, as well as seeing that they are capable of accomplishing so much, allowed me to believe in myself--that I am also capable as a fellow veteran."
Noah Dejewski currently serves in the U.S. Army and attended the WSP academic boot camp at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill this summer.
Columbia University was Dejewski’s dream school, so he had applied before attending the WSP program at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“By the time I did WSP, I had already applied to Columbia, but was very unsure of what to expect from a college environment,” he said. “My biggest takeaways from Warrior-Scholar Project were the confidence, skillset, and insight it gave me into the college experience. Together I will use these attributes to excel in an academic environment.”
Dejewski plans to study financial economics at Columbia.
As a current member of the U.S. Marine Corps, Daniel Hewett already knows what he wants to study at Columbia when he finishes his service.
“Academically, I am interested in government and international relations,” said Hewett. “I enjoy working on problem sets that involve different countries, governments, and ideologies. The complex nature of religious, cultural, and political ideas throughout the world are my passions which I hope to use to pursue a career in politics or government.”
The active-duty Marine attended the WSP Columbia University academic boot camp this summer, solidifying his desire to attend the Ivy League university.
“I’m so excited to start my transition out of the military into school. I couldn’t have done it without Warrior-Scholar Project and the help from the people I met there,” he said.
As an active-duty Army Ranger, Nicholas Leshowitz attended the WSP humanities academic boot camp at Syracuse University this summer.
Choosing an Ivy League university to attend was easy for Leshowitz: “From my personal experiences, I believe that Columbia has the best Ivy league program for veterans. The passionate attitude of the faculty, as well as the abundance of resources they offer to veterans to ensure your success at their institution seems to be nearly unmatched in comparison to the other Ivy Leagues.”
Leshowitz plans to study business management, specializing in finance, while at Columbia.
“As a finance major, I believe Columbia's vast connection pool and location inside the heart of New York City will lead to incredible internship opportunities, and therefore set me up to transition into the professional world successfully,” he said.
After leaving the U.S. Marine Corps in 2017, Martinez enrolled at Tidewater Community College to pursue his dreams of a college degree. During this time, he attended our 2019 STEM summer program at Princeton University, which opened his eyes to new possibilities.
"At WSP, I gained the confidence to apply to an institution like Columbia. The support that WSP gives, to me, is the best educational program for military and veterans. I never even considered going to any top-tier schools, but upon hearing members of my cohort getting accepted to some of the tops schools in the nation, I figured that I should give it a try."
Since he was a high school student, Martinez has been interested in STEM.
"I chose Columbia because of its engineering research and development, where one of the focuses is developing more sufficient solar energy. Another reason is that theoretical physicist Brian Greene teaches at Columbia and I idolize his work in super String theory."
Martinez plans to major in chemical physics and chemical engineering at Columbia, and has big plans after that.
"After Columbia, I plan to be a part of the engineering community at SpaceX. I think that the rigorous academia that Columbia presents to their students and the abundance of internships, and networks available to students will prepare me for my future plans."
Charles Wohlers is currently active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. Wohlers attended a WSP humanities academic boot camp at the University of Pennsylvania and also attended the new business-focused curriculum at the University of Southern California this summer.
“I chose Columbia because not only is it one of the most prestigious universities in the country and in the world, but Columbia also really cares about helping veterans and making them succeed,” Wohlers said. “Columbia University and the School of General Studies have been helping vets since troops came back from WWII. I think that is something really worth noting when considering a university when you're transitioning.”
In addition, the location of Columbia had a lot to offer: “In my opinion, Columbia is in one of the best locations of any school in the country. Whether you want to work in the arts, business, politics, or whatever interests you, there is no better place to start your professional life than in the heart of New York City.”
Jake Yuskaitis attended the WSP humanities course at Syracuse University this summer. After separating from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2018, Yuskaitis has been attending Bergen Community College, with the goal of attending Columbia University—a goal which he has now achieved. Yuskaitis plans to study business and finance at Columbia.
“I chose to apply to Columbia because of the academic rigor, prestige, and networking opportunities,” said Yuskaitis. “Columbia has an excellent location for breaking into the world of finance in New York City.”
These student veterans agree that Warrior-Scholar Project was an important part of their journey to Columbia University.
“The Warrior-Scholar Project provided me with a wonderful learning environment enriched by the outstanding faculty,” said Yuskaitis. “The program instilled a sense of preparedness and a familiarization with academia.”
“At WSP, I was able to establish a support system with other veterans who were also planning to apply to Columbia, which made the entire application process and transition much smoother,” said Leshowitz. “WSP also gave me all of the tools I needed in order to apply. From professors to help revise my essays, to mentors who currently attend Columbia, as well as great recommendation letters, WSP gave me not only the confidence to apply but the tools I needed to be successful.”
“Being able to attend an Ivy League university was something that I never even entertained in my mind before WSP,” said Wohlers. “Once I talked to current veteran students at Columbia and saw their success, I knew it was where I want to go.”