Maricela Guzman, a U.S. Navy petty officer second class, sees Cal State L.A. as “a second chance in life” and an opportunity to pursue her dream of achieving a college degree. She is now working toward her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in rehabilitation services.
With a career goal of becoming a social worker in the Veterans Affairs women’s center, Guzman said, “Cal State L.A. has been very welcoming to veteran students. [CSULA Special Education and Counseling] Professor Siu has been a great influence, making sure that I will succeed in completing my degree. She treats us all equally and makes each student feel important.”
Despite certain challenges, she received commendations from her supervisors for her role as an information systems technician for the Navy. During her tour of duty from 1998-2002, she has been stationed overseas on the Diego Garcia Island and in Naples, Italy.
Guzman suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome. In her attempt to move forward from her past afflictions, she became actively involved in advocating for women veterans’ issues. She is a cofounder of the Service Women’s Action Network national organization, which was developed to “transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and the freedom to serve in uniform without threat of harassment, discrimination, intimidation or assault.” She was also featured in a book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, by Courtney Martin.
Currently, a member of Cal State L.A.’s Golden Eagle Vets club, Guzman is coordinating a holiday sock drive on campus to help keep homeless veterans warm through the cold winter. To donate socks, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Air Force sergeant aims for a
degree in rehab services
A tribute to CSULA vets as well as those currently deployed
In commemoration of Veterans Day, Cal State L.A. salutes its more than 200 military veterans and more than 70 military family members enrolled this fall quarter.
Opening the doors of opportunity for a higher education, Cal State L.A. is approved for the training of veterans of military services and their dependents under educational assistance programs established by state and federal governments. Since the implementation of the new G.I. Bill in 2009, more than 360,000 veterans and family members have enrolled in college throughout the nation.
Many veterans, like Keith Bandoske at Cal State L.A., have returned home or retired from active duty and are back in school to complete a college degree in order to pursue a successful career.
Having joined the U.S. Air Force right after graduating from high school and spending more than 21 years serving our country, Bandoske is now here at Cal State L.A. pursuing his bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services. He is currently a member of the University’s Rehabilitation Counseling Association, Golden Eagle Vets student organization, Veterans Task Force and the Veterans Advisory Committee.
A master sergeant E-7, Bandoske served as an Air Force policeman stationed in seven different countries. Additionally, he spent six years as a recruiter here in Los Angeles. He explained, “I recruited in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Pacific Palisades, Malibu and Santa Monica, and I quickly fell in love with Southern California.”
After leaving Los Angeles, he then completed tours in Japan, Kuwait, and San Antonio, Texas, before retiring in 2008. Bandoske said, “I moved back to Southern California and attended Pasadena City College before transferring to Cal State L.A. in March 2010.”
As part of this year’s Veterans Forum promotion, University Recruiter Marco A. Urias shared about his experience as a U.S. Coast Guard and his role in the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at Cal State L.A.:
Bandoske, who hopes to continue on to the graduate program, said, “My professional goal is to become a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Department of Veterans Affairs here in Los Angeles and assist other disabled veterans with returning to the workforce and/or obtaining life skills necessary for independent living.”
He remarked, “Professor Frances Siu has impacted my transition to Cal State L.A. the most. Her mentorship in the field of rehabilitation services has opened my eyes to the vast career opportunities available for me to assist veterans with disabilities in the future.”
“Like the Air Force,” said Bandoske, “Cal State L.A. is comprised of a diverse group of young professionals working together to create a better tomorrow. Diversity is the key to community. I look forward to continuing my education as a Golden Eagle and working with other students and faculty dedicated to serving our great community.”
Cal State L.A. will be closed Veterans Day—Thursday, Nov. 11—in honor of all the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who have or are currently serving our country. For more about Cal State L.A.’s veterans services, call (323) 343-3140. For CSULA students interested in joining the Golden Eagle Vets student organization, call (323) 343-5110.
Here are links to related information: