Corvias Foundation Shares Best Practices for Military-Connected Students

East Greenwich, RI (February 3, 2020)Corvias Foundation, a private foundation founded by Corvias CEO John Picerne to support education opportunities for military families, presented at the 2020 NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Symposium on Military-Connected Students on Feb. 3. The NASPA Symposium, located this year in Seattle, Washington, is the premier conference for student affairs practitioners supporting military-connected students.

Maria Montalvo, executive director of Corvias Foundation, and Jessie Barton, a graduate student in Communications at Purdue University and Corvias Foundation’s 2019 summer intern, led a workshop titled ‘Talking Military in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities Communicating with Military Dependents as Students.’ The pair spoke to an audience that included faculty, administration, and staff within the higher education community about the distinct methods of communication found within military families and how these methods affect military dependents in college and university environments.

“Corvias Foundation was established in 2006 to help military families by providing scholarships, educating others about the community’s unique challenges and advocating for military dependent-specific programming,” said Montalvo. “Our review of relevant research gathered from sources such as Princeton University and Blue Star Families, in combination with our own experience, shows that military dependents are taught specific methods of interaction and ways to exchange information during times of stress. Understanding this issue is crucial for supporting this growing sub-population of students. Learning how to handle these communication methods allows educators to better support the students as they transition from military life to higher education.”

Based on experience with more than 450 student scholars, Montalvo provided the audience with best practices, including:

  1. When teaching military dependents, consider how statements may be interpreted and be mindful about stereotypes, generalizations and assumptions regarding student veterans, military students, and military family members.
  2. It is never appropriate to ask student veterans or military family members if they or spouse or parent have killed someone.
  3. Be sure to make suggestions about available resources because they are part of a student’s tuition. Understand that some military-connected students may not feel comfortable asking for help and encourage faculty and staff to familiarize themselves with the military culture and important information for military-affiliated students, such as VA/TA Benefits; Tuition & residency; Deployment, PCS processes; and available services, including mental health.  
  4. Encourage peer mentoring (formal and informal) among military-connected students and help them find other students who share their experience.

Since 2006, Corvias Foundation has provided nearly $14 million in scholarships and programming to support the academic and professional success for military spouses and children of active-duty service members.   

“We advocate for our scholars and the greater military dependent community as a whole,” said Picerne. “Events like the NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students provide critical opportunities to raise awareness about this sub-population’s unique characteristics and remove barriers to their academic success.”


About Corvias Foundation

Corvias Foundation is committed to inspiring students, college and university campuses, and military families to reach higher. Founded in 2006 as “Our Family for Families First Foundation,” our work increases access to educational, internship, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities so that those we touch are empowered to pursue their dreams and to make a greater impact in service to their communities and their nation. We strive to create ever-increasing opportunities by providing the resources and networks needed to help our scholars and partners surpass their goals. We achieve this through a commitment to education, community engagement and high-impact charitable giving. To learn more, please visit:

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