Nearly 200,000 U.S. service members separate from the military each year, and for them, the fundamental change from military to civilian is not a distant challenge on the horizon. Instead, the reality begins when they remove their uniform and pursue their next career move.
Thanks to the Veterans Imagination Project (VIP), housed under the ASU Center for Science and Imagination, veterans can get unique help as they transition from military to civilian life. VIP is a new effort designed to “future-proof” service members in leaving the military and embarking upon their civilian careers. In partnership with ASU’s Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, participants can learn the tools of future thinking, collaborative imagination, and narrative foresight to explore possible career futures.
“Although the Veterans Imagination Project is still in the pilot stage, thanks to some early funding by ASU Women and Philanthropy, our team sees great potential in this program for increasing resilience in the veteran community and bridging the civil-military divide. For veterans, we’re intentionally creating space and time for them to consider possible futures and develop new mental models of their post-service lives and careers. By sharing these stories and visions with the public, we’re demonstrating our community’s cultural and intellectual diversity and signaling that everyone can play a role in a veteran’s success,” said U.S. Marine Corps veteran, VIP founder and facilitator Bob Beard.
The Pat Tillman Veterans Center Executive Director, Shawn Banzhaf, is excited to partner with the program. “By being available to student veterans, we can offer them the ability and platform to dream. Often veterans are misled to believe they have no choices or abilities beyond what they did during service. The VIP opens their minds and hearts to what could be possible,” he said.
Navy veteran Curtis Merritt said the program opened his eyes to new possibilities. “My military service directly influenced my VIP experience by allowing me to think outside the box. It allowed me to systematically see a space for what my future could be with technology that I would have never considered.”
The next session of VIP will occur on Tuesday evenings from April 25 to June 13 the ASU West Campus. You do not need to be an ASU student or enroll in any courses at ASU to be a part of this project.
For more information, please visit https://csi.asu.edu/veterans.