Student accepted into exclusive veteran cohort

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A Penn State World Campus student and veteran services specialist at Pennsylvania College of Technology is one of 20 successful applicants for a national Focus Forward Fellowship, a competitive mentoring program for women student veterans.

Katie Burke, who has served nine years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, assists campus military personnel through the Major General Fred F. Marty Veterans & Military Resource Center in the Davie Jane Gilmour Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

She is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics at Penn State World Campus, which directly aligns with the Master’s in Marketing Analytics and Insights program that she will start this summer and complete in fall 2024.

“I was ready to further my education and needed a university that provides flexibility because I’m a new mother and work full-time,” Burke said. “I chose Penn State World Campus because they support non-traditional students and veterans.”

Her acceptance into the Focus Forward Fellowship includes a summer residency program through the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (the alma mater of Burke’s father, Gary R. Schaefer) and engagement with a virtual community throughout the 2023–24 academic year.

“I applied at the end of January and had to answer a few short answer–style questions about my experience as a woman student veteran and my professional goals,” she said. “I found out I was selected in late February and was thrilled!

“I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to connect with other women student veterans and learn everything I can from the faculty and mentors. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with Penn College’s women student veterans and encouraging them to apply for next year’s cohort,” Burke said.

She added that receiving the opportunity during Women’s History Month furthered her appreciation for the women who paved the way for programs like the fellowship to exist.

“Someone I particularly admire is Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and a passionate advocate for women’s rights,” Burke said. Walker was an Army surgeon during the Civil War.

“I am sure that the fellowship that has accepted Katie will find out as quickly as I did, what a truly valuable asset she really is. I could not have asked for a better partner in the work that we do for our veterans,” said Chet Beaver, Penn College’s coordinator of veteran and military services and an Army veteran. “Katie has become a great mentor and example for our entire veteran community. I know she will bring some valuable insight back from her time in the fellowship.”

Learn more about the Master’s in Marketing Analytics and Insights offered online through Penn State World Campus.

Media Contact:
Mike Dawson