Notre Dame hosts fifth annual Warrior-Scholar Project, a path to college for some student veterans

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The Notre Dame and U.S. flags fly in front of the campus skyline (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

The Notre Dame and U.S. flags fly in front of the campus skyline (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

Thirty active or veteran military members will spend a week on campus this summer as part of the fifth cohort of Warrior-Scholar Project at the University of Notre Dame, an academic preparation program offered to enlisted members of the military.

For many military veterans, despite the challenging experiences they have faced while enlisted, stepping into an academic environment can be nonetheless intimidating because of the foundational academic skills required to be successful in college. The Warrior-Scholar Project was established as an introduction to the demands of college life by offering a free immersive academic boot camp hosted at American partner universities for current and former military service members who wish to pursue higher education.

“This academic preparation program helps enlisted veterans and those currently serving build confidence and academic skills for their eventual pivot from military service to the classroom enrolled at a highly selective college or university,” said Regan Jones, director for military and veterans affairs at Notre Dame. “The academic focus for this multidisciplinary program includes writing, rhetoric, American democracy, business fundamentals and entrepreneurship, and includes instruction by top faculty from the College of Arts and Letters, Mendoza College of Business and IDEA Center.” 

Josh Korhorn performing volunteer work at a local charity food drive while in Korea
Josh Korhorn performing volunteer work at a local charity food drive while in Korea

Thanks to investments made by donors, all programming is offered at no cost to participants. Since Warrior-Scholar Project’s partnership with Notre Dame began in 2017, Notre Dame’s support for it has doubled. The scope of the original program was one week with an academic focus on the Humanities in the College of Arts and Letters with 15 students. The program has now grown to 30 students and two weeks with academic areas in the Mendoza College of Business, entrepreneurship and innovation with the IDEA Center, along with the Humanities. Following this year’s program, nearly 100 WSP participants will have taken part at Notre Dame.

For some student veterans, the program has become a pathway to enrolling as an undergraduate. Shauna Staples and Josh Korhorn, both members of the Notre Dame class of 2025, will participate in Warrior-Scholar Project’s academic boot camp from July 17 to 31 and will enroll as first-year students at Notre Dame during the fall semester. 

Korhorn, a native of South Bend, enlisted in the Army after graduating from Trinity School at Greenlawn because he always had a desire to serve in the military. “While deployed to Iraq as the U.S. Army chief of military pay, I decided to apply to my dream school, Notre Dame, to major in finance,” said Korhorn. 

Staples, a native of Weatherford, Texas, enlisted in the Navy “to make a positive difference in the world, serve my country and learn about other people and cultures.” After six years of serving as an electrician on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, she was ready to pursue her dream of attending the University of Notre Dame. Both Staples and Korhorn enrolled at Notre Dame via the RouteND pathway and will participate in Warrior-Scholar Project at Notre Dame this summer. 

Shauna Staples during her service in the U.S. Navy
Shauna Staples during her service in the U.S. Navy

“I gained leadership experience and a global perspective serving in the Navy, but I’m looking forward to the Warrior-Scholar Project to prepare myself to excel in a rigorous academic environment,” said Staples. “I also look forward to connecting with other student veterans on campus and encouraging service members like me to believe in themselves, because I’m living proof that you can serve in the military and then go to a school like Notre Dame.” 

Enlisted veterans and active duty service members interested in applying for Warrior-Scholar Project can learn more by visiting warrior-scholar.org

For more information about RouteND and other resources for military-connected students, visit omva.nd.edu.