January 31, 2020

Topeka, Kan. – Increased support for service-connected students at Washburn University Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech) is now available with the establishment of the Military and Veterans Advisory Committee. 

“Having a military advisory committee, comprised of all of the branches of service, including veterans, will allow Washburn Tech advantages in fostering a campus culture for veterans and military connected students,” said Chris Bowers, military transition coordinator, student life.

Development of the committee, which is the 31st advisory group established at Washburn Tech, was instigated by Gary Bayens, Washburn Tech dean, himself a veteran. Joining Bayens and Bowers on the roster are:

  • TSgt Drew Egnoske, USAF.
  • MSG Jason Ekland, US Army.
  • Captain Joseph Kinsey, US Army. 
  • Captain Colby Kortan, US Army.
  • CMSgt Rick Murren, USAF.
  • SSgt Tanner Lakin, USMC.
  • SSgt Michael Wackler, USMC.
  • Gunner Kelly, retired, USMC.

“The advisory committee will create a pool for innovation and strategic planning, leading Washburn Tech in a direction of success for the community of veterans and students in the military,” Bowers said.

As a first step, the committee retooled processes of VA education certification, ROTC and military transition to the Military-Student Success Center at the University. The purpose of the advisory committee structure at Washburn Tech is designed to ensure students are well-prepared for their chosen careers. With this goal in mind, instructors assemble groups of persons in the respective trade or business arenas who are interested in sharing their professional expertise to help keep students at the forefront of technical education.

Nurturing a veteran-friendly environment is enhanced by the fact Washburn University was the first school in Kansas designated a Purple Heart University by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, in recognition of Washburn’s continued service to veterans and members of the military.


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