Mary Burcroff, a junior in the University’s Paralegal Studies program, admits her classmates are sometimes surprised to learn she is a Marine Corps veteran. But this week, Burcroff, her husband Brad Burcroff ’17, and the other members of the University’s new Veterans Club are among the millions of Americans being honored for their military service.
Sharron Dillon, one of Mary Burcroff’s paralegal instructors, helped create the club to give veterans a chance to find camaraderie with each other. It has grown to include more than a dozen members. Burcroff says she is grateful there is a group that connects her with other students who have similar life experiences.
“We tend to be older than our classmates,” she explains. “Our mindsets and priorities are different from those of many 18-year-olds coming right out of high school.”
Among those priorities are the Burcroff’s three children, ages six, three, and one. The club offers babysitting services so that veterans who are parents may attend the meetings, which are typically held in the evening. It was during those meetings that club members organized a group to march in the CT Veterans Parade, held in Hartford on Nov. 2. They are also planning to collect toiletries and warm accessories to donate to homeless and needy veterans. And on Veterans Day (Tuesday, Nov. 11), they conducted an on-campus flag ceremony.
The Burcroffs are balancing all of this with their studies as they work to earn their degrees. Brad Burcroff, who was also a Marine, is studying respiratory therapy. Mary Burcroff wants to become a paralegal in order to help veterans receive compensation for their service-connected disabilities. She selected UHart's Paralegal Studies program after relocating to Connecticut from California.
“I enjoy it,” Burcroff says of her experience as an undergraduate. “It is a really tough program, but I appreciate it. I am learning a lot.”
The Veterans Club is open to students, faculty, and staff. For more information, please visit the group’s Facebook page.