North Central College - Naperville, IL

Ryan Brazel

Veteran Student

Ryan Brazel ’14 called his college decision a “no brainer.” After interacting with North Central College’s admissions staff, the navy petty officer knew where he belonged.

“The staff at North Central was just remarkable helping me through a process that could have been a major catastrophe,” said Brazel, who was battling the clock to find a school after returning home from his fourth deployment. “I had minimal time, not to mention I was transferring from a two-year college. The wonderful people here made sure I was up and running.”

North Central has a variety of programs and events in place to help student veterans transition from military life to campus life. Some focus on academic and financial issues while others are purely recreational.  One of Brazel’s favorites is “Pizza with the President.”

“I would definitely recommend North Central to fellow military members,” he said. “This College has been one of the most military-friendly schools I have ever encountered.”

Brazel is doing his part to make it even better.

“My goal is to help all vets who come through here, from beginning to end; to help them find everything they need, from bookstores to classrooms. To make sure they’re receiving their benefits and are able to pay their bills. I want to make sure the percentage of vets who graduate here is 100 percent. They have each put in the time and earned their right to be here, whether they went through combat or not.”

Brazel is working with fellow veterans, the local Walgreens and veterans’ program advisor Dr. Renard Jackson—someone Brazel insists “must have been a vet in a previous life”—to send care packages to active units serving in Afghanistan. He’s excited about the group’s potential for growth.

“The more we work together, the better it’s going to be for future student veterans,” he said.

A boatswains mate second class petty officer in the U.S. Navy, Brazel has completed two tours of duty in Iraq and two in the Arabian Sea. He plans to major in exercise science.