VASCO is in the business of changing and shaping lives. The work we do at our veterans' organization is aimed at providing a holistic approach to solving some of our society’s biggest challenges. We make sure our partners are empowered by creating opportunities for individuals and communities.
George Mason University
Katie is the Assistant Registrar for Veteran Certifications at George Mason University. She is a Mason Alumni who used Chapter 35 benefits, as well as the spouse of an Army Veteran. Katie has worked with VA benefits in all capacities at Mason; starting in the Office of Military Services in 2012 as a VA work study student, then a Mason Wage employee; in 2013 she became the Veteran Transition Coordinator and Office Manager (now titled Assistant Director). In 2015 Katie transitioned to the Registrar’s Office as an SCO and shifted to Lead SCO and Veteran Enrollment Coordinator in 2017. In 2021, she was promoted to my current position. Katie has extensive experience in the VA certification process, SCHEV program approval procedures, liaising with the ELR; in an effort to make the process of utilizing benefits easier, and provide accurate knowledge to both students and other colleges in Virginia, as she has done so with the offices at my own school. Katie is always willing to share her knowledge with others, assist in setting an example for best practices and advocate on behalf of Virginia schools with the VA to make changes that benefit our population of students.
University of Virginia
Kerstin Lopez currently serves as the Military Educational Benefits School Certifying Official and Team Lead in the Office of the University Registrar at the University of Virginia. Her main responsibilities are ensuring timely submission of certifications and to function as the liaison between all UVA military-affiliated students and the VA. Since coming to UVA in 2018, she has held multiple roles to include Student Services Coordinator, Athletics Certification Specialist, and Academic Records Certification Specialist. Kerstin received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Kentucky; a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Ashford University; and a Master of Public Administration from Grand Canyon University. She grew up as an “Army brat” with her father serving 23 years in the Army and she, too, served in the Army as Military Police for one enlistment. In addition to that, she has traveled the world while being married to an active-duty Army soldier, who retired in August 2021. Her life has revolved around the military in some capacity, and she continues her passion by working closely with military-affiliated students.
Richard Bland College
Ronika Jarratt is the Veteran Affairs School Certifying Official and a Financial Aid Counselor in the Office of Financial Aid at Richard Bland College. Prior to coming to Richard Bland, Ronika worked at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Art Education and in the Office of International Education at Virginia State University. At Virginia Commonwealth University she served for 5 years as the Program Coordinator. In this role she managed over 10 budgets totaling over $200,000 dollars annually. Additionally, she assisted travel coordination and expenditures for faculty and staff, special projects and events. In this role she also handled all the human resources, budgeting, financial and scholarship responsibilities for the department, faculty, staff, students, contract employees. She managed timesheets, onboarding, background checks for all adjunct faculty, supervised parttime student workers and independent contractors. During her time at Virginia State University, she served over 4 years in the Office for International Education, where she was responsible for budgeting for international and domestic grants, National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) grants, responsible for faculty and student international travel and enrollment. She was responsible for budgeting and scholarships that exceeded $50,000 annually.
Virginia Peninsula Community College
Brandie Weaver is originally from Richmond, VA and currently resides in Williamsburg, VA with her super crazy, super sweet dog, Willis. She has been working in Higher Education since graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minor in Spanish. She started at Strayer University as the Admissions Secretary and quickly transitioned to the Business Office where she assisted with Financial Aid, Veterans Benefits, Third Party Contracts, and Collections. While working at Strayer, Brandie earned her MBA from Strayer in 2011. In 2014, she found her calling as the Veteran Services Coordinator and lead SCO at Thomas Nelson becoming Virginia Peninsula Community College. Since then, her passion to assist veterans and her commitment to SCO compliance duties has led her to become the Manager of Military & Veteran Services. Throughout her career as a SCO at Thomas Nelson, she has embraced assisting her fellow SCOs and has always been willing to help those who have questions, even assisting with SAA trainings prior to the enactment of annual training requirements. Brandie found her passion with Veteran Services and looks forward to many more years serving the military student population as an advocate, cheerleader, and SCO. Brandie has served on the VASCO Training Committee and feels it is time to do more. She believes her knowledge and passion can help bring other Virginia SCOs together to accomplish our central goal of helping Veterans access their Education Benefits.
The Evolution of VASCO
September 30, 2013
First VASCO meeting is held.
September 17, 2017
Begin holding regular conference calls to generate interest among Virginia schools in establishing an association. About 50 interested individuals participated in the monthly calls.
November 7, 2017
Nominations submitted for
Executive Board positions.
January 24, 2018
Scheduled first in-person meeting at ECPI.
January- May 2018
Creating By-Laws and Constitution.
April 5, 2018
In-person meeting scheduled and
leadership candidates identified.
May 29, 2018
Final draft of Constitution sent out.
June 1, 2018
First in-person meeting at ECPI in Richmond.
Twenty-four people attended to vote
for the executive board.
July 18, 2018
By-laws and Constitution finalized
September 19, 2018
Contracted Consultant Company, Nonprofit Elite, to submit corporation filings.
October 11, 2018
Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes
VASCO as a corporation.
November 5, 2018
Official VASCO logo and table cover
December 4, 2018
Received VASCO EIN number.
December 6, 2018
VASCO list-serv created.
February 22, 2019
First in-person training with approximately
30 people attending at ECPI in Richmond.