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Presenter Bios

M. Seamus Harreys, Ed.M., M.B.A., is Associate Vice President and Dean, Enrollment and Career Services, at Northeastern University. Seamus oversees all aspects of student financial services for all students (undergraduate, graduate and law students), manages the administrative information systems for the Division of Enrollment Management/Student Affairs, and directs student (part-time) employment services as well as the Department of University Career Services. For most of his professional career, Seamus has worked in higher education administration, including admissions, financial aid, career services, student employment, student affairs and residential life. As a higher education professional, he has been employed by or consulted at over 15 colleges and universities. He has served on various national and state association committees, with a particular focus on higher education public policy and financial aid reform. Seamus holds a bachelor's degree in history from Gordon College, a master's of education from Harvard University and a master's in business administration from Northeastern University.

Victor A. Nunez Ortiz is an Outreach Coordinator for the Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE) Program of the Department of Veterans’ Services. He was born in San Salvador and raised in South Framingham, Massachusetts. After graduating from high school in 2000, he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to study hospitality administration. In 2001, Victor enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Victor served five years as a combat engineer with his original enlistment and served seven months in theater due to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Since returning from Iraq, Victor has re-enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to continue his studies on a part-time basis and has worked as the manager of several restaurants in western Massachusetts, while also coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. During his transition to civilian life, Victor has also become involved with the SAVE Program, using his own experience as a returning veteran with PTSD to perform outreach in Worcester and Franklin counties. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Victor plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work and continue his work supporting the veteran community.

Elizabeth O’Herrin is an Assistant Director with the American Council on Education (ACE), coordinating ACE’s veterans education initiative, Serving Those Who Serve: Higher Education and America’s Veterans. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While attending college, she served as president of the University of Wisconsin student veterans organization and resource center, Vets for Vets, acting as a liaison between the university administration, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, and student veterans on campus. From 2001 to 2008, Elizabeth served as a Staff Sergeant with the Wisconsin Air National Guard as a munitions systems technician: assembling, transporting, inspecting, and fusing explosives and weapons systems. She has deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through her own experiences and the countless veterans she has come into contact with, Elizabeth has become well acquainted with the challenges of transitioning to higher education from military service. She also co-founded Student Veterans of America, a national non-profit association comprised of over 200 student veterans organizations on campuses across the country.

John Powers graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in psychology and is currently enrolled in a Master’s Program at Rhode Island College. In 2005, after seeing a close childhood friend struggle to fit back into civilian society after a deployment to Afghanistan, his journey as a civilian veteran’s advocate began. During his last year at the University of Rhode Island, Powers founded Operation Vets, an organization created to serve as a support network for veterans in New England transitioning into higher education. Powers work with Operation Vets led him to co-found and serve as the executive director of Student Veterans of America, a national coalition of student veteran organizations from college campuses across the country. From his base in Rhode Island, John currently serves as an independent consultant working with higher education institutions to improve services and programs for veterans.

 

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