The tragic events that marked Sept. 11, 2001, ignited a passion in Tyler La Roue to protect and defend the freedoms of the United States of America. Out of that passion came eight years of dedicated service in the Air Force, including six years in the inactive reserves and two years in active duty. After his service, he turned his attention toward his future. As he now pursues a college degree, he counts it a privilege to allow his country to support his education in part through the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).
Discovering tools to succeed
Being outside of an educational environment for many years, La Roue knew academic success would require him to adjust to the college culture. His uncle Charles, also a veteran, told him about the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program at MCTC—a program from which he had benefited a generation prior. It was through VUB that La Roue found the support he needed to succeed in his educational goals.
VUB is a full-service, federally funded TRiO program designed to prepare veterans for college by offering free college prep courses in writing, reading, math, science, computer literacy, Spanish and study skills.
Through the program, La Roue had the opportunity to enhance his skills in a variety of academic areas that prepared him for success in liberal arts at MCTC. “Sharpening my skills helped me know when I started taking classes at the College, I would be able to ace them,” La Roue said.
Thriving through connections
La Roue discovered more than academic support through VUB. He found a place where he could connect and be understood—a place that served as an extension of the companionship he had encountered in the Armed Forces.
“My favorite part of the VUB experience is the camaraderie between veterans,” said La Roue. “It is the same kind of brotherhood/sisterhood we found as active duty service men and women. I also experienced great comradeship between the veterans and our fearless VUB leaders.”
In addition to providing academic guidance, VUB program leaders dedicate their time and energy to providing veterans with career, personal and financial aid counseling.
“VUB has a wonderful staff who give their all to make sure student veterans become successful in all aspects of college life—and life in general,” La Roue said. “The program leaders have a wealth of knowledge pertaining to life, veterans, colleges and the G.I. Bill. This type of information isn’t always readily available at many colleges.”
After finishing his studies at MCTC, La Roue plans on transferring to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in business management. He will be one of the first in his family to complete a college education.
“The greatest thing I will take away from this program and carry into my future is simple,” La Roue said. “When the terrorists knocked down the twin towers, my country allowed me to serve and contribute to the betterment of this nation. When I finished my service and decided to go back to college, I allowed my country to support my education. They have given me more than I could have asked, and VUB is part of that.”