Veterans Program

NLU offers support for military as they transition to an educational setting.

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Veterans Program Team

University Staff


Advisory Council Members




University Staff

uploaded 12.6.12         Stephen K. Curda, Ph.D.
Special Assistant to the President for Veterans Education
Phone: (312) 261-3126

 ‌‌‌‌‌‌11/26/2013         Paul M. Knudtson
Director of Armed Services Relations
Phone: (312) 261-3262
Advisor bio        
David SanFilippo, Ph.D.
Faculty Advisor for Student Veterans of America, NLU Chapter
Phone: (407) 673-3773
‌‌Pauline DeGrazia
‌Student Success Advisor
‌Phone: (847) 947-5861
Christopher Heftka
School Certifying Official (Veterans' Finance)
Phone: (847) 947-5861


Advisory Council Members

Mike Chandler

Mike Chandler serves as the Director of Security Policy and Planning for the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. In this position, Mike utilizes his 20-plus years of law enforcement and security-related experience to provide security and emergency preparedness support to the Senate community. Before this, he served as a Program Manager with MSM Security Services, overseeing the daily operation of a U.S. State Department contract. This followed a distinguished career in the Marine Corps, where Mike retired in 2001 as a Military Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In addition to his Bachelor of Science in Management from NLU, Mike is a graduate of the Department of Defense anti-terrorism instructor qualification course, the U.S. Army criminal investigations course, the Prince William County (VA) basic law enforcement officer course, and numerous other law enforcement and security-related classes.

Jimm Dodd

Jimm Dodd is Vice President of Veteran and Business Services for National Able Network, which helps veterans transfer their skills into the civilian workforce. He also serves as Commander for the National Guard 710th Area Support Medical Company, located in Chicago. Previously he was Project Manager with the U.S. Army CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, where he implemented a logistical support system for ensuring equipment availability and developed training programs to meet compliance with national and federal requirements. He also served as an Army medical officer during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, developing standing protocols for emergency treatment of soldiers for the Afghan National Army and a training plan to ensure medical personnel were mission ready.

JoAnn Fisher

JoAnn Fisher is Chair of the Women Veterans Committee for Disabled American Veterans at the state level in Maryland. She does a great deal of work organizing events and opportunities for women veterans to obtain information on jobs and filing claims to receive benefits, as well as quality assistance for improving their lives. JoAnn's goal is to reach out to even more and get them to join the many veterans service organizations in Maryland, where presently there are 49,000 women veterans with more returning from overseas because of military downsizing. She holds a B.A. in Applied Behavioral Science and an M.S. in Management from NLU and is currently a doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University.

Emily Garrity

Emily Garrity is the Co-founder & President of, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transitioning today’s military to tomorrow’s workforce by connecting U.S. military service members and veterans to private sector job opportunities. She has been instrumental in the establishment and expansion of a highly specialized Veterans Employment Transition for Success (VETS) online curriculum and the soon-to-be launched employer partner portal. She is also a member of both the employment and training and education working groups with the Illinois Joining Forces initiative, as well as a member of the Small Business Advocacy Council’s (SBAC) Veterans Committee. A graduate of Arizona State University, Emily is a Marine mom, Army wife, Army daughter, Army sister and Army niece.

Steven Goodwin

Steve Goodwin is Vice President and Senior Portfolio Management Director at Morgan Stanley in Chicago. He currently serves as Chairman for the NLU Veterans Program Advisory Committee, as well as Treasurer of the 17th Infantry Regiment Association, Chairman of the General Quinn Scholarship Fund and mentor for American Corporate Partners. He is also a member of American Legion Post 758, sitting on their financial advisory committee, and is recognized as a Distinguished Member of the U.S. Army 17th Infantry Regiment, having served with the unit in the '80s. During his military service Steve was both assistant and team leader of a scout sniper team assigned to HHC 4th Battalion 17th Infantry Regiment. Steve attended Santa Rosa Junior College and the University of Oregon and is an active member of the Union League Club of Chicago and their military affairs council.

George Hollingsworth

George Hollingsworth enjoyed a successful 39-year career in medical sales with Becton Dickinson and Company, working with hospitals and clinics in the Midwest. Prior to that, he served four years with the Army, which included one tour of duty in Vietnam, and attained the rank of Captain. George holds a B.S. in Food Administration from Tuskegee University and an M.S. in Human Resource Management and Development from NLU.

Michele Jones

Michele S. Jones is a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving as the principle representative of the enlisted ranks and adviser to the chief of the Army Reserve while initiating solutions to enlisted personnel resource problems. She was the first woman in the U.S. Army Reserve to attain her current rank and was at one time the highest-ranking African-American female enlisted person in any branch of the military, as well as the highest-ranking enlisted African-American in the Army Reserve. Michele served state side on active duty assignments during the Kosovo War as well as during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and in the Global War on Terrorism.


Kristina Kaufmann

Kristy Kaufmann is the Executive Director of the Code of Support Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between civilian and military America. She is recognized as an expert on military and veteran family support and has been interviewed by numerous national news outlets and written op-ed pieces for The New York Times and The Washington Post. Kristy has also addressed Congress about the impact of war on the mental health of military families, including suicides among military wives, and has participated as a speaker and panelist at numerous conferences and events. In collaboration with a wide range of organizations, she works to raise awareness, break down organizational bottlenecks, and drive the necessary changes needed to improve the support of service members, veterans and their families. Kristy is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Allen Lynch

Allen Lynch received the Medal of Honor in 1970 for his bravery in rescuing and protecting three of his wounded comrades during a firefight near My An in South Vietnam. This recognition of his bravery and selflessness on that day was the catalyst for a life of service to others. Allen has spent his time since aiding his fellow veterans with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. In Vietnam he served in the U.S. Army with Company D, 1st Battalion of the 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). He later served with the U.S. Army Reserve and the Illinois National Guard until reaching mandatory retirement.

Jim Mukoyama        

Jim Mukoyama, a retired U.S. Army Major General, leads Military Outreach Greater Chicago (MOGC). In his travels across the country, he became aware of the need to assist military families in receiving the aid and benefits they had earned. Jim believed community churches could play a key role in this, which lead him to found MOGC. In his military career, he served five years on active duty, including two combat tours in Asia, and returned to Chicago where he joined the Army Reserve. Jim continued to serve 25 years in this capacity, including being mobilized for Operation Desert Storm One, commanding an Army division and training the Army’s infantry recruits. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois.

Virginia Narsete

Ginny Narsete works for the Environmental Protection Agency as a public affairs officer and assists in strategic exercise planning and disaster response. In addition, she is on the board at the Pritzker Military Library, Daughters of the American Revolution and consistently volunteers in veterans programs. She has also served as subcommittee chair of the Books for Troops program at the Union League Club of Chicago. Ginny is a 30-year retired Air Force Master Sergeant, having served in public affairs during the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, earning multiple citations. Her last deployment was during Operation Enduring Freedom, where she was assigned to the crisis action team. Ginny holds a B.A. in Communications from Columbia College and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management.

Carol O'Meara
Edward Rodriguez

Ed Rodriguez has had a long legal career, including work with McGuireWoods LLP and in his own law practice concentrating on business matters for nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations. He's also served as general counsel for a McLean, VA, technology company. Ed served four years on active duty as an Air Force judge advocate, including a year in Vietnam. While on active duty, he successfully prosecuted an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent for espionage. Ed remained in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a Brigadier General after 25 years of service. He is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin.

Nick Tu‌rner
Marsha Watson

Dr. Marsha Watson is Vice Provost of Institutional Research and Accreditation at NLU. She has published and presented widely on assessment of learning in higher education and is Co-Founder and President of the board of directors of the Association for Assessment of Learning in Higher Education. Over the years, Marsha has also assisted the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in numerous roles, including peer reviewer, AQIP facilitator, assessment mentor, and as mentor and admissions panel member for the HLC’s Academy for Assessment of Student Learning. She is a Vietnam-era U.S. Navy veteran and earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an M.A. in English and B.S. in Mathematics Education at Northern Illinois University after her Navy service.

Advisory Board Members Not Photographed:
Bob Banas
Kevin Cajas
Jan Donatelli
Paul McConville
Jay ‘Tyke’ Nollman

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
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