Current Candidates For

2024-2026 Elections

Jason Garcia

WAVES 1st Vice President
Jason Garcia is Running for WAVES Board President

Jason Garcia is a U.S. Army retiree and has worked in Military/Veteran education services since 2016.  Jason’s professional experience includes Military Education Advisor, VA Education Compliance Survey Specialist, VA Education Liaison Representative, and VA compliance manager for a Non-College Degree School.  His current role is Associate Director of School Certifying Officials at National University. He served as WAVES First Vice-President from 2022-2024.  Jason’s passion is helping Veterans achieve their educational goals; guiding students to enhance their quality of life through higher education and training.  He strongly believes in the idea that education is the great equalizer, and strives to be a positive example – Jason proudly holds a certificate in Human Resource Management, Bachelor’s in Management, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Herzing University.  He is currently a Doctoral Student, attending Columbia International University, pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

Darcy Schnuth

Darcy Schnuth is running for WAVES Board 1st Vice President

Darcy Schnuth currently serves as the Vice President of Student Finance and Records Management at International Education Corporation.
She has 20 years of experience in higher education, starting her career in admissions at an international, multi-site education provider where she eventually worked her way to Regional Director of Finance, overseeing 17 locations.

Darcy earned an Associate Degree in Specialized Business – Accounting, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Finance, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Kaplan University.

Darcy would appreciate your vote for her position as 1st Vice President of WAVES.

Veronica Griego

IHL Member at Large
Veronica Griego is Running for WAVES Board 2nd Vice President

Veronica Griego is the Senior Coordinator of Student Success at the Office of Veterans Affairs. Within Alamo College District, at St. Philip’s College. Ms. Griego has over twenty-five years of experience in education, seventeen of which have been in higher education and assisting student veterans. Her passion for advocating for veterans is why she serves on several student/veteran committees in her academic life and community.

Her father was a Vietnam Veteran with the 82nd Airborne, 43rd Company. Veronica, an “Army Brat,” was born in North Carolina and moved to New Mexico at the age of three. After her grown Kids moved to Texas, this led her to her other passion, being a Grandma “Gaga.” 

She combined her two forces, showing her Grandkids the power of helping others and assisting her in veteran celebrations and events within the college and community. Veronica’s favorite quote “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Ian MacLaren. 

Veronica is pursuing her degree in Psychology, where she plans on working with veterans with mental illness and traumatic brain injury.   

Veronica would appreciate your vote for her as 2nd Vice President.

Renee Montilliano

Renee Montilliano is running for the WAVES position of 2nd Vice President

Hello, my name is Renee Montilliano, I have worked in higher EDU at Golden Gate University in San Francisco CA for the last 8 years and as an SCO for 5 years. I am service connected, my father served in the Navy and my husband in the Army.

My husband and I have 3 amazing kids, son is 23 in 3 days, an almost 12-year-old daughter and our youngest a 10-year-old daughter. We also have 3 dogs that pretty much run the house.

We live in Northern California and enjoy the weather. I love planning parties and have many to keep family and friends nearby. I enjoy DIY projects, however my husband not so much.  

Robert Kowal

Robert Kowal is running for the WAVES position of 2nd Vice President

Robert Kowal (KO-wahl) proudly serves as Assistant Director of Veterans Affairs at the University of Tulsa, where he spearheads innovative programming tailored to meet the unique needs of every veteran and military-connected student. He oversees the Calvin C. McKee Veterans Resource Center, a dedicated space on campus for Student veterans, and advises the Student Veteran Association (SVA), Oklahoma’s most active SVA Chapter. As a School Certifying Official (SCO), Robert meticulously navigates the complexities of Veterans education benefits, providing crucial support to those leveraging these resources. His impact extends beyond campus as he forges partnerships with veterans’ organizations and military-friendly employers, creating pathways to meaningful careers for student veterans.

With 17 years of his 22-year military career spent at Army Recruiting Command, Robert brings extensive understanding of veterans’ benefits and the unique challenges faced by current service members and Veterans. His strategic insights into recruitment and retention strategies drive his advocacy for student retention, offering practical advice and fostering skills that empower Veterans to thrive academically and professionally. Currently pursuing a PhD in Strategic Media, Robert holds a Master of Science in Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, demonstrating his dedication to lifelong learning and higher education as a first-generation college graduate.

Now, Robert aims to expand his impact as 2nd Vice President of the Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists. In this capacity, he seeks to advocate for student veterans and military-connected students pursuing higher education. Robert is dedicated to ensuring that professionals and veteran advocates in higher education have access to quality resources, training, and community support, thereby enhancing their ability to support those who have made significant sacrifices for our nation.

Firdaus Yusuf

NCD Member at Large
Firdaus Yusuf is running for the WAVES position of Secretary

Firdaus Yusuf is a Senior Education Partnership Specialist at International Education Corporation. With over five years of experience as a School Certifying Official, she has a wealth of expertise to share. 

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from University of California, Berkeley. When she is not helping students, Firdaus enjoys exploring new places, learning new languages, listening to music, and solving puzzles.

Firdaus is asking for your vote for the WAVES position of Secretary.

Tamara Jadallah

Tamara Jadallah is running for the WAVES Treasurer

My name is Tamara Jadallah, I’m currently an Associate Director at National University of School Certifying Officials that specialize in VR&E and Tuition assistance. Prior to this position, I worked in the Student Business Services Department at National University that prioritized in everything student accounts related. Such as collections, account audits, payments, and knowing how to review ledgers. I also worked at a bank for five years prior to coming to National University. I completed my Bachelor’s in Psychology and then went on to complete my Masters In Business. I am very numbers oriented, and I enjoy when numbers specially on a ledger matchup.  

Renee Montilliano

Renee Montilliano is running for the WAVES Position of Member at Large (NCD)

Hello, my name is Renee Montilliano, I have worked in higher EDU at Golden Gate University in San Francisco CA for the last 8 years and as an SCO for 5 years. I am service connected, my father served in the Navy and my husband in the Army.

My husband and I have 3 amazing kids, son is 23 in 3 days, an almost 12-year-old daughter and our youngest a 10-year-old daughter. We also have 3 dogs that pretty much run the house.

We live in Northern California and enjoy the weather. I love planning parties and have many to keep family and friends nearby. I enjoy DIY projects, however my husband not so much.  

Ariel Williams, MA | MVEB Manager, VA SCO

Student Services Center, Azusa Pacific University
Ariel Williams is running for the WAVES Position of Member at Large (IHL)

Inspired by my father who graduated from West Point, I set my sights on a military career after graduating high school on Oahu, Hawaii. After admission into the United States Air Force Academy, I soon realized the military life wasn’t meant for me. Although my time at USAFA was short-lived, I appreciate the strong relationships I formed with my classmates and the deeper appreciation I gained for the sacrifices made by those who serve.

My path eventually led to Azusa Pacific University, where I dedicated time to learning about and helping administrate veterans’ education benefits. I began as a graduate work-study student, then became a VA School Certifying Official. I am now in my current role as Manager of Military and Veteran Education Benefits. Over the past six years, I’ve learned much of the needs of veterans and their families, ensuring they receive accurate information and the full support of their VA education benefits. My work is grounded in a deep respect for students’ goals and a genuine desire to enhance their quality of life.

Shauna Best

Shauna Best Running for WAVES Board Member-at-Large (IHL)

My name is Shauna Best, I have been a school certifying official at Laramie County Community College since 2017. I just finished my BA –psychology at SNHU online in April 2024. I have a service dog named Louie he is a royal standard poodle. My favorite thing at work is decorating for holidays, any holiday, and I make my supervisor kind of crazy doing it.

I am a recovered army brat, thought still a brat Sometimes (j/k). I love helping the veterans/dependence and family members at school. They have the most interesting perspectives on life. I began spearheading a plan to increase our veterans/benefitted Students’ engagement levels on campus. It is not a quick process.

My final paper in my senior semester class was to design a research project on how veterans prefer to engage and what benefits exist in engagement. The courses is a short-term course eight weeks, so we had to generate artificial data, but I am thinking of working with our student service office to implement the research. I work in student accounts receivables, and I’m running for member at large for the WAVES organization, I would appreciate your vote for Member-at-Large (IHL).

Renee Montilliano

Renee Montilliano is running for the WAVES position of Member At Large (IHL)

Hello, my name is Renee Montilliano, I have worked in higher EDU at Golden Gate University in San Francisco CA for the last 8 years and as an SCO for 5 years. I am service connected, my father served in the Navy and my husband in the Army.

My husband and I have 3 amazing kids, son is 23 in 3 days, an almost 12-year-old daughter and our youngest a 10-year-old daughter. We also have 3 dogs that pretty much run the house.

We live in Northern California and enjoy the weather. I love planning parties and have many to keep family and friends nearby. I enjoy DIY projects, however my husband not so much.  

Get in Touch

Chris Henthorn
WAVES President
Veteran, Residency & Registration Advisor
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064

831-459-2910
chenthor@ucsc.edu

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