• Marit Solem

    New SCO Training

    Sharon Seidl

    Advanced SCO Training, Education Benefits w/ Yellow Ribbon 

    Chelsea Jackson

    Certification Process for NCDs

    Shay Norton-Leonard

    Enrollment Manager

    Heather Cates

    Flight at Institution of Higher Learning

    Malanienne Davis

    Compliance Surveys

    Courtney White

    VA Work Study Program

  • Joseph Wescott NASAA State Approving Agency Updates
    Julie Lawrence DMC Debt Management Center
    Nick Pamperin VR&E Veteran Readiness & Employment Program
    Geoff Line Tungsten Tungsten Network
    Donald Sutton National Guard National Guard Education Programs
    Shannon George Muskogee RPO Muskogee Regional Processing Office Updates
    Joseph Garcia VACO VA Central Office and Federal Updates
    Jared Lyons SVA Student Veterans of America Updates
    Aliki Escoe Muskogee RPO Education Benefits Overview
    Tammy Bartlet SVA Who is Student Veterans of America
  • Chai Cook University of Nevada, Reno Cultivating a Military Engaged Campus Community 
    Joey Gamez National University Non-traditional focused Institutions
    Maryshay Stearns Ray Auburn University Professional Flight (IHL) Talking Points
    Melissa Barber University of Nevada, Las Vegas “Leveraging Hybrid Teams in the Modern Certification Environment”  (Cookie Conversations)
    Samuel Lee Norco College California MAP Initiative: Maximizing College Credit for Veterans and adult learners at 80 California Community Colleges and Beyond

Aliki S. Escoe


Aliki Escoe started with the Department of Veterans Affairs (Muskogee, Oklahoma) in 1993. For 3 years, she worked in several departments, to include Loan Guaranty, Human Resources, and Compensation and Pension.

In 1996, she transitioned to the Education Department and worked as a Veterans Claims Examiner for 6 years, as Senior Veterans Claims Examiner 6 years, until she assumed the position of Training Coordinator/ Supervisor in 2008.

In her current position, she is one of two Coaches who oversee quality and training for education processors.

Chelsea Jackson


Hello, my name is Chelsea Jackson. I am currently blessed to hold the position of Training Specialist with the National Training Team-Schools at VBA in Education Services. I started my career with the VBA in 2009 as a Veterans Claims Examiner in my hometown of Muskogee, OK. Since then, I have worked in all areas of Education and finally landing my dream job with the VACO National Training Team in March of 2021.

I have a passion for training, a high regard for Veterans and I believe learning should be fun! Prior to starting my career at the VBA, I earned a degree in Elementary Education from Northeastern State University. I am a wife of an Army Veteran (82nd Airborne Division) and a mother of six children. I enjoy playing and coaching basketball, as well as, watching all things sports when life and time permit.

Courtney White


Courtney White works for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Supervisory Veterans Claims Examiner. Courtney oversees the Work Study program at the Muskogee Regional Processing Office. She has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2009, where she began her career as a Veterans Claims Examiner during the Post-9/11 GI Bill deployment. She has worked on many special project teams, including the processing of specialized detail claims; as well as, being a member of the Muskogee Outreach Team in the Education Division.

Jared Lyon

National President & CEO


Jared Lyon was appointed National President & CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA) in 2016. He leads the organization’s efforts to empower student veterans using the transformative power of higher education. Since he took office, Lyon has overseen SVA’s growth to a network of more than 1,500 chapters on campuses in all 50 states and three countries representing over 750,000 student veterans.

During his tenure, he co-authored the National Veteran Education Success Tracker (NVEST), a comprehensive study of the first 854,000 student veterans to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In 2017 Lyon led SVA’s commitment to pass the “Forever GI Bill,” the largest expansion of college aid for military veterans in a decade with an economic impact of $3.4 Billion. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served as a submariner and diver, taking part in multiple deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

Prior to joining the headquarters team at SVA, Lyon previously served as the National Program Manager for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans and as Manager of Florida Operations for the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team. Lyon is a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran’s Advisory Committee on Education, and a commissioner for the American Council on Education’s Commission for Education Attainment. He also serves on the advisory boards for the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation and the Florida State University Veteran Advisory Board and is a 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholar.

He holds an Associate of Arts from Eastern Florida State College, a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University, and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he is currently pursuing his PhD in Social Science. In 2011, SVA named Lyon the National Student Veteran of the Year. Jared and his wife Chayla reside in Alexandria, Virginia with their son, Campbell.

Joseph Garcia

Executive Director, Education Service
Veteran Benefits Administration


Joseph Garcia serves as Executive Director of Education Service (EDU) within the Veterans Benefits Administration. In his role, he leads more than 1,500 EDU employees in the delivery of education and training benefits and services for Veterans and their families including one of VA’s most frequently used benefits, the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In FY 2022 alone, VA dispersed nearly $10B in benefits to more than 834,000 Veterans, Service members and their families. Mr. Garcia directs and supports operational and program management activities resulting in the implementation of statutory requirements. He also provides oversight and accountability to executive and functional team activities.

He previously served in the higher education sector as a Vice President at William Jewell College in Missouri, Empire State College in New York, and The Citadel: Military College of South Carolina. He served in Senior Executive Service (SES) positions at Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/FEMA and at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Food Safety Inspection Service. He also worked in the private and nonprofit sectors in Washington, DC. Garcia spent 28 years in the Air Force, including tours at the Pentagon, Air Force Academy, Germany and South Korea, and a Middle East deployment. He taught leadership courses at the Air Force Academy and The Citadel and has authored four leadership books. Among his awards are Male Boss of the Year from the Federal Woman’s Program, CFO of the Year from the Kansas City Business Journal, and a superior mission achievement award from DHS.

Mr. Garcia holds an Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

Malanienne Davis


Malanienne Davis is a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran, serving 6yrs active duty and 2yrs reserve. While in the military, she was stationed at various units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and currently resides in the city of Oakland. She has used both the Montgomery GI BILL and the Post 9/11 GI BILL while obtaining her Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. After being discharged from the military, she worked for the U.S. Coast Guard as a Quality Assurance Inspector and then took a position with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in 2012 as an Education Compliance Survey Specialist. As of June 2022, she has joined the National Training Team-Compliance as a Training Specialist.

Marit Solem


Marit started her VA career at the Clement J Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Intern. She was hired on shortly after working for the Compensated Work Therapy Program. In 2014, she transferred over to VBA working as an Employment Coordinator for VRE in Milwaukee. In 2016 she moved to Minnesota to be closer to family. She worked as a Vocational Rehab Counselor at an out based office in Blaine, MN for Vocational Readiness and Employment. In 2019, she started working for Education Service as and Education Liaison Representative and covered the great state of Wisconsin. She is currently detailed as a Training Specialist for National Training Team – Schools. Marit has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Wisconsin Stout.

She has moved around a lot and have lived in North Dakota, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. She currently lives just outside of Minneapolis, MN. She is married to Arlen and they have three kids. They also have 2 Wirehaired Pointing Griffons named Ragnar and Ingeborg.

When she is not working you can find her travelling, spending time with my family, or working out. She plays roller derby, bikes, and supports all of her children’s hobbies and interests.

Sharon Seidl


Sharon Seidl was selected to join the National Training Team – Schools Team in June 2022 as a Training Specialist. In this role, she is responsible for developing training materials for the Digital GI Bill’s Enrollment Manager and and the upcoming SCO Onboarding Preparation (SCOOP) slated to go live this Fall.

Sharon is a former Quality Training Specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) where she was previously assigned to the St Louis Region. During tenure with the Department of Veteran Affairs, she has worked in the Education Services field as an Education Liaison Representative (ELR) and Education Compliance Survey Specialist (ECSS).

Prior to coming on board with the federal government, spent several years working in the State school sector as a School Certifying Official for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the Credit Coordinator & Test Center Administrator for Minot State University/Minot State University-Minot Air Force Base.

She holds a Master of Science degree in Management.

Outside of work at the VA, she enjoys traveling and adventures with her family and gives back to her community as a hospice volunteer, and supporting Halos of the St. Croix Valley & Feed My Starving Children.

Shannon George


Shannon George began her career with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in 2009 with rollout of the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) as a Veterans Claims Examiner (VCE). Since then, she has served in several capacities in the Education Division to include Senior VCE, Educations Quality & Training Specialist, Supervisory VCE, and various details and work groups within Education Service. In 2020, she was promoted to her current position of Assistant Education Officer for the Muskogee Regional Office.

Prior to joining VBA, she spent a decade in public relations, marketing and advertising in the financial arena at one of the largest regional banks in Oklahoma serving as the Marketing and Public Relations Regional Vice President before leaving the private sector.

In her free time, she enjoys playing music, working out, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Aaron, have three daughters, Kyle, Kory and Kody.

Since joining the VA, she has an even greater respect for the men and women that serve our country and will continue to work hard on their behalf.

Tammy Barlet

Vice President of Government Affairs


Tammy Barlet is Vice President of Government Affairs for Student Veterans of America.

She served eight years in the United States Coast Guard as an Operation Specialist Third Class Petty Officer. In 1998, she patrolled the Persian Gulf on the USCGC Chase (WHEC-718) for Military Interdiction Operations (MIO). During this patrol, USCGC Chase diverted four vessels in violation of United Nations Sanctions against Iraq, interdicted 1,527,740 gallons of fuel oil, and conducted eighty-six gunnery exercises. Her last duty station was the Vessel Traffic Service Houston/Galveston. She was awarded the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for de-escalating an incident that could quickly have become a Homeland Security Threat.

After returning home to Pennsylvania, Tammy was certified as a sterile compounding pharmacy technician and worked in the Lehigh Valley area for ten years.

Tammy holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s in public health from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. While pursuing her studies, Ms. Barlet fulfilled her MPH practicum requirements at Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society as a State Policy Intern and The Mission Continues fellowship as a Policy Associate at Student Veterans of America. She received the Distinguished Undergraduate Internship Award from the College of Public Health at Temple University for her work during her internship in Alaska. In 2021, Tammy was awarded Temple University’s Public Health Alumni award for her advocacy work to ensure veterans receive timely, high-quality health care.

As a 2019 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellow, Ms. Barlet’s proposal revolved around oral health as preventative care for the veteran population. The VFW used her research as a part of the written testimony for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health legislative hearing later that year.

Tammy’s knowledge and expertise in public health and VA led her to testify before the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on mental health, preventative care, reproductive health, women veterans, and extended care services.

Tammy resides in Maryland and enjoys quilting, kayaking, hiking, biking, and geocaching.

Get in Touch

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


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