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Veteran Highlights

Lesa Bolts-Krick

Lesa Bolts-Krick, Veterans Upward Bound alum

Lesa Bolts-Krick

In 2015, Lesa Bolts-Krick moved to Boise to take advantage of the many educational opportunities offered by Boise State University.  She was extremely nervous and uncertain about returning to college after an 18-year break. According to Lesa, “The best thing that happened was when my advisor sent me over to Veterans Upward Bound. I found a family in VUB!” Through Veterans Upward Bound, Lisa enrolled in classes designed to remediate her basic skills, learned about scholarships, and was able to network and develop friendships with other veterans and VUB staff.

Lesa, a non-traditional student veteran, completed a 24-year career in the U. S. Navy, joining shortly after high school graduation.  She was one of the 1% assigned to a ship, a new option for females in the 1980’s. She completed tours in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, North        Atlantic, and Gitmo all in just four years! She decided to complete the rest of her service as a reservist, working 20 years in a cargo handling battalion which included one mobilization in 2007  during Iraqi Freedom.

Currently, Lesa is completing a Bachelor of Applied Science with a minor in gerontology. She is working at St. Luke’s as a physical therapist assistant and plans to continue her training towards a doctorate in physical therapy, specializing in aging and wellness.

George Nickel: December 2013

George Nickel, Veterans Upward Bound Alum

George Nickel

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, George began his military career in 1989 on active duty in the U.S. Army, where he was deployed in Saudi Arabia and Oman in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He has also served in the Idaho Air National Guard and in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Due to wounds received in Iraq, George sought a new career in life and began studies with Veterans Upward Bound at Boise State University in 2010 to prepare him to enter college.  “Non-traditional students, especially ones who haven’t been in a classroom in over 20 years, aren’t told that all of that stuff that you learned in high school is perishable. Veterans Upward Bound not only helped me bring those dormant skills back to life but also brought them to a point that I could survive a college-level algebra class. Even now, when I am talking to the more seasoned veterans getting ready to go back to school, I always point them to the Veterans Upward Bound building first.”

After successfully completing college prep material, George enrolled at Boise State University in 2011.  He later received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in December 2013.  Currently, he is enrolled in a master’s degree program in social work at Northwest Nazarene University and is the Director of Student and Veteran Affairs for the Wyakin Warrior Foundation.

Steven Wolfe: January 2012

Steven is another VUB student who took advantage of the math refresher classes. He worked his way through both sections of Math 100 and then continued into upper level math. He doubled his study time and finished his last math class right before the holiday break so he could take the Compass and enroll in a required math class for college. “I not only skipped the Math 25 minimum, I was able to more than double my Compass algebra score and get into Math 124 which is required to graduate with a Culinary Arts degree from CWI.”

Steven joined the Air Force in 1993 as an aircraft weapons mechanic and loader. While on active duty, he was stationed at multiple bases including Kunsan AFB in the Republic of Korea. He also visited multiple countries including Germany, Iceland, Canada, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

After getting out of the military, Steven returned home to Boise, Idaho. Here he has a wonderful girlfriend of two years and three amazing children, ages four to fifteen. “I want to thank everyone at VUB for being there for me and all of us other vets out there returning to school.”

Paul Nichols: January 2012

Paul Nichols just retired from the Idaho Air National Guard in 2011 after enlisting for 21 years where he worked with jets. “I have travelled to Norway, Saudi Arabia, twice to Turkey, and three times to Kuwait.”

Soon after his retirement, he made his way over to Veterans Upward Bound to start the enrollment process at Boise State University. “My goal is to earn a Bachelors of Arts in Art Education.” Throughout his time in the program, Paul has brought in samples and pictures of his amazing talents.

Paul took advantage of the math and writing classes at VUB. He completed Math 225 and after taking the Compass test, Paul was able to enroll in Math 124 or 130, both fulfilling a math requirement for his degree. His writing class also allowed him to be ready for the papers required in the history and communication classes he was enrolled in during his freshman semester at BSU. “VUB has helped me greatly by providing guidance in navigating a clear path back to school. They have assessed my academic needs and provided counseling and tutoring to give me a confident head start.”

Paul also volunteers as a mentor and a “lunch buddy” at his wife’s elementary school. He loves to play golf, ping-pong, and paint pictures, all of which he says would be impossible without the support of his family.

Tobiah Mogavero: October 2011

Toby Mogavero is originally from Buffalo New York but decided to come to Boise, Idaho to attend Boise State University. He first located to Ketchum, Idaho and then moved to Boise in May 2011 to start school during the summer 2011. He is studying Environmental Studies and “would like to have a positive influence in the world.”

He spent four years in the Army and traveled as much as he could during that time. Toby jokes, “I really learned how to crawl through the mud during basic.” Some of Toby’s hobbies include rock climbing, yoga, eating, speaking spanish, drinking wine, and doing tai chi in Ann Morrison Park.

When asked about his experience in VUB, he was very enthusiastic. “This program is absolutely amazing in that everyone gave me a warm welcome, and was more than patient in explaining the flow of academia. Linda has been super inspirational! I really recommend more college bounds ask for her help.” Thanks Toby!

Marie Romine: October 2011

Marie Romine, Veteran's Upward Bound Alum

Marie Romine

Marie Romine started school this fall at BSU. Originally from northern New Jersey, she has lived a life of ten women her age. She first embarked on her military career in the Air Force, and then later joined the Marine Corps. Between the two, she held many jobs including being an aerospace ground equipment mechanic, an electrician, and worked with financial data reporting. After years of traveling the world, she finally settled in our Treasure Valley in the fall of 2010 and joined the VUB program in November 2010.

Her presence in the VUB program is a perfect example of what many veterans experience. She attended writing, math, and computer classes. Marie also received help with her admissions application and finally selected classes. Her optimism is catching, and she loves talking about her classes and what she is learning.

Marie’s major is Radiology, but this semester, she is just starting with English 101 and Introduction to Jazz. Marie, although excited, says, “It was hard returning to school after a decade,” and now her days are full of doing homework and reading. When she isn’t studying, she loves to sleep, something that seems to show that her transition to being a “college student” is happening faster than she realizes. Marie was very glad she had the chance to take refresher classes in math here at VUB. She says, “It was my personal hurdle to overcome, and without VUB, I would be in big trouble.”

David Flores: July 2011

David Flores, a 22 year-old former cavalry scout in the Army, joined Veterans Upward Bound in January, 2011. Since he is no longer conducting reconnaissance missions, David spends his time divided between riding his motorcycle, eating carne asada fries, and watching action movies. The Hangover 2 is his current favorite.

In his math classes, David has stuck out among his peers both for his academic persistence and his own quiet charm. When Linda (our math instructor) was asked what it is that makes David so unique, she beamed and said, “David is genuine, motivated, excited and scared. This brings out the best in him. He’s facing challenges that everyone should face by going back to school. He weighs the possibilities, and whatever he chooses to do, I know he will excel at it.”

After he graduates from our program in August, David plans to attend both CWI and Boise State, working towards a degree in computer engineering. Ultimately, he would like to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration. His advice for veterans? “Don’t drink and drive,” and “take advantage of all the benefits you have now, rather than later.”

Kendall Giambo: July 2011

Kendall Giambo, our bowler extraordinaire, began taking math and writing classes with us in April 2011. Since then, we have come to know him as a man who has lived much more than his twenty-six years would impress.

Kendall was born and raised in Weiser, ID, and since he was in high school, has worked full time and supported himself financially. At seventeen, he joined the fire department, and at not long after he joined both the police force and the military.

Now that he is back from Iraq, Kendall spends his time bowling competitively (he owns not one but three balls) and cruising at 45mph down dirt roads on his four-wheeler with his wife.
In class, Kendall has really come into his own. When he first started our program, he was quiet and unsure of things. Now, after twelve weeks, Kendall not only tells stories about his tattoos,
but is a member of the only math class to ever ask Linda for extra homework.

Because he has done so much, Kendall is keeping his eyes and his opportunities open. This fall, he plans to attend Boise State where he may study either criminal justice, history, or a combination of the two. He has also recently become a proud father of a beautiful baby boy named Logan.

Billy Stewart: March 2011

Billy Stewart, Veteran's Upward Bound Alum

Billy Stewart

One of our success stories, Billy Stewart, comes to our program from a long career in the Army (20 ½ years) that ultimately led to his coming to Boise. It is not an exaggeration to say that the entire VUB staff is glad that he did. With a smile on his face and a smooth southern drawl, Billy brings more than just his love of the Auburn Tigers to our program.

Billy first began taking math classes at VUB in the summer of 2010, but after starting Boise State in the Fall of 2011, Billy has been giving back to his fellow classmates by taking on the role of a mentor/tutor. With his passion for history and journalism perfectly combined with his patient, easy-going nature, Billy has gone above and beyond anything we could have asked of him, helping other veterans in our program who struggle with what comes so naturally to him. It did not come as a surprise to his teachers, then, when Billy began to excel in his college courses and was asked to become a teaching assistant for his history professor. When I asked him about his educational goals, he replied, ―My educational goals are to attempt to excel in every class that I undertake… I guess I believe that since our government is paying for me to go to school, I should make every effort to succeed and not waste their money.

Billy is pursuing a double major in Political Science with an International Relations emphasis and Communications/English degree with a Journalism emphasis and plans to accomplish this within three years.
He has a few words of advice for his fellow servicemen and women: ―Strike while the iron is hot and ―There’s nothing to it but to do it!
We are so proud of Billy and all of his accomplishments, but his positive attitude and sense of humor are truly what makes him such a great member of our program.


Peggy Croteau: March 2011

Margaret Croteau, Veteran's Upward Bound Alum

Peggy Croteau

Peggy was born in Fort Eustis, Virginia, where she spent her youth running wild on nearby Civil War battlefields with her siblings. Peggy started her military career in the Air Force and then switched to the Coast Guard where she served for 26 years. When asked what her most memorable experience was, she said, “There are so many, I can’t just pick one because the people I served with were like family. I still keep in touch with many of them through Facebook and consider them all friends.”

Peggy joined VUB in the fall of 2010, taking classes in both math and writing. It was not long before Peggy’s relentless work ethic came to the surface; she never once missed class (even in the heart of winter), showing up in her arctic gear topped with blue and orange-rimmed glasses. She has been and continues to be an enthusiastic, genuine individual who never fails to see the positive side of life and share stories of her past with fellow classmates.

Peggy is currently enrolled at BSU and is still deciding between pursuing a degree in either Psychology or Social Work. She hopes to continue to earn both a Masters and a Doctorate degree—a goal that reflects her drive and dedication to her education.

enthusiastic, genuine individual who never fails to see the positive side of life and share stories of her past with fellow classmates.
Peggy is currently enrolled at BSU and is still deciding between pursuing a degree in either Psychology or Social Work. She hopes to continue to earn both a Masters and a Doctorate degree—a goal that reflects her drive and dedication to her education.