Yesterday we selected a qualified winner for the Low VA Rates scholarship. The recipient is Lorenzo Aranda, a Captain in the Nevada Army National Guard who has served our country since 2008. Due to the increasing need for higher education and the rising costs to finally achieve that degree, we extend this scholarship every semester for veterans and active-duty members of the military. We received a very large number of applicants, many of whom offer competitive credentials, live under stressful finances, and have meaningful goals for the future. However, it’s obvious why Lorenzo Aranda is the winning applicant.
Lorenzo is from Henderson, Nevada, and is currently attending the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University pursuing a doctorate degree in psychology. He attained his master’s degree at the University of Phoenix and his undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada.
Lorenzo’s professional goals for the future revolve around military policy as it relates to mental health. During his time in the Army National Guard, he has taken notice of a general deficiency in the military culture. Currently, several members of the military with mental health issues are not being treated in a healthy, nor safe, way. Lorenzo related how he watched as his fellow servicemen were forced to continue training regiments and were expected to participate in the same operations as healthy individuals even though their mental capabilities were not suited for the continuous strain. This type of treatment presents safety issues to these troops and others around them.
Through his education and a change in military positions, Lorenzo hopes to take advantage of current and ongoing research regarding PTSD to help resolve these service members’ symptoms caused by trauma and alter military policy in order to provide an environment that these men and women can thrive in and receive the help they need. So far, research has proven that talking through their experiences helps trauma victims the most, and Lorenzo has already seen this through his psychology experience doing practicums, internships, and current work.
“Clients are just wanting someone to talk to,” Lorenzo said. “They were bottling everything up. It is super helpful to just talk about it.”
Although Lorenzo has been a military police officer in the Army National Guard for the past 8 years, he plans to soon serve full-time in the Navy. The U.S. Navy provides the best program for him to succeed in his field, and it is aligned more closely with his civilian education than what the Army can currently offer. He hopes to work as a military psychologist in one of the 3 primary hospitals run by the Navy.
Lorenzo has had the opportunity to experience similar environments that service members with PTSD have faced. In his scholarship essay, he mentioned the statistic that 22 military members and veterans commit suicide every day. Any number other than zero is unacceptable, and Lorenzo believes he can play a huge role in reducing that number. However, his goal will only be reached through furthering his education.
Helping Veterans and Military Families
We believe in Lorenzo’s goals. Currently, funds can only cover one third of his education, but through our assistance, the obstacle of funding his future will be greatly reduced and he will be able to focus on and achieve his education and military goals. In response to news that he had been chosen as the winner of our scholarship, he said, “I appreciate the opportunity. It costs almost $122,000 for my doctorate degree, and funds aren’t covering very much. Scholarships definitely help alleviate the financial concern and stress.”
Congratulations Lorenzo! We at Low VA Rates are excited to see you succeed.