Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

ELeVATE: Opening Doors for Veterans

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
49 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on February 03, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

ELeVATE: Opening Doors for Veterans

Although their campaign has concluded, if you would still like to make a donation to the ELeVATE program, you may always do so here.


Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering (ELeVATE) 

For our returning servicemen and women, attending college is one of the most critical - and daunting - steps in their post-military lives.  While they have been trained to perform in hostile environments, entering a classroom offers a different set of challenges that require a different type of support, such as ELeVATE, a holistic transition program that supports veterans interested in STEM careers and educates faculty and staff on how to prepare veterans for success.    

ELeVATE, housed at the University of Pittsburgh's Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), is a three-phase program designed to assist wounded, injured, and ill veterans with the transition into a science, technology, engineering (STEM) program of study, with a special emphasis on assistive technology and engineering. 

As ELeVATE graduate Katee Coleman points out in the above video, ELeVATE opens doors to academic support, mentoring, contacts, and friendships that provide benefits long after students complete the program.

How You Can Help:

Your contribution will help raise $15,000 to cover the living stipends for three veterans during the 10-week on-campus portion of the summer 2017 ELeVATE program.  Funds raised above our goal will be applied to stipends for other ELeVATE participants.

Why ELeVATE is important:

ELeVATE participants engage in experiential learning, rehabilitation counseling, mentoring, academic preparation and career exposure activities.  The components are designed to increase self-efficacy and outcome expectations which help participants achieve their performance goals as they enroll in and complete engineering and technology degree programs, and pursue a graduate degree or employment in engineering and technology.

We're proud to say that Josh Marino, a Purple Heart recipient, is a graduate of the ELeVATE program.  After completing his Master's degree, Josh joined the HERL as a full-time staff member and continues to serve his fellow servicemen and women as they enter college.

Josh Marino (right), assisting a student in the Advancing Inclusive Manufacturing program at the HERL.

"As I took part in the ELeVATE program, my desire to pursue graduate school was affirmed. I had just finished my undergraduate degree and was searching for direction, and HERL showed me that my skills had a place in the STEM fields. The program prepared me for the rigors of academia, and the individuals I met and worked with provided the perfect atmosphere for a transitioning Veteran to excel in. Even though ELeVATE is only a few months long, the connections I made and the experiences I had will influence my life for years to come." 

Josh Marino, ELeVATE graduate and HERL Education & Outreach Coordinator

This past November, Josh and his wife were awarded a home through the Military Warrior Support Foundation and PNC Bank in recognition of his service to country:


Josh and his wife, Becky, with PNC Regional President Sy Holzer at the key exchange ceremony.


                                                         Chez Marino!

About HERL:

Founded by Dr. Rory Cooper in 1994, the mission of the HERL has been to continuously improve the mobility and function of veterans and individuals with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.  HERL is dedicated to advancing education and career opportunities for veterans in STEM-fields.

Choose a giving level



Your contribution will allow a vet to take that first step towards a STEM career.



A contribution at this level will help cover the cost of program materials.



Your contribution at this level lets vets know they have a strong support network during their program.



Your contribution will cover the cost of preparing a vet's poster board presentation.



A contribution at this level will help cover the housing stipend provided to vets during enrollment in ELeVATE.



You are a game-changer. Your contribution will be the catalyst for future success in a STEM field for a deserving veteran.



The servicemen and women who defend our liberties deserve our unwavering support. Your gift will honor their commitment to country and support them as they begin a new chapter in their lives.



Courage. Excellence. Character. Characteristics that define the soldier, and traits that will play an important role for former military as they enter college. Your gift signifies the highest level of respect and will instill confidence during their academic career.

Our Crowdfunding Groups