University Director of Veteran Services Terina Caserto was recently awarded the Bill Pearson Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award by the Western Association of Veteran Educational Specialists for her 10 years of service to student veterans.
"When thinking about Terina and her incredible commitment to student Veterans, what comes to mind first is her leadership style," Chai Glenn-Cook, VA School Certifying Official and University Veteran Services coordinator, said. "Terina leads from behind, ensuring her staff and students are equipped with the knowledge, information and skills to best do their jobs. She works tirelessly with each person to enable them to be successful. Her leadership style is empowering. And to that end, Terina encourages everyone to continually move forward, push themselves and establish new goals. The support and encouragement she extends transcends individuals to be the best version of themselves that they can be."
Caserto has been director of University Veteran Services since 2009. In her role, she has worked tirelessly to ensure veterans on the University campus have access to all the assistance possible to make sure they succeed. Caserto has expanded the staff of Veteran Services, created events such as the Veteran's Graduation Celebration and facilitated the opening of the Veteran and Military Center - a space designated for student veterans to study or conduct meetings.
"At the beginning of my academic career, when I was struggling to find a balance between my academic and personal life, Terina always had time to sit down and help me prioritize everything," Ryan Gerchman, a student veteran who Caserto helped advise and mentor, said. "She is always available to listen and lend some words of wisdom for any obstacles that students are facing."
"Around campus, I think people appreciate that she communicates clearly and acts on her commitments," said Glenn-Cook. "If she says that she will get something done, it will be done with grace."
As a leader on campus, Caserto works closely with the executive committee and University President's Council, but her commitment to student success is her daily mission. When a student is in distress or in need, she will clear her calendar.
Caserto is also currently serving as the 2018-2019 University of Nevada, Reno Faculty Senate Chair. In this role, she will lead the Faculty Senate in addressing budget issues, academic standards, faculty diversity and moving the University forward during a Nevada legislative year.
Personally, Caserto is in the final stages of earning her doctorate in educational leadership. She is also a mother of two.
"Something that's amazing about Terina is that she always has a positive attitude," said Laura Saueressig, a student worker at the Veteran and Military Center. "When she comes into the center, students love talking to her because she genuinely cares. She's very committed to student success."
WAVES is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting high professional standards, policies and practices among its members. The organization strives to meet the needs of both veterans and the faculty and administration that work with them at universities and institutions. The Bill Pearson Outstanding Lifetime Achievement award is given to those who show outstanding caring and assistance to veterans through participation in veteran's organizations.