Liaison’s Ledger: Warrior-Scholar Project

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) was founded at Yale to provide immersive one or two week “bootcamps” for enlisted veterans who want to prepare to attend classes to pursue their college degrees. WSP resulted from the work of three very unique Yale undergraduates: Jesse Reisling, Chris Howell, and Nick Rugoff.  A fourth Yalie, David Howell, was responsible for designing the original curriculum.  

Reisling was committed to entering the Marines after his graduation but sustained a serious injury making a tackle in his last football game against Harvard and it rendered him ineligible for military service.  Chris Howell was a veteran of the Australian Army when he decided he wanted to get his college degree.  He felt academically unprepared and his brother, David Howell, put together a curriculum to expose and prepare him for undergraduate academics.  The program was focused on literature and writing.  Chris was accepted at Yale as an Eli Whitney Student (non-traditional undergraduate) and had a successful academic career here.  A fourth Yalie, Clifford Foreman, a close friend of Jesse, was a crucial supporter in the early days and was instrumental in raising funds to support the founders in creating the WSP. 

WSP is provided without charge to the veterans who are selected.  Admission to the program is based on demonstrated desire of these veterans to learn, rather than on their academic performance.  WSP highly values those who are motivated to get a college degree.  Two Yale faculty members currently serve on the national WSP Board; Michael Fotos, a Lecturer in Political Science, and Marla Geha, a Professor of Astrophysics.  Professor Geha developed the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum for the WSP.  She recently received a prestigious Howard Hughes Grant to expand the STEM preparation nationally.  Last year approximately 25 veterans attended the two week course, living in Yale dorms, studying in Yale classrooms, and eating at student dining halls. 

This immersive program is geared toward veterans who understand teamwork and how to support each other.  Veterans who have completed the program are also engaged to assist each year.  The Project is currently offered at 15 leading institutions including Yale, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Notre Dame, Syracuse, USC, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M, to name a few.  Several participants in the WSP have subsequently attended Yale as Eli Whitney students. 

The Warrior-Scholar Project is another example of the continuing linkage between our military and Yale.  If you know someone who might be interested in attending, please refer them to the website where they can find everything they need to apply.  As always, please do not hesitate to call me at 203-432-0879 with your questions and comments on how we might support those who have served.  Email:

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