Tech consistently receives the Military Friendly School designation

Cookeville – Tennessee Tech University has earned the 2023-2024 Military Friendly School designation and the special silver award. This designation is granted by VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs and Military Friendly brands.

Tech consistently receives the Military Friendly School designation for meeting the standards set for organizations showing their commitment to serving veterans and by showing their efforts and support in making sure that they succeed.

“The award we received is for the work we do serving student veterans as well as dependents of veterans using Veterans Administration benefits,” Mary McCaskey, director of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs, said. 

This year the university received that designation with the additional award or rank of silver for going above and beyond the required standards. Institutions were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2023-2024 survey with 665 earning special awards for going above the standard. 

The Military Friendly Advisory Council investigates the number of faculty and staff who are veterans, whether the university has priority registration for veterans, if the university has a veterans center, and different programs on campus that are specific to assisting the military community. This encompasses veterans, active service members and spouses of service members. Tech has its own department that serves students by helping them in the transition of going from the military to the civilian world. 

Benjamin Iles, a junior environmental and sustainability studies major with a concentration in environmental science natural resources, and a wildlife and fisheries science minor, is one of the veterans served.

Iles, who was raised in Collierville and grew up in Mt. Juliet served 4.5 years in the United States Marine Corps and at the time of discharge was a sergeant. 

“I appreciate the job opportunities on campus for veterans in the military office. This helps me earn money while still being able to attend class regularly,” IIes said. “I also enjoy supporting other veterans by helping them navigate the world of VA benefits.” 

Iles said he chose to come to Tech because he knew the “wildlife program here was really good for this area of the country,” and he was familiar with the university since his sister and his friends from high school attended Tech. His favorite thing about Tech is probably the “walkability and campus beauty.” 

“I’m glad Tech is being recognized with this new ranking since I’ve always felt supported and appreciated here. The Office of Military & Veterans Affairs is proactive in reaching out to students and getting them involved with our student veteran organization and with events the office sponsors,” Iles said. “One that I hold a lot of respect for is our ‘22 a Day’ remembrance. I’m glad the community at Tech welcomes veterans and their families.”

Ann Margarette Martizano, a junior biology and chemistry double major with a concentration in microbiology and biochemistry, has also been able to utilize Tech’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs. She is a fourth-generation college student who was raised in the Philippines and now resides in Sparta. 

Martizano is a military dependent. Her father is a Marine and Air Force veteran with an E8 rank. She makes use of the job opportunities through the VA work-study program and chose to come to Tech for its military-friendly designation. 

Tech is also close to home for Martizano and she “heard that Tech has one of the best programs when it comes to chemistry and biology.” 

“It is good to see that Tech is getting the recognition they deserve for being a military-friendly school,” Martizano said. “They have helped a lot of veterans and dependents in transitioning and also tried their best to help them with anything.”

Martizano said she felt she had made the right decision in coming to Tech because she has “met a lot of amazing people who are kind enough to help” her along her college journey. She said working in the military office has allowed her to connect with other dependents and bond through that shared experience of growing up with a parent or parents in the military. 

“I also think it is great that Tech has so many opportunities for students, from career fairs to job opportunities,” Martizano said. “My favorite thing about Tech is that they have a safe space, lounge for veterans and dependents who might be having a hard time adjusting. I love how I can go into the Eagle Wings Vet Center freely and not worry about anything. It is a peaceful and stress-free area; I also love how it is easy to ask for help if there are things I am having a hard time with.”

Information about military-friendly designations can be found at

Tennessee Tech is ranked as the No. 1 public university in the state, according to Money Magazine, as well as a “Best National University” by U.S. News & World Report. The university offers more than 200 programs of study, and Tech grads leave with the least debt of all public universities in the state. In fact, based on total cost and alumni earnings, Tech provides students with the highest return on investment for any public university in Tennessee, according to PayScale. Find out more at

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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