Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Student-Veterans Describe Challenges To Sinema In Flagstaff

Ryan Heinsius

Arizona U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema met last Friday with student-veterans at Northern Arizona University’s Veteran Success Center to hear about the challenges of transitioning from military to student life. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Sinema joined about a dozen student-veterans from NAU and Coconino Community College who served in the U.S. Army, Coast Guard and Marine Corps, among other branches.

The veterans described frequent roadblocks to receiving healthcare benefits. Mary, who didn’t give her last name, is an Army veteran who says she suffers from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It is a challenge. I have been to the hospital here and … the waiting list, you know, about a month-and-a-half," she said.

"Oh, goodness," said Sinema.

"I really try not even go to the V.A. anymore," Mary said.

The veterans also told Sinema about confusion with case managers and other V.A. personnel. One Marine Corps veteran said he had multiple mental-health counselors abruptly quit without notice. Sinema was also told that dependents of veterans rarely receive adequate guidance to access their benefits, and said she’d pioneer such a training program.

The NAU Veteran Success Center serves about 400 active duty, National Guard, Reserve, and veteran-students statewide, and nearly 200 on the Flagstaff campus.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
Related Content