Veteran services

Shawnee State University Military and Veteran Services Announces ‘Got Your 6’ Awards



Jay Helsel received the SSU Student “Got Your 6” award for 2021.



Nicole Neal, Director of Operations for the Student Business Center, received the SSU Faculty and Staff “Got Your 6” award for 2021.

PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State University’s Office of Military and Veterans Services has announced the recipients of this year’s “Got Your 6” awards, recognizing both a student and a faculty or staff member who goes beyond on campus to support military-related students in the SSU community.

This year’s student recipient is Jason “Jay” Helsel. Helsel is a father of three and a U.S. Army veteran who served on active duty for over 12 years. During his time in service, he completed three combat tours in Iraq and two more in Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged from military service in 2013. Helsel graduated from SSU in May 2021 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts with a concentration in Illustration. He has been an active member of the SSU student body participating in annual Welcome Weekend events, volunteering with the Student Veterans of America organization of which he served as Vice President in the past and his last year as president of the organization, helped deliver meals. to quarantined students during this year’s pandemic, and worked as a student employee for the Office of Military and Veteran Services for the past two years.

“Jay has an exceptional old-school work ethic and is one of the most capable student employees I’ve ever worked with,” said Eric Ramaekers, SSU Veterans Services Coordinator.

After graduation, Helsel plans to start freelancing in the game industry and returning to SSU to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design.

This year’s faculty and staff recipient is Nicole Neal. Alumnus of SSU, Neal has been an employee of SSU for more than 20 years and has held various positions within the Student Business Center, including Financial Aid Technician, Director of Financial Aid, and now Director of Student Business Center operations.

U.S. Navy veteran Ryan Schiesser returned to SSU in the spring of 2017 to continue his education. When he returned, he was disappointed to see that the space reserved for veterans was limited to one room. He took his concerns to Neal, who helped champion the program’s current office suite.

“Nikki is a huge advocate and supporter of military ties,” Schiesser said. “She was instrumental in working with the Veterans Services Coordinator to create a fully functional Veterans Suite, which includes a living room for all student veterans and their families to relax and unwind. away from their studies and a busy campus.”

Ramaekers has heard from many veteran students that Neal has been a supporting figure throughout their time at SSU.

“She’s a fantastic leader, easy to work with and very supportive of me,” he said. “She has helped shape how students and student veterans receive support at SSU through many projects and ideas regarding the student veteran population and student veterans of America.”

To learn more about the services offered by the SSU Office of Military and Veteran Services, visit www.shawnee.edu/veteran-services.

Jay Helsel received the SSU Student “Got Your 6” award for 2021.

Nicole Neal, Director of Operations for the Student Business Center, received the SSU Faculty and Staff “Got Your 6” award for 2021.