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Blinn College assists Marine veteran in preparation for new career path

Sophomore Christopher “Mack” McLaughlin is president of Blinn’s Student Veterans Association

November 10, 2017

By the age of six, Blinn College sophomore Christopher “Mack” McLaughlin knew he was destined for a military career.

After serving as a military police officer and U.S. Marine Corps recruiter for nearly a decade, an injury propelled the Temple native to shift his focus for his future. McLaughlin, 28, made the decision to return to school, enrolling at the Blinn College-Bryan Campus in January.

“I really enjoyed my time in the military,” he said. “I never anticipated going to college, but the unexpected happened, and I needed a new plan.”

McLaughlin, who is married with a young child and another on the way, said Blinn’s reputation for having one of the state’s highest transfer rates combined with its close proximity to many major universities proved the best choice for his growing family.

“As hard as it was to return to school after so many years away, Blinn’s faculty and resources has made this process easier than I imagined,” he said.

McLaughlin is majoring in chemistry and liberal arts at Blinn, and plans to transfer to Texas A&M University in the Spring. There, he plans to pursue a degree in nutrition science and eventually attend medical school.

“As a military recruiter, I was always an authority figure for high school and college students,” he said. “Now, I have to adapt to being a student in the classroom, and Blinn has really helped me transition back into that civilian mentality.”

In an effort to support those dealing with the same challenges, McLaughlin joined Blinn’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) in February, and currently serves as the organization’s president. Based on the Blinn-Bryan Campus, SVA assists student veterans in transitioning to college life and helps them attain internships and scholarships.

“Mack is a strong, creative leader,” SVA Advisor Emily Erdmann said. “He truly cares about the other veterans and students, and is always making sure their needs are being met.”

Aside from campus participation, SVA is active in the community, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Blinn’s Star of the Republic Museum, and Wreaths Across America. The organization also hosts an annual Veteran Appreciation Ceremony to celebrate and honor student and community veterans.

“My time in the Marines has taught me to put others’ needs before my own,” he said. “Whether it is in the classroom or out in the community, Blinn has allowed me the opportunity to lend a hand to those who need it.”

Blinn’s mission is to provide excellent service to the College’s active duty service members, veterans, and their families as they achieve their academic goals. The Veteran Services Office – located in the Administration Building on the Brenham Campus and in the Central Administrative Services Building at 3125 S. Texas Avenue in Bryan – helps student veterans enroll, receive benefits, find jobs, secure aid for their disabilities, and find access to local counseling.

For more information, visit: http://www.blinn.edu/veterans/index.html.

Registration for the Spring 2018 semester is available through Monday, Jan. 15. Registration for Blinn’s Winter Minimester, which runs Dec. 15-22 and Jan. 3-10, is available through Thursday, Dec. 14. For enrollment or financial aid information, visit www.blinn.edu.