Ryan serves a Senior Program Director and helped launch the Warrior-Scholar Project on the University of Michigan campus. Ryan is currently pursuing his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, which he expects to complete in 2017. He earned his BA in International Studies from the University of Michigan and his AA in Arabic from the Defense Language Institute. Prior to law school, Ryan spent two years teaching English and debate at an inner-city high school in Detroit as part of Teach For America. Ryan also served five years active duty as an Arabic translator in the Marine Corps, which included two deployments to Al-Anbar province in Iraq. In 2016, Ryan will teach a legal reasoning class at Virginia Military Institute and will work as a summer associate in a Chicago law firm.


Lauren Pyland is the Operations Coordinator in the Syracuse University Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, responsible for assisting the Executive Director in daily operations, mission and financial operations. In this role, Pyland also provides planning and execution of events, oversight and coordination of veteran and military related offices across campus.

Originally from Northern New York, Pyland first came to Syracuse to complete her undergraduate degree at Syracuse University.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. While at Syracuse University, Pyland participated in the Army ROTC program and commissioned from the program upon graduation in 2012. Pyland currently serves as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves.


Jarrod Romine is the Campus Program Coordinator for Texas A&M University, as well as being a WSP alumnus from UNC ‘15 and having worked with the program at OU STEM in 2016.

Jarrod is pursuing a joint B.A./M.A. in International Politics and Diplomacy and International Affairs, as well as working with the Veterans Resource & Support Center on campus, and is a committee member with the Student Conference On National Affairs.

Prior to college Jarrod served over eight years in the United States Marine Corps, deploying four times during that period, including in Special Operations with 1st and 2nd Raider Battalions.


Nathan Needham is a senior at Amherst College. He spent six years as a Spanish Portuguese Translator for Air Force Special Operations. He went on three tours to SOUTHCOM supporting multiple special operations forces. Nathan currently is involved in the Amherst College Military Association and after completing Stanford GSB's Summer Institute of Genera Management is working at developing entrepreneurship opportunities for Amherst College students. Nathan plans to complete an MBA after his expected graduation from Amherst College in December 2017.


Lowry Pressly is a PhD candidate at Harvard University, where he teaches and writes on political theory, literature, and philosophy. He holds a BA from the University of Georgia, and a JD from Yale University School of Law. Lowry has been affiliated with the Warrior-Scholar Project since its inception in 2012.


Justin Cook was born in Jacksonville, Florida on April 12th, 1978. He grew up in foster care and went on to college after graduating from high school. He played 3 years of collegiate football before stepping away from college and joining the Navy. He was an Air Traffic Controller for the Navy during the attacks of September 11th,2001. He was converted to a Master at Arms following the denial to reenlist as an Air Traffic Controller due to a program in place reduce the military personnel in certain jobs. He graduated from Master at Arms school and was assigned to the Souda Bay, Crete where he was able to help with the 2004 Olympics and vessel movement in out of port as Harbor Security. He received follow on orders to Maritime Expeditionary Detachment in Portsmouth, Virginia. While with them he was involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to help train the Iraqi Marines in force protection and regain posture in the country. Was in a joint service with the Secret Service during the commissioning of the USS Texas which was sponsored by First Lady Laura Bush in Galveston, Texas. He left Virginia to be stationed with STRATCOM Wing 1 at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. He was able to get settled in to his command before receiving orders for his 4th tour to Iraq to assist with Operation New Dawn assigned to 3rd Army Unit doing convoy security.

Upon his return back to Oklahoma his life was changed for he had to make the ultimate decision of his life that he knew. The offer was on the table to step away from the Navy or to go through another job change. He met his to be wife while going through his transition from the Navy to becoming a civilian. He was accepted to attend The University of Oklahoma in the Spring 2012 semester. He received his Bachelors of Science in Aviation Management in the Fall 2014 and is currently working on his Masters in Human Relations. He and his wife Valerie were married October 5th, 2012 and had their daughter Kaitlyn July 22nd, 2013.

He was a key role for the Student Veterans on campus to obtain the Veterans Lounge after the national attention on the University of Oklahoma after an incident with the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). He started working as the Campus Coordinator with Warrior Scholar Project in 2016. He has a passion to help with the transition from military to classroom.