Jacob Sanders: Army veteran praises Veterans Center and professors ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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Jacob Sanders: Army veteran praises Veterans Center and professors

photo of soldiers
Jacob Sanders with a Zambian soldier in Zambia.

As U.S. Army veteran Jacob Sanders has been studying engineering at Laurel Ridge, he has been supported by the Veterans Center and dedicated professors.

Sanders is transferring to James Madison University in the fall to complete his bachelor’s degree. He is not sure which engineering specification he’ll eventually work in, but is leaning towards electrical since he currently works as an electrician.

“I’m kind of leaving that road open,” said Sanders. “I want to see what opportunities I have there and what internships are available.”

Laurel Ridge is familiar to Sanders, who took two levels of electrical at the college. After moving from Front Royal to New Market, he studied level 3 at Triplett Tech in Shenandoah County because it was only a few miles from his new home.

He enrolled in Laurel Ridge for his credit classes in summer 2022.

“I was working full time, taking one class at a time online until this last semester,” said Sanders.

In fall 2023, he went down to part-time work while attending Laurel Ridge full time, using his G.I. Bill educational benefits.

Sanders, who shares an infant daughter with his wife Kaitlin, enjoys his classes, and spoke especially highly of Physics Professor Ray Rogers.

“He’s super-helpful and always available to assist,” he said. “Professor Ashley Burns was the same way when I took chemistry, and Professor Jeremiah Dyke for my math classes. They’ve been awesome.”

Sanders served in the U.S. Army from 2013-2016. He has a brother serving in the U.S. Air Force. His father is an Army veteran, as was his grandfather, and his uncle is retired from the U.S. Navy.

“I just kind of grew up with that in the household,” said Sanders.

In the Army, he served as a cavalry scout and spent nine months in Jordan.

“We were training the Jordanians on base defense operations to take over in Afghanistan for us,” Sanders said.

Since coming to Laurel Ridge, he has spent a lot of time in the Veterans Center with military benefits official Sharon Painter and school certifying official/veteran academic advisor Jeanmarie Corrado.

“Jeanmarie and Sharon are wonderful,” said Sanders. “That’s one of the questions I had for JMU – ‘We have an amazing Veterans Center here. Do you guys have something similar?’ The free printing at our center is a huge perk. And, the coffee.

“Jeanmarie has been great as long as I’ve been here, getting me pumped to try to get into JMU. She and Sharon made for a pretty flawless transition. Jeanmarie has always been in my corner, cheering me on every semester.”

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.