Veterans + Flagship

The PSU Russian Flagship counts among its students a large number of both Veterans and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students. Like the other Flagship students, they are learning Russian with an eye towards careers in which Superior level of language proficiency is critical to U.S. competitiveness and security.

Military veterans play a big part of Portland State history, and they continue to be prominent in the university’s identity and student body. The university was founded in 1946 as the Vanport Extension Center to provide higher educational opportunities to returning World War II veterans. Today, with an estimated 700-1000 vets on campus, PSU has the highest number of veterans in the Oregon university system.

The life experience that military service has given veterans allows them to bring unique perspectives to the classroom and enrich discussions with other undergraduate students. With their discipline, veterans often model for other Flagship students a focus on academic work and learning. Their energy contributes greatly to the extra-curricular activities connected to learning Russian in the Russian Flagship program. The Flagship program, like the military, is demanding. Our veteran students, who are high-aptitude language learners, will achieve professional-level proficiency in Russian over the course of their rigorous Flagship studies.

In addition to VA Educational benefits, Flagship veterans in the past have successfully competed for the prestigious David L. Boren Scholarship Award for study abroad and other PSU scholarships. Read more about how veterans study abroad.

Considered an effective pipeline to federal service, Flagship will see many of our veteran students upon completing the Language Flagship Program and their undergraduate education return to federal service, seeking out positions within the areas of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State, among others.

Read about our diverse pool of talented veterans:

Alex Cash was enlisted in the US Army from 2010-2013 as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialists (CBRN) in the 101st airborne division.   Cash was deployed to Iraq in 2011-12 and was present during the withdrawal of US troops and the shutting down of the Iraqi operations. Read Cash’s full profile.

Miles Strang served in the Air Force from 2009-2014, where he worked as an F15-E Avionics Technician. Strang spent most of his time troubleshooting and repairing various avionics systems while stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, NV and Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, United Kingdom. From 2011-2012, Strang was deployed to Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, where he worked as a Security Escort making sure the Kyrgyz workers around the base arrived at their various job sites. It is there that he began teaching himself some very basic Russian in order to communicate with the workers better. He still keeps in contact with some of them to this day. Read Strang's full profile.