November 9, 2022

Majoring in Adolescent-to-Young Adult Education, Shawnee State University’s Ricky Massengale is a student veteran. Spending five years serving in the U.S. Army, Massengale was an infantryman and a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne and was a Sergeant in a heavy weapons company. Now working towards his future career in education, he is looking forward to finding himself in a unique place to connect with students that other teachers might have a hard time understanding.

Ricky Massengale

“I can't speak for all teachers, but it seems to me there is a need for more teachers who come from a poor background that students can relate to,” he said. “You hear a lot about representation of all cultures being an important thing for society, but not much about how class status can be seen as unique cultures. While it may be a part of textbooks to learn about the risks these kids face, understanding where they come from is another thing.”

Even before he enlisted in the military, Massengale knew he wanted to be a teacher. Choosing SSU for its smaller campus, he is grateful to have the opportunity to be involved on campus, particularly with other student veterans. As a member of the university’s Student Veterans of America, Massengale volunteers his time as much as he can with the club.

“The veteran lounge took a big brunt of that load of reintegrating,” he said, considering how he’s used campus resources to reintegrate into his civilian and academic life. “I can talk and act like myself with others who have also been through the military.”

As he’s adjusted to new challenges in life outside of the military, Massengale focuses on his family and this new chapter in his life pursuing his degree. Connecting with campus services and his advisor Dr. John Roush has also helped him stay on track in his journey to become a teacher.

“One way Dr. Roush helped me was by giving me information about timelines for classes so I was aware ahead of time,” he said, thankful for how the staff and professors within the SSU School of Education have helped him. “I can prepare and schedule for that kind of thing”.

To learn more about the School of Education at Shawnee State University, visit To view campus services and benefits available to student veterans, visit