A local veteran and student at Central Texas College has been awarded a full scholarship to an Ivy League college.

Come next fall, CTC student David Carrell, a former Fort Hood staff sergeant, will begin taking classes at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The four-year scholarship will cover books, tuition and housing.

“I’m very excited,” said Carrell, 32, of Copperas Cove. “It’s been a great experience.”

Carrell received the scholarship after an intensive six-month application process and was one of 11 military veterans selected for the scholarship through the New York-based Posse Foundation, which provides opportunities to military veterans.

Carrell’s road from community college to Vassar began almost by chance, after he had been seeking veterans’ service assistance at CTC through veterans advocate Matthew Keller.

Carrell said Keller asked him to apply for and attend the Warrior Scholarship Program, a new weeklong education program at Yale University. “He asked me if I wanted to go to Yale,” Carrell said. “I’m glad I ended up going.”

The seven-day program is geared toward helping veterans make the transition from the military to college, and teaches the fundamentals of reading, writing and studying at the college level.

“It was a really positive experience, because you are being taught and prepared at the highest level,” Carrell said.

Carrell said the program also teaches participants how to navigate college life and prepares veterans for an environment much different from the military.

“For me there is the nuances of dealing with the younger generation, because you’re going to be in class with 18- and 19-year-old kids,” Carrell said. “You realize that the way you talk and deal with people is going to be different when you are out of the Army.”

Carrell said he wants to earn a bachelor’s degree from Vassar, but has not yet decided on a career. He said he is currently leaning toward the field of clinical psychology.

“I’d like to come back and be able to help other veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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