About Us

The Military & Veteran Success Center provides students with opportunities that encourage engagement outside the classroom through advising, career decision-making, financial planning, health services and other personal support resources.

Executive Director

Joe Brownell

Joe Brownell


Learn more about Joe

Joe Brownell serves as the Director of the Military and Veteran Success Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Center serves over 1240 Military-Dependent, Veteran, Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve students annually and is committed to ensure all students achieve their academic and career goals.

Prior to coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Col (R) Brownell served almost 29 years in the United States Air Force. He last served in the U.S. Air Force as the Deputy Chair for the Strategic Leadership Department at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School, National Defense University, where he taught Strategic Leadership, Educational Industry Study, and additional Leadership electives. The Eisenhower School is a senior service school providing graduate level education to senior members of the U.S. armed forces, government civilians, foreign nationals and private industry.

Joe is a 1989 distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. He is a Master Navigator and has flown multiple combat and combat-support missions in the Balkans and the Middle East. Joe is a graduate of Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has served on staffs at the Air Force Personnel Center, U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. Transportation Command. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy State University and a Master of National Resource Strategy degree from The Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University.

Joe’s spouse Kim is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, his daughter Bradyn is a 2017 graduate of UNL, and his son Clay is currently a sophomore at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

VA Coordinator

Deb Quinn

Deb Quinn


Learn more about Deb

Deb Quinn born, raised and educated in the great state of Nebraska. In August 2001, she started at the University of Nebraska in Registration and Records, gaining experience with Enrollment in Classes, Student Records, College Degree Majors - Advisor Changes (CDMA), Transcripts, Degree Audits (DARS) and Certification of Enrollment.

In August 2003, she became the school’s Veteran Certifying Official assisting Veterans, Service Members and Dependents to receive their VA Education Benefits in the Montgomery GI Bill® and in 2009 the POST 9/11 programs.

When Deb and her husband Mike aren’t spending time with their 6 children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, they enjoy hunting, fishing, reading and sharing time with friends.

Assistant Director

Thomas Allison

Thomas Allison


Learn more about Thomas

Thomas Allison joined the Military and Veteran Success Center as the Senior Advisor and Program Coordinator in 2019 after working as a Senior Career Adviser in Career Services at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2005. Tom brings over 25 years of professional experience in planning and implementing programs and advising students on academic and career development to the MVSC.

He is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer and Counselor, specializing in assisting those searching and applying for positions within the federal government and is also a Veteran Certifying Official with Veterans Affairs. Tom earned a Master of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Midland College located in Fremont, Nebraska.

Tom grew up as an Air Force dependent living in England, North Dakota and California before his dad’s final assignment in Nebraska. He has traveled to more than a dozen countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Columbia, Liberia and Kenya. He and his wife Stacey enjoy cheering on the Huskers with their son Reid.

Military and VA Benefits Specialist and Program Coordinator

Natalie Frederick

Natalie Frederick


Learn more about Natalie

Natalie Frederick serves as Military and VA Benefits Specialist and Program Coordinator for the Military and Veteran Success Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Natalie received an Associates of Arts degree from North Central Missouri College in Trenton and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. Prior to moving to Lincoln, she served as an English, speech, drama, theatre, journalism, and debate teacher, as well as cheerleading coach, at Gallatin High School in Missouri then as an English and speech teacher, librarian, youth counselor, and Scream Team coach at Clarinda Academy in Iowa.

She has been employed at UNL ever since, first working as a Curriculum Specialist in TRIO Programs then as a Dispatcher with UNLPD. She took some time off during COVID and is glad to be back working with students on campus again. When she’s not in the MVSC, she enjoys traveling, attending concerts, going to movies, watching sports, playing games, trying new restaurants and food trucks, and spending time with her family, dogs, and friends.


There are three ways to arrange an appointment with the Director of the Military and Veteran Success Center, Joe Brownell.

  1. Call our reception desk at (402) 472-4130
  2. Email us at vetsuccess@unl.edu
  3. Schedule appointment on-line through Student Success Hub at my.unl.edu


Walk-ins are a great way to get acquianted with our VA Coordinator, Deb Quinn, and Support Services or have a quick question addressed.


Room 16, Nebraska Union

Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester Hours


Work Study Mentors

The MVSC provides work study mentors as an outlet for students who seek various necessities. Work Study Mentors are diligent in providing students with the right information so that they can achieve their own personal goals. They are also current university students who have a connection to the military, so they are more than willing to be experienced and trusted advisors to those who may want more information. These mentors have gone through the process that other students would go through and are there to provide the necessary know-how. A short introduction of the Work Study Mentors is featured below:

ArianaJoy Cobler

ArianaJoy Cobler

Class Standing: Junior
Major: Journalism & Broadcasting
Minor: Fashion Apparel Design

My job is to ensure that military-connected students are receiving the necessary news and knowledge by making sure social media communications are up-to-date. I am involved throughout the campus and familiar with various clubs and organizations offered at UNL. Most of my young life was spent overseas in Asia and Australia, as I am from a military family. My father graduated high school in Crofton, NE and immediately got shipped to Japan and ever since then my family and I made Asia and Australia our homes. I moved to different installations every two to three years and lived in places like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Australia. I am a proud Filipino American and am deeply devoted to my heritage. I aspire to be in entertainment journalism primarily within fashion. Outside of school, I enjoy taking photos and exploring Lincoln with my friends.

Nicholas Bennetts

Nicholas Bennetts

Class Standing: Junior
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Child, Youth & Family Studies

I would eventually like to be a church youth pastor. Although it’s not traditional for pastors to attend a 4-year university, I really wanted to seize the opportunity of getting more education and life experience. I am military-connected through my father who was involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Marine. I got involved at the MVSC because of my sister Abi who is a tutor mentor. She introduced me and recommended I become a work-study mentor. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé Izabel and spending time with family and friends doing fun activities such as sports and video games.

Kyle Potratz

Kyle Potratz

Class Standing: Senior
Major: Actuarial Science

I joined the Marine Corps in 2015 right after my senior year of high school. I was stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA for a year before being selected for the Marine Security Guard MOS. During my time as a Marine Security Guard, I was stationed at U.S. embassies in Managua, Nicaragua; Nairobi, Kenya; and The Hague, Netherlands. After graduation, I hope to find a position as an Actuary. Outside of school, I like to lift weights, play video games, play board games, and spend time in nature. I also play three instruments: guitar, piano, and saxophone.

Jack Shattuck

Jack Shattuck

Class Standing: Freshman
Major: Psychology

I’m from Omaha, NE and graduated from high school early so I could join the Army. I served from 2017-2021 with the 82nd Airborne Division and was deployed to Afghanistan from 2019-2020. I then worked as an EMT in Omaha before starting college here at UNL. I am majoring in psychology with plans to attend law school in the future. In my free time, I enjoy traveling and going to the gym with my girlfriend Maggie. I have three siblings and we all love cheering on the Huskers with our parents. GBR!

Academic Support Mentors

The MVSC Academic Support Mentors provide ongoing assistance toward academic success and personal goals through free tutoring. The services of the MVSC Academic Support Mentors are generally available 4:30-7:30pm Monday through Thursday during the Fall and Spring semesters in the subject areas of English, Writing, Math, Science, and Spanish. A short introduction of the Academic Support Mentors is featured below:

Abigail Bennetts Burkey

Abigail Bennetts Burkey

Class Standing: Second-Year Graduate Student
Major: Law

I’m currently the Spanish tutor. As a military dependent, I have had access to the resources in the MVSC and wanted to contribute to what is offered to other military-connected students by becoming a tutor. After I finish law school, I hope to use my degree to be in a service-driven vocation acting as an advocate and voice for those who may be silenced. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, hiking, playing pickleball, and binge-watching my favorite shows.

Rachel Orth

Rachel Orth

Class Standing: Senior
Major: Biological Sciences
Minors: Chemistry, Biochemistry & Psychology

I wanted to tutor others in the MVSC because I want to help them see that science isn’t so bad after all. If I can help students feel even a little less burdened, I will have done my job. My military connection is that my dad was in the Navy and my brother was in the Air Force. I plan to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in 2024 and then get my master’s degree in secondary education for chemistry and biology. Outside of tutoring, I am a CliftonStrengths Coach for the College of Business. I always love talking about Strengths, so if you know your top 5, I’d love to hear about them. My other hobbies include singing, hanging out with my pets, and watching and critiquing movies and TV shows.

Cam Shifrin

Cam Shifrin

Class Standing: Sophomore
Major: Fisheries & Wildlife and Conservation Biology
Minor: Environmental Science

I am currently the English & Writing tutor for the MVSC. I come from a military family. Both my parents are/were JAGS in the Air Force. So, tutoring those who are also involved in the military feels like my way to give back. I plan to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2026 and aim to complete both a master’s and PhD program in ecology and conservation. My end goal is to become a professor. Outside of UNL, I love anything outdoors, such as hiking and skiing. My other hobbies include writing, reading, going to the gym, and going to concerts. Can't wait to meet everyone!