A Meaningful Journey to Helping Veterans with Disabilities

Photo of Kevin Beck

Kevin Beck has always been one to do more than seek knowledge; rather, he prefers to fully immerse himself in the educational process. In May 2018, Beck earned bachelor's degrees in Psychological Science and Social Work from Miami University. Two days after graduation, he began the accelerated master’s in Social Work program through a Miami University partnership with Wright State University. He earned his master’s degree in May 2019. 

Beck is a Cincinnati native and a 1990 graduate of Roger Bacon High School. After serving two years in the Army, he received an honorable medical discharge. Beck is the father of two children, Danielle, 25, and Josh, 24. Danielle is a veteran who currently serves as an active-duty sergeant in the U.S. National Guard.

His college journey began more than five years ago at a local VA facility while he was waiting for an appointment. In the waiting room, while taking with fellow veterans, he  discovered they were finally seeing mental health professionals for the first time after a three to four year wait. Beck recalls the impact this had on him.

“It lit a fire in me. The next day I walked into the admission office at the Hamilton campus and inquired about how one can study to be a mental health professional,” Beck said.

He flourished at Miami University Regionals, serving as Secretary of the Student Veterans Association. During his sophomore and junior years, he helped plan a 5K Walk/Run that benefited student veteran programs at the Regionals through support and service. Beck was an ambassador for the Office of Veterans Services and worked diligently to help connect the office with other student veterans. He also served as a tutor for the Center for Psychological Inquiry. 

During his first year at Miami Regionals, Beck worked with Dr. Barbara Oswald, associate professor in the Department of Social & Behavioral Science, on her research in the mouse lab in Oxford. Beck said he wanted to do whatever he could “to learn and understand how research was conducted.” Dr. Oswald provided Beck with an opportunity to do just that. He and fellow student Krista Olive wrote a paper on their undergraduate research on the Effects of Stimulant Drugs on Alcohol Self-Administration, Motor Coordination, and Cognition in Mice which they co-presented at a Student Scholar Symposium at Miami Regionals.

As an undergraduate, Beck jumped on opportunities to participate in general practice social work internships at the Butler County Probate Court focused on the guardianship program during the summer of 2017, and at Butler Behavioral Health during fall semester of the same year. 

As part of his Honors Program experience, Beck volunteered at the Cincinnati VA with the Psychiatric Unit. There, he used his newly-acquired research skills to transfer data from patient surveys to complete the first two years of a five-year latitude study. His Honors Program experience also allowed him to conduct research on human trafficking, and the use of child soldiers. He also helped organize a Social Work Conference in Oxford for 120 attendees.

As a graduate student, Beck completed an internship with the Butler County Forensic Evaluation Service Center working on assessments of competency and sanity for the courts, assessments for guardianship protection with Adult Protective Services, and evaluated parenting courses for parents seeking a divorce. He helped modify these classes for the benefit of LGBTQ families.

Beck now works as a vocational rehabilitation counselor at Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, a position that gives him the opportunity to pursue his passion to continue working with veterans with disabilities.

"Desire and perseverance can take one a long way. These traits, added with having some of the best professors who guided and pushed for my best, helped me get to this new chapter of life,” Beck said  “What made the college experience enjoyable was the group of new friends that I was not expecting to meet. We laughed, helped one another and challenged one another. As I look back, whether we realized it then or not, we lived the motto, Love and Honor.”