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Vets2BSN: Home

Housed within the National University’s Department of Nursing, the Vets2BSN Project is a federally funded grant initiative to support the recruitment and retention of active duty and prior military corpsman and medics. The project offers a series of workshops, enrichment seminars, and individual/group tutoring to assist students with scholarly writing, test taking strategies, language skills, stress management, career advisement, NCLEX-RN and PN preparation and mentorship activities.

The Vets2BSN staff consists of a director, manager, coordinator, evaluator, academic counselor, student tutors, mentors, coaches, faculty advisors, and adjunct faculty who provide students with supportive services leading to the successful completion of program requirements.

Project Director: Dr. Gloria J. McNeal serves as the director for Vets2BSN Project and the Dean of National University's School of Health and Human Services. She is a former US Navy Nurse Corps Officer, and has been given the distinct honor of being recognized as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a 2007 Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Program. She is a board certified advanced practice nurse and manages the care of chronically ill patients iun underserved communities.

Project Manager: Dr. Richard Guertin has been in healthcare for over 30 years and is a Clinical Associate Professor at National University. He was a hospital corpsman for 8 years before his nursing practice.  He has lived and practiced nursing in three states (Massachusetts, New York, California). His major areas of practice have been in behavioral health and community health. Dr. Guertin has spent the majority of his career in various positions in home health and hospice both as staff and in management.

Project Evaluator: Dr. Tyler Smith is the National University program lead for the Master Degree in Health Analytics and the Chair of the Department of Community Health. He has nearly 20 years of experience in health research leading large longitudinal studies, infant health registries, population health studies, and medical health outcomes research.


Project Coordinator: Ms. Brenda Miller has been a nurse for more than 40 years. Ms. Miller is currently a third year PhD student at the University of San Diego. She also serves and the National University Regional Director of the Skills and Simulation lab for all campuses. Previous experience in Acute Care, Community nursing (Hospice and Home Care), and over 15 years in Nursing Management.

Academic Support Counselor: Dr. Paul Tontz has more than 15 years in advising, counseling, and mentoring roles.  He is also a former US Navy Lieutenant. His role is to develop enrichment programs to assist with test-taking strategies, academic advisement, student peer tutoring, APA writing, stress and time management, coping strategies, learning style exploration, career development, and preparation for NCLEX.

Competency Based Education Coaches

Dr. Margaret Howarth is Associate Director of Nursing for National University. Her career has spanned over 40 years as a nurse/nurse practitioner/doctor of nurse practice and educator. She is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Her father was a decorated Air Force veteran who served in three wars. She has a passion for caring for our veterans.

Professor Mary B. Pendergast has been an RN since 1981. She is experienced in Acute/Chronic Care Pediatrics, Oncology, Public Health, LDRP/OB, Home Health, Student Health, Case Management, and Nursing Education.  She earned her MS in Nursing Education/Maternal-Newborn Concentration from SDSU. She is also a patient educator for a pharmaceutical staffing company and is a volunteer clinician for underserved patients. Mary's friends and family have served in the military since WWII.


Amanda Henson, BSN, RN



Bridgette Pardee, BSN, RN Bridgette Pardee, BSN, RN

Additional benefits of participation included access to the National University Student Nurses Association (NUSNA) and the Military Student Nurse Mentorship Organization (MSNMO), designed to match Vets2BSN students with professional working nurses (either civilian or military specialty of their choice) to aid in their transition and development.

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Program FAQs

That is correct, due to the specifications of the grant which funds the project.

Yes, candidates must move to San Diego to participate in one of our nursing cohorts.

Yes. We have several MECP students in our nursing program and generally start those students in our July or October cohorts.

Please send an email to with your request and include the following information: full name, NU student ID number, date of application submission or potential submission, confirmation that your nursing prerequisite courses have been completed, and whether you are requesting the conditional letter, degree plan, or both.

The Vets2BSN Project Academic Counselor, Dr. Paul Tontz, is available for consultation on ways to improve your writing, TEAS, and application strength. Please contact him at

More Information

Have more questions? Please contact:

Dr. Paul Tontz
Academic Counselor, Vets2BSN Project
Nursing Department
National University, 858-521-3972