Meridian veteran studies at Ivy League school with the help of Wyakin Warriors

Posted at 10:38 PM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-03 00:38:08-05

A Meridian veteran is getting a free Ivy League education thanks to Dartmouth College and the Wyakin Warriors. She's the first in the Wyankin Program to be headed out of the Gem State.

Lance Corporal Shawn Gayner knows dedication. A veteran of the Marine Corps., She was injured during a training accident and discharged. Now the Wyakin Warrior is attending Dartmouth and so far her grades are A's and single B.

"It's a little surreal, to be honest with you,” said Lance Corporal Shawn Gayner. ”I grew up in Meridian Idaho I never expected to go to an Ivy League College."

That Ivy League education she's getting is all paid for with help from her G.I. Bill and Dartmouth and she's not doing it alone. She has the Wyakin Warrior Program behind her and will be officially inducted Saturday night at their Guardian Ball with 13 other warriors. The local non-profit helps wounded veterans achieve personal and professional success as business and community leaders with the help of mentors, And her mentor back east has already extended a helping hand.

"He's helping me navigate my transition to Dartmouth and he's going to help me along the way to become a successful student and a more successful member of the community," explained LCpl. Gayner.

In 2020, when Shawn plans to graduate, she hopes to have a duel major in Russian and physics. And for other veterans thinking of going back to school, she has this advice.

"Apply to schools you don't think you'll get into because if you do get in they will make sure you have the support you need to finish and there is organizations like Wyakin that will help you along the way," said LCpl. Gayner

This will be Wyakin's 6th class of warriors and the largest class since the program started in 2001, they have eight alumni. 28 are still in the program. It cost close to $5,000 per warrior per year for program support.  The Guardian Ball is Saturday night at the Grove Hotel.