Meet ERPi’s Patriot Scholars
Meet ERPi’s Patriot Scholars
While ERPi offers many programs for personal development, few embody our mission and history as well as the ERPi Patriot Scholarship. This scholarship was created to support veterans and families of veteran’s as they pursue their undergraduate or graduate degree at George Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government. Since its creation in 2012, ERPi has assisted more than 30 scholars and has pledged over $800k to the GMU Masters in Public Health and Masters in Public Policy, which is solely available to veterans and their dependents. ERPi is proud to announce a new blog series to highlight the stories of those who have benefited from the Patriot Scholarship, our first being a current ERPi employee, Marjorie Thomas.
Marjorie Thomas has been an administrator in the private sector for 12 years, utilizing her Bachelors in Business Administration for various organizations. In 2015, Marjorie made the decision to leave her job to pursue a degree at to the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Her college entry essay was the deciding factor in why she was awarded the ERPi Patriot Scholarship as a dependent spouse to the Veteran. She began a summer internship with ERPi through George Mason University and was given the opportunity to participate on the Clay Hunt task order as it was beginning from the ground up. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act is a congressional mandate that requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to have an independent, third-party assessment conducted annually, detailing program effectiveness, cost effectiveness, and Veteran satisfaction of VA’s mental health programs and suicide prevention services. To improve the program evaluation process, ERPi supports VHA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention by identifying new methodological and analytical approaches to refine and build upon the work that resulted in the 2018 Report to Congress.
Marjorie assisted in research, interviews with Veterans Affairs program SMEs, and the development of the early framework of the evaluation process. During that time, she was also working towards her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA). While interning, Marjorie learned about the VA from an evaluative perspective, helping her gain a better understanding of the mental health and suicide prevention programs that are offered to support the Veteran.
After her internship, Marjorie agreed to assist the HR team on a part-time basis with onboarding and office management while she completed her degree requirements. Marjorie completed the three-year MPA program in under two years and felt confident in her intent to follow-up with a request to join ERPi’s growing team of consultants. She was able to collaborate once more on the Clay Hunt evaluative team and use her knowledge and experience to carve out her role. Marjorie has been consulting officially for over four years and currently serves as the PM and sole ERPi employee on the Clay Hunt contract. She recently acquired her PMP in January of 2020 and continues to develop her strengths through corporate initiatives, client/contracting officer relationships, and by facilitating a team of 10 subcontractors. Through this experience, she expanded her knowledge to include consulting, project management, and financial reporting capabilities.
“The scholarship allowed me to focus on completing my degree and alleviated some of the financial burden of the 36 credit hours. I am very thankful to ERPi for believing in me and providing the resources to help me achieve my goals.”
Marjorie is a wife to a Purple Heart Veteran, who was wounded in theater. They have been married for 16 years, have four children and all live in Richmond, VA.
Ben Stevens, Corporate Communications Intern