University of Pennsylvania

Veterans Upward Bound

Alumni Profiles

Stephen (Steve) J. Bachovin

University of Pennsylvania's Veterans Upward Bound Alum


2009 Graduate of The Community College of Philadelphia in Business and Technology, 2012 Graduate of Peirce College in Business Administration, Coordinator for Veteran Programming with the Veterans Resource Center at The Community College of Philadelphia

Favorite quote: "Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was born and raised in Philadelphia and except for my 4 years of service in the United States Air Force. I have lived and worked in our fair city most of my life. My Father was originally from Johnstown PA and my mother from the small village of McAdoo PA. Neither of my parents were high school graduates and I am the first of my family to have a college education. The Air Force got me started on the path to a college education through the Community College of the Air Force, but it was here at Community College of Philadelphia that I earned an associate's in Business. I graduated with a Bachelor in Science for Business Administration with a minor in management Summa Cum Lade at Peirce College. I am married to my best friend who tries hard to understand my sense of humor and not kick me out of the house. We have two grown daughters and now twin granddaughters that my wife takes care of and a dog that is my responsibility. No, I am not related to Beethoven although it was my nickname in the service and you are all welcome to use it if it helps you to remember our school's veteran's office.


My family has a long history of service in the United States Armed forces. My father and many of my relatives all served in the Army and the Navy from World War II, Korea and Vietnam and the 1st Persian Gulf War and now Iraq and Afghanistan. My older brother is a Marine Vietnam veteran and my sister works at the Philadelphia veteran's hospital. I myself was the only family member to have served in the Air Force mostly in base security both stateside and overseas in the Middle East.


After the service I tried to attend Temple University but struggled to get through one semester. I went to work in the Printing and Publishing industry for many years and rose to a Foreman position before the Great Recession. I still to this day don't why they call it a recession but I think back to the old saying that the difference between a recession and a depression is went your neighbor loses his it's a recession and when you lose yours it's a depression.  


I started back to school in my middle age as a promise to my youngest daughter and my mother. When I went into the service I promised my mother that I would use my benefits to get a college education. Then when my daughter started college I thought of going back. When she graduated she made me promise that I would.


About this time I came across the Veterans Upward Bound Program at the University of Pennsylvania. I met Diane Sandafor who I first thought that had way too much coffee. At my initial interview I never have guessed that this would be the start of path to a degree. The support and encouragement that I received from the TRIO program at Penn open the way for my success in college. After I successfully completed VUB in 2009 I enrolled into the Community College of Philadelphia and achieved my A.A.S. in Business from the Division of Business and Technology.  From there I enrolled into Peirce College and earned my Bachelor's degree in 2012 in Business Administration with a concentration on Management.  These dreams would never had been realized without the guidance and support of the Veterans Upward Bound Program at the University of Pennsylvania.


In a way my current reincarnation as an advisor to veterans going to school using the Post 9/11 GI bill is a way to give back to my fellow veterans many of the lessons that I've learned through the Veterans Upwards Bound program. With the establishment of the Veterans Resource Office at Community College of Philadelphia the veterans that want to get a college education now have the tools they need to overcome many of the bureaucratic roadblocks in using their GI benefits that are promised in their enlistment.