Veterans Justice Commission
Transition Advisory Committee Members 


Renee Burbank 

Burbank is Director of Litigation at National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), where she supervises all individual lawsuits brought by NVLSP in U.S. district courts, Article III courts of appeals, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, as well as NVLSP’s class actions and other strategic litigation.

Before joining NVLSP, Burbank co-taught Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services clinic as a Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow. During her tenure at Yale, Burbank supervised advocacy on behalf of veterans and veteran's organizations at all levels of administrative and judicial review as well as class actions and impact litigation. Prior to that, she worked for nearly eight years as a litigator at the U.S. Department of Justice, dedicating her time to complex commercial litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. Burbank’s work has earned her several accolades, including a Civil Division Special Commendation Award.

Burbank is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude), and clerked for the Honorable David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She has written scholarly work on a variety of topics, including veterans' law, disability rights, voting rights, and illegal exactions. She is an active member in good standing of the Connecticut and North Carolina State Bars, and a VA-accredited attorney. She is admitted to practice before several federal courts, including the Federal Circuit, Court of Federal Claims, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.



Hector Matascastillo

Matascastillo, MSW, LICSW, was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and raised in Chicago. At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Army and served in multiple countries for various operations over a span of 18 years. After his last deployment to Iraq in 2007 as a First Sergeant of an infantry company, Matascastillo left the military and completed a Master of Social Work degree program at Augsburg College in 2010. He is formally trained in EMDR, DBT, and Healing of Memories protocol and principle-based interventions with an Adlerian theoretical orientation. As a multilingual/multicultural therapist, he has worked with the first responder, Latino, veteran, and SPMI populations from the micro to macro level. He works with men and women, focusing primarily on trauma and shame, and has a strong background in training and public speaking. In addition to his work at Life Development Resources, P.A., he has his own practice as a consultant to law enforcement and local governments and is engaged in multiple community endeavors. Matascastillo is also the mental health consultant and crisis negotiator for the South Metro SWAT Crisis Negotiation Team. He completed the FBI Citizen’s Academy and is a member of the FBI Citizen’s Academy of Minneapolis Alumni Association. A Doctoral Candidate in clinical psychology with a specialty in forensic psychology, Matascastillo lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.



Carl Castro

Dr. Castro is Professor and Director of the Military and Veterans Programs at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. Before joining USC, he served in the U.S. Army for over 30 years, retiring at the rank of colonel. Dr. Castro participated in the Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo Campaigns, Operation Northern Watch, and the Iraq War. He has chaired numerous NATO and international research groups and is currently Chair of a NATO research group on Military Veteran Transitions and Co-Chair of a NATO group exploring Military and Veteran Radicalization. His current research efforts include the exploration of the military culture that leads to acceptance and integration of diverse groups; understanding and ameliorating the effects of military trauma and stress, especially combat and deployment, on service members and their families; the prevention of suicides and violence, such as sexual assault and bullying; and evaluating the process of transitioning into the military and transitioning from military service back to civilian life.



Timothy Grammel

Grammel is currently an Attorney-Advisor at the Defense Counsel Assistance Program with the United States Army Trial Defense Service. In this capacity, he serves as legal counselor and trainer of defense attorneys in the fields of criminal law, complex criminal litigation, and litigation involving special victims and sexual assault.

Prior to his current position, Grammel served as a military judge with the U.S. Army Trial Judiciary. He served across the world, presiding over felony-level criminal trials in the United States, Germany, Italy, England, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, including cases involving national security crimes. In addition, he has taught trial judges and written journal articles about jury instructions, and trained prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys in criminal law, criminal procedure, and trial advocacy.



Patricia Harris

Harris serves as General Counsel at Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. She is an experienced attorney with a demonstrated history of working in military/veteran organizations. With additional experience as a legal advisor to senior government and military officials, Harris is skilled in criminal, administrative and claims law, military justice, medical and malpractice law, cybersecurity, government contracts, labor and personnel law, and victim advocacy. Her background also includes working in client services for victims of sexual assault/harassment. Harris is an excellent trial advocacy and legal research professional with a Graduate Certificate focused on Military Resilience (Counseling) from Liberty University, a Juris Doctor, Master of Law (Military Justice specialty), and a Professional HR certificate. She has also worked on the transformation of the U.S. Army Medical Command during its divestiture of medical care facilities.



Chris Lawrence

Lawrence is a Marine veteran, who served a tour in Iraq in 2007. Following his time in the Marines, Lawrence focused on healing from an injury sustained by an improvised explosive device during deployment. While recovering, Lawrence became involved in the San Diego veteran's community, and worked with nonprofits to assist returning combat veterans. When his recovery was complete, Lawrence threw himself into preparing for entrance into the police academy, where he eventually gained entry and graduated with honors in 2017. Since then, he has been serving the Chula Vista community and working to support his fellow veterans in various capacities.



Vic Martin

Martin is a medically retired U.S. Navy Mineman and outspoken advocate for those with mental health diagnoses. He is a Director at the San Diego County Veterans Coalition, co-chair of the Physical and Emotional Health Action Group, Commander at American Legion Post 275 - La Jolla, and serves in many other capacities to support the veteran community. Martin is proud to have spoken to thousands of people about mental illness and what we can do to better support our own mental health through the use of various techniques, including therapy, medication, yoga, hiking, art, and gardening. He currently resides in San Diego with his wife, Kacy, son, Rawley, and two daughters, Violet, and Skarlet.



Sergeant Major Alford L. McMichael


Lawton Nuss

Lawton R. Nuss is the father, son, and nephew of veterans—and a veteran himself.  After four years as a Marine Corps combat engineering officer and 20 years as a trial attorney in Kansas’s state and federal courts, he was appointed as a justice to the Kansas Supreme Court in 2002.  In 2010 he began serving as the chief justice, the head of the judicial branch of state government.

For the next 10 years, Chief Justice Nuss led the Supreme Court in exercising administrative authority over all courts in Kansas.   His leadership during those challenging times was commended by national and state publications alike, with one prominent newspaper thanking him for having “the kind of clear eye and steady hand that Kansas needs.”

  Nuss retired from the Court with three years left in his term so he could devote more time to help his fellow veterans.  Since then, he has analyzed the Model Veterans Treatment Court Act in an article published by the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Law Review.  In addition to his current work on the transition advisory committee to the national Veterans Justice Commission, he also serves as chair of the board of the Veterans Court Coalition, Inc., and as a member of the board of the Veterans Defense Project in Minneapolis.



Col. William Ostlund

Colonel (ret.) Ostlund enlisted in the Army in 1983, serving with the 1st Battalion, 75th Rangers, and was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield through 1987. As a Staff Sergeant, he transitioned to the Nebraska National Guard’s Long Range Surveillance Detachment and simultaneously enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, joining the ROTC program.

Ostlund was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate in the Infantry and reentered the active Army in 1990. As an officer, he served in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, 1st Infantry Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 75th Ranger Regiment, Strategic Command, Central Command and Special Operations Command. He served six combat tours, service that included leading a platoon in Desert Storm, parachuting into Iraq as an operations officer, and commanding a battalion in Afghanistan that was deemed the most decorated battalion in the Global War on Terror. He also twice commanded a large Counterterrorism Task Force in Afghanistan and commanded a brigade in Afghanistan as well.

Ostlund retired as Director of the Department of Military Instruction at the United States Military Academy (West Point) and has been recognized as a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) in International Relations from the Fletcher School. Additionally, he served as a Senior Service College Fellow at the Fletcher School, and recently completed the Kellogg School’s Understanding Security as a Business Asset Program.

Ostlund’s publications include “On Trust and Leadership,” published by the Modern War Institute (December 2018); “Conventional Force and Special Operation Forces: Interoperability and Interdependence,” published by the Institute of Land Warfare (October 2014); “Irregular Warfare: Counterterrorism Forces in Support of Counterinsurgency Operations,” published by the Institute of Land Warfare (September 2012); “Tactical Leader Lessons Learned in Afghanistan,” published in Military Review (July/August 2009); and “Rifle Platoon Leader (Air Assault): Training and Leading in the Gulf War,” published by the MCOE (1995).



Vincent W. Patton III, Ed.D.


Patricia Ross

Ross was selected in November 2021 as the Commissioner of Veterans Service. She served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Veterans Education Career Transition Resource, or VECTR Center, from 2016 to 2021. The Georgia VECTR Center provides veterans and their families a gateway into Georgia’s 51 public technical colleges and university system schools. In addition, the VECTR Center provides accelerated training in high demand and strategic industries, career counseling, academic advising, and employment assistance. The center’s partnership with other state, federal, and community agencies provides a one-stop-shop to help meet veterans’ needs.

Prior to leading the VECTR Center, Ross served as the first Director of Military Affairs for the Technical College System of Georgia where she led statewide initiatives to expand educational benefits and opportunities for military students at Georgia’s 22 public technical colleges.

After 25 years on active duty in the United States Air Force, Ross retired as a Colonel in October 2014. She culminated her career as the Vice Commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, Robins Air Force Base, where she led the management of facilities and equipment valued at $3.5 billion and the execution of a $161.8 million operating budget. She was also responsible for executing medical, financial, human resources, command and control, civil engineering, environmental, and airfield operations supporting over 55,000 active duty, reserve component, civilians, contractors, retirees, and family members. Prior to her selection as Vice Commander, she served as the Deputy Director for Manpower, Personnel and Services for Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base.

Ross received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Tampa, Florida; a master's degree in systems engineering management from St. Mary’s University, Texas; and a master's degree in military operational arts and science from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. She is also a graduate of the Air War College. Ross is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in leadership from Valdosta State University.



Dr. Jo Sornborger, PsyD


Syrita Steib

A native of Vacherie, Louisiana, Steib graduated from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center as a licensed and certified clinical laboratory scientist. In 2016, she founded Operation Restoration, a New Orleans-based nonprofit that works to support women and girls impacted by incarceration to recognize their full potential, restore their lives, and discover new possibilities. Steib is recognized nationally for her work on dismantling the legal system and removing barriers for women and girls impacted by incarceration while aiding their transition back into the community. She serves on numerous local and national boards and appears regularly as a keynote speaker and panelist on topics of incarceration and injustice. She also was one of 73 people granted a full and unconditional presidential pardon in January 2021.



Maurice Wilson

A retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer with 25 years of service, Wilson is the President/Executive Director of the National Veterans Transition Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization he co-founded with retired Rear Admiral Ronne Froman after serving as an advisory member for the Call of Duty Endowment, where he got his inspiration to design a veterans assistance initiative known as REBOOT.

Troubled with the high unemployment, homelessness, suicide rates, and other issues associated with military-to-civilian reintegration, Wilson designed the REBOOT WorkshopTM, a three-week behavior-based transition program designed to help returning service members/veterans successfully reintegrate back into civilian life after years of military service. Since its inception, REBOOT has achieved a significantly high success rate resulting in Wilson’s recognition by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for the innovative design and impact that REBOOT has had on service members, veterans, and their spouses. To date, REBOOT has helped over 1,600 military members and veterans successfully transition to civilian careers, and it is recognized as the only transition service of its kind in the country to take a holistic approach to veterans' reintegration. REBOOT maintains a 97% success rate and has been independently validated by the University of San Diego, and four doctoral students from Pepperdine University. Wilson is listed in the San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 Book of 500 Influential Business Leaders and is the 2017 California 39th Senate District Veteran of the Year.