Army ROTC students gain worldwide leadership experience

Penn State ROTC students use a black light during the biometrics and forensic Army military police internship in Largo, Fla.  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Army ROTC students have completed scores of leadership training programs this year throughout the world, including the Nurse Summer Training Program at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu and the Cadet Command internship at the National Forensic Science Technology Center in Largo, Fla. 

Penn State Army ROTC is a class that any student on campus can take for up to four semesters. Students receive elective credit for a leadership development and training course at academic institutions across the nation. Besides the classroom portion of the course which is located in Wagner Building, Army ROTC includes a leadership lab from every Thursday and physical fitness training at 6 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

ROTC students who want to be officers in the U.S. Army compete to contract as an ROTC cadet. Many students, who contract compete and earn four-, three- or two-year full-tuition scholarships. In exchange for the tuition benefits, students must serve as an officer in the Army for as many as eight years in a variety career fields. Before they serve as an officer though, these students have the opportunity to attend training events worldwide.

As part of the world-class leadership training offered in Army ROTC, students can apply for the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program. CULP is a program instituted by the Department of Defense to assist lesser developed countries, exchange language and cultural experiences and build better relationships with foreign nations. This past summer, Army ROTC Cadet Jodie Villegas traveled to Lithuania while Cadet Tyler Smith spent his summer weeks in Paraguay. Cadet Matthew Medlin traveled to El Salvador, Cadet Brian Wawrzyniak taught in Thailand and Cadet Alexander Kabusk worked in Senegal. While culture and language are the major program goals, Penn State cadets this past summer taught English, conducted real world security cooperation missions through U.S. embassy country teams, worked with other nation’s militaries on a variety of projects, conducted Foreign Service projects and attended foreign schools/training.

Cadet Mary Nowakowski attended the Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu while Cadet Ashley Olivieri attended NSTP at Fort Bragg, N.C. NSTP is a program that allows nursing major cadets to attend an Army Medical Facility in order to develop and practice leadership in a clinical environment. Nurse cadets work beside a Army Nurse Corp officer preceptor to gain these critical skills. Cadet Amanda Pritt was selected to attend the Army Medical Department Internship Program at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Pritt was exposed to leadership training in a medical setting at an Army Medical Facility as well. Working under a preceptor, ROTC students like Pritt worked in multiple capacities during the summer. ROTC students pursuing majors in audiology, clinical lab, dietetics, nutrition care, optometry, pathology, preventive medicine, veterinary medicine and other similar majors are encouraged to apply.

Cadet Andrea Gerard was one of 12 cadets selected nationwide to attend a cadet command internship at the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) in Largo, Fla. During this training event, cadets focused on forensic and biometric training at crime scenes. Gerard first learned how to search a crime scene and use advance camera techniques to help document evidence. During the internship, Gerard learned how to examine and lift fingerprints, examine footwear prints and tire tracks, learned about computer triage forensics, explosives detection, chemical analysis, media exploitation, improvised explosive device investigation and the capabilities of a deployable forensic laboratory. Gerard also learned how to do biological screening to identify DNA, blood and semen. She learned about using the proper equipment to detect drugs and explosives from soil samples. The two-week training concluded as Gerard worked with her team to investigate a military crime scene.

Two cadets from the Penn State Army ROTC program found themselves involved with Project Global Officer (GO). Project GO is a collaborative initiative that promotes critical language education, study abroad and intercultural dialogue opportunities for ROTC cadets across the nation. Project GO programs focus exclusively on the languages and countries of the Middle East, Asia, Central Asia and Africa. This year Cadet Alexander Bedrin was selected to travel to Russia while Cadet Meredith Buel was selected to travel to Morocco.

Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) gives junior level ROTC students the opportunity to conduct an internship for four weeks at U.S. Army bases in order to experience leadership training while job shadowing active duty Army platoon leaders. Cadet Aaron Felling conducted CTLT at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, while Cadet Ryan Quinn traveled north to Fort Richardson, Alaska. Cadet Stylian Tsinaroglou went across the Pacific to Youngsan, Korea. Lastly, the cadet battalion commander, the senior cadet in-charge, Matthew Kyper job shadowed platoon leaders at Fort Carson, Colo.

Some of the better known training for ROTC cadets included Airborne School for current Cadets Michael Coleman, Gloria Goldman and Daniel Bopp at Fort Benning, Ga. Airborne School is the U.S. Army’s school for teaching basic parachutist training; the school concludes with each paratrooper conducting five combat jumps out of a C-130 or C-17 aircraft. Cadets Jonathan Graham, Kirill Zemlyanskiy, Victor Nguyen and Jacob Boyle successfully completed Air Assault School, which includes multiple aircraft orientation courses, slingload operations, rappelling techniques and fast rope techniques. This school concluded with a 12-mile ruck march completed in under three hours.

For more information, on being an Army ROTC cadet or becoming an officer in the U.S. Army, contact Matt Hoover by visiting 211 Wagner Building or calling 814-863-0368.

ROTC cadets completed the following programs during the summer:Leaders Training Course at Fort Knox, Ky.:-- Scott Lauder-- Brian McDermott-- Daniel Picone-- Josh Rogers-- Andrew Steighner-- Meghan Vetter-- Cara Williams-- Josh WilliamsAirborne School at Fort Benning, Ga.:-- Michael Coleman-- Gloria Goldman-- Daniel BoppAir Assault School:-- Jonathan Graham (Fort Benning)-- Kirill Zemlyanskiy (Fort Benning)-- Victor Nguyen (Camp Rilea, Wash.)-- Jacob Boyle (Fort Hood, Texas)Cadet Troop Leader Training:-- Alex Costello (Fort Jackson, S.C.)-- Chelsea Allen (Fort Drum, N.Y.)-- Clayton Burkhardt (Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.)-- Chase Englund (Fort Riley, Kan.)-- Aaron Felling (Schofield Barracks, Hawaii)-- Matthew Kyper (Fort Carson, Colo.)-- Ryan Quinn (Fort Richardson, Alaska)-- Matthew Santamaria (Fort Hood, Texas)-- Conner Scharff (Fort Wainwright, Alaska)-- William Sefcik (Fort Lewis, Wash.)-- Stylian Tsinaroglou (Youngsan, Korea)Nurse Summer Training Program:-- Mary Nowakowski (Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii)-- Ashley Olivieri (Fort Bragg, N.C.)Project Global Officers:-- Alexander Bedrin (Russia)-- Meredith Buel (Morocco)Cadet Command/National Forensic Science Technology Center Internship:-- Andrea Gerard (Largo, Fla.)Army Medical Department Internship Program:-- Amanda Pritt (Fort Sam Houston, Texas)Cultural Learning and Understanding Program:-- Kate Bassett (Lithuania)-- Jacob Boyle (Paraguay)-- Andrew Fletcher (Lithuania)-- John Funk (Benin)-- Regina Gettig (Thailand)-- Alexander Kabusk (Senegal)-- Matthew Medlin (El Salvador)-- Matthew Olphin (Lithuania)-- Michael Scott (Romania)-- Tyler Smith (Paraguay)-- Jodie Villegas (Lithuania)-- Brian Wawrzyniak (Thailand)-- Brad Frantangelo (Benin)

Last Updated October 22, 2013