ROTC programs provide students world experience

Abby Roche

For NMU ROTC cadets, the world is their classroom, literally. This summer, Northern Michigan University’s ROTC program will be giving nine student cadets the opportunity to travel throughout the world while developing their cultural awareness and foreign language proficiency skills through either the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program or the Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP).

Two NMU students, senior nursing majors Chelsea Farquar and Stephanie Roberts will be completing the NSTP.

Cadet Farquar leaves Monday, June 7 to complete her placement in Frankfurt, Germany at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which is the largest military hospital outside of the United States.

According to visiting faculty of military science Master Sgt. James Hoffman, Landstuhl is one of the best hospitals to gain experience in because of its size and role as the primary care center for soldiers wounded in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

“It’s really a one-up for Farquar’s professional career,” Hoffman said.

“The things she will see there and the experiences she is going to get is going to be far beyond what your average nursing student experiences.”

Farquar said she is just trying to embrace this opportunity and take advantage of both the skills and memories she will take away from her month away.

“I am hoping that by the end of my time I will have experiences that are new to me both in and out of the hospital setting,” Farquar said.

According to visiting faculty of military science Capt. James Kolky, Farquar will be getting more than just practical nursing experience.

“It’s also the experience of working with other agencies, like the Airforce and Navy doctors, which will give her a lot of opportunities to have some kind of joint interagency collaboration,” Kolky said.

“Having opportunities like the NSTP really places her higher among her peers because of her new understanding of these other branches.”

In addition to the two NSTP cadets, NMU will be sending seven other cadets to various countries through the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) Program.

Senior nursing major MacKenzie Carlson, senior management of health and fitness major Jorgen Chapin, junior criminal justice major Gary Graf, junior biology major Adam Schafer, junior Michael Serbentas, junior secondary education of social studies major Adam Shoop and junior Elizabeth Vaughn will travel to countries such as Chile and Vietnam.

In 2013, The United States Cadet Command’s Program and CULP sent 1,200 ROTC Cadets across 40 different countries worldwide.

Cadets will teach English, perform humanitarian projects or participate in real military exercises known as military-to-military trips.

Several factors, such as GPA, physical fitness and an essay are taken into account when cadets are competing for CULP slots.

Trips typically incorporate approximately 20 cadets, who travel in small groups and are led by senior leader cadres, officers that teach ROTC classes.

The trips which last approximately one month are held in conjunction with a civilian agency or non-governmental agency.

Farquar said while all nine students will be getting leadership training that does directly impact their professional career of choice they will also be taking away valuable skills that many cadets their age do not always get exposure to.

For Farquar this is more than just an opportunity to travel but an opportunity to take advantage and hopefully fulfill her dreams.

“This is an amazing opportunity because it is has always been my dream to be stationed in Germany at this hospital,” Farquar said.

“To be there in itself is an opportunity to show my work ethic and personality, which is something I couldn’t do by just talking to personnel over the phone. I just really want to make the most of this opportunity and this dream of mine.”