by Jeff Samoray, Published January 09, 2013
Josh Hurst, a senior International Affairs major from Canton, has a perfect blend between his personal and school life.
Since enrolling at Eastern, he's been preparing for a military career through the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). As one of the program's top cadets, he's carrying a 3.8 grade-point average and has earned the title of battalion commander. Some days run 14 hours. But that doesn't deter Hurst, who will pursue an Army military intelligence position after graduating.
"I spend most of my day in physical fitness training and mentoring the younger cadets," Hurst says. "Sometimes I arrive as early as 5 a.m. As a battalion commander, I'm learning what it takes to be an Army officer. That involves a lot of multitasking. But it's not hard to juggle my schoolwork and ROTC responsibilities. The ones who have it hard are the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan."
There are presently about 100 ROTC cadets at Eastern. The program is part of the cadet's college curriculum and is designed to produce military leaders. Full, four-year scholarships are available to many high-achieving cadets. Scholarship recipients agree to complete four years of military service. Selected cadets may choose to serve part-time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.
"ROTC isn't basic training and it's not the Boy Scouts," says Lieutenant Colonel Michael Wise, professor of Military Science. He also directs EMU's ROTC program. "It's a year-round leadership development course that produces degreed students who are offered a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. ROTC produces military officers just like West Point. We're just smaller."
A typical week for a ROTC cadet includes three one-hour physical fitness training sessions, a two-hour classroom session, a two-hour training meeting, and a weekly leadership laboratory. The program also includes occasional weekend field training exercises.
"The time commitment is similar to that of a student-athlete who plays a varsity sport," Wise says.
Cadets continue training throughout the summer. A program highlight is the four-and-a-half week Leadership Development and Assessment Course, which takes place each summer at Ft. Lewis, Wash. Cadets between their junior and senior years from across the nation are evaluated and rated against their peers. Hurst is ranked in the top 10 percent of all cadets nationally.
"I pride myself on my college career and ROTC," Hurst says. "It's all about trying to be better today than I was yesterday. My International Affairs degree is a perfect match for my military intelligence goal. After completing my Army career, I'd like to work at the CIA or Pentagon as an intelligence analyst."
Wise has no doubts that Hurst will be successful.
"His potential is unlimited," Wise says. "He's always had big dreams and he's able to make them achievable. He's been able to succeed because of his determination. Hurst is among those cadets that we know will be a standout immediately upon graduating. Cadets like him learn to be responsible young adults and become part of a successful team. Those benefits, coupled with their academic experience, will benefit them throughout their lives."
Visit the EMU ROTC website to learn more about the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps and the benefits of cadet life.