ROTC grad students ‘rare’

Ariane R. Cavin

Student pursues career in federal law enforcement

Justice studies major Jennifer Hergenroeder is learning to live life as a graduate student and a ROTC cadet. ARIANE R. CAVIN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Four years of undergraduate studies, two years of graduate studies and four years of military service.

Jennifer Hergenroeder, graduate justice studies major, plans to spend four years in the Army after completing graduate school.

Hergenroeder joined the Army ROTC as a graduate student while receiving her Master’s degree in criminal justice.

“The deeper I got into my studies of criminal justice, the more I wanted to pursue a career in federal law enforcement,” she said. “Federal law enforcement agencies prefer employees with military background because they are disciplined and they have valuable life experience.”

Hergenroeder wanted to go to Officer Candidate School for the Army last summer, but decided to return to school to receive her master’s degree. Instead, she decided to join the Army through ROTC.

At first, she was unsure if graduate students could participate in ROTC. She called Maj. Joe Paydock, enrollment and scholarship officer of ROTC, and he helped her ease into Kent State’s ROTC program ever since.

“It is comparatively rare for graduate students to be in ROTC,” Lt. Col. Dean Costas, professor of military science, said. “A vast majority of students are undergrads.”

The moment Hergenroeder started the program, she said she realized how there are special people involved in ROTC at Kent State.

“I’m excited about getting to know everyone and becoming part of the ROTC family,” she said.

Because she missed out on the first two years of ROTC, Hergenroeder will have to attend the Leadership Training Course in Fort Knox, Ky. this summer. Hergenroeder is excited about going because it will help her catch up on the two years she missed.

At Fort Knox, cadets receive training to prepare them for advanced ROTC courses they will take at their campus. Cadets are placed into squads and take on roles of leadership. Four weeks of intensive training during the course will lead cadets to becoming an officer in the Army.

“She is doing everything the other cadets are doing in a more compressed time,” Costas said. “Her athletic background will help her in the military.”

The 2001 Ashtabula High School graduate played volleyball, basketball and softball at her alma mater. She said she enjoys doing physical training on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Hergenroeder said cadets do a lot of sit-ups, push-ups and running during physical training – something she doesn’t mind.

“PT (physical training) keeps me motivated and in shape,” she said. “It’s a good workout.”

She looks forward to jumping into the Army culture and keeps learning about the Army as one of her top priorities. Hergenroeder wants to be prepared for the leadership role given to cadets in the advanced courses.

Hergenroeder is currently taking eight credit hours in the Master’s program. She wants to put all of her focus on ROTC. She is enrolled in the basic course in ROTC in which she learns about military skills and the fundamentals of leadership. The basic course teaches more about the history and origins of the Army as well as customs and traditions.

So far, easing into her first semester as a graduate student and a ROTC cadet has been easy for Hergenroeder.

“Graduate students have a higher degree of maturity,” Costas said. “She has a low key personality and confidence.”

She plans to graduate in May 2008 and spend at least four years in the Army. She wants to work in Military Intelligence and then work for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Contact ROTC reporter Ariane R. Cavin at [email protected]