Meet Andrew Romza, Class of 2018
Major: Statistical and Operations Research
How did you decide to get involved with ROTC?
I actually didn’t come to college thinking that I was going to be in ROTC. I very much stumbled across it when I saw an advertisement for it in a student bulletin and thought it would be an interesting class. It wasn’t really until I started taking the classes at the Armory that I realized ROTC was much more than any one little paragraph could say. I really got invested in the program, and it became a lifestyle.
What is a day in the life of an ROTC cadet?
On any given week, you’re putting in 10-15 hours of work, which is great. It’s very fulfilling because you’re working with people who share the same passions. For example, I work with my peers in the operations office to plan events for ROTC. It’s very detailed and everything has to come together within the program in order for the cadets to get effective training to become better leaders, to go out into the army, and later into the civilian world to use the experience they gained here to help others and develop them into leaders as well.
What opportunities have you had with ROTC?
ROTC fills my summers. The summer after my sophomore year, I was given the opportunity to train in Mozambique with their military. But like many things in the army, it was not purely military training for that month. It was a week of that, and then a week of building gardens in a section of their capital. Then in the next week, I worked with the US Embassy to teach Mozambicans who have US Citizenship how to speak English.
ROTC is very eclectic. You can find yourself doing classwork one moment, and then going out and running with some cadets the other moment, then traveling all over the world. In the end, ROTC transforms you and makes you a better person. ROTC is the best conduit for developing leadership and developing others at the same time.
I really chose Carolina because of the quality of the education. The statistics department here is one of the best. For me, I got into a number of different schools that had good math and statistics programs, but Carolina just stuck out as as a very unique opportunity to learn both actuarial and optimization skills, of which other colleges only had one or the other.
Meet Taylor Edwards, Class of 2017
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA
Why did you join Army ROTC at UNC?
I joined ROTC my junior year, and I really love it. At first I was skeptical because you have to wake up at 5 a.m. and have to devote a lot of time to it, but it really taught me to step outside my comfort zone. It gave me a lot more confidence, and it brought me closer to a lot of people that I may not have otherwise met.
I had a select view of the world and everything around me, but ROTC really opened my eyes to a bigger picture. It focuses on a bigger picture of life, not just what’s right in front of you and what you’ve always known.
What can students expect throughout the program?
For first year you have to take one class per semester, and it’s pretty light, mostly on tactics and what a normal army unit would do. You have physical training (PT) three days a week and one two-hour lab. And there will be that steady progression from your first year to your senior year each semester that you take the classes.
As you progress to the higher classes, it’s more focused on leadership, instead of the tactical aspect of it. You’ll go more in depth about ethics and what you think about policies that are passed in the government. Now as a senior, we talk a lot about leadership, especially what it means to be a good leader. They really help you with your strengths and weaknesses to improve your leadership skills.
I came here for a tour the summer before my senior year of high school and fell in love with the atmosphere, the look of the campus, and the Psychology department with its promise of small, intimate classes and research opportunities. Surprisingly, Carolina offered me more money in scholarships than any of the in-state schools I got into, which was an added bonus on top of my early devotion to going to this school.
Meet Emily Drake, Class of 2018
Majors: Environmental Science and Peace, War, and Defense
What do you like most about ROTC?
For me, the best parts of ROTC are obviously the people. I get to know some amazing students who are interested in the same stuff I am. I’ve met not just students but also officers and enlisted people who will be mentors for the rest of my life in all walks of life.
What kind of opportunities has the UNC ROTC provided?
I went to Morocco this summer for 8 weeks on a fully paid-for study abroad program. I have friends who have studied in Germany, Comoros, Jordan, all over the world through the Army, and it’s all paid for. Being out of state, 100% of my tuition is covered, I get a book stipend and monthly stipend, and I also get some really amazing training opportunities. After I graduate, I can have a full time job if I want, or if I want to go to grad school, I’ll have a part time job on the weekends. It’s all because of the U.S. Army.
I will say hands down, the people who come out of ROTC are better prepared and better leaders than anyone else in the country. It’s an amazing program and the Tar Heel battalion are like family to me.
I chose Carolina because I’m from New Jersey, and the weather down here is way, way nicer. I’ve also lived in the same house for 18 years of my life and I came here not knowing anyone. It forced me to grow, and there’s no better place to grow than Carolina. The people are amazing, the campus is gorgeous, and the teachers here will do absolutely anything and everything for you.