Hannula Makes the Most of ROTC at BVU

Hannula Makes the Most of ROTC at BVU

Hannula Makes the Most of ROTC at BVU


Corey Hannula, an athletic training & exercise science major, practices taping an athlete's wrist and thumb.

Corey Hannula knew he wanted to be a leader. He was also interested in the military, so he decided ROTC would be a good fit for his goals.

Hannula, a sophomore athletic training and exercise science (human performance) double major from Maplewood, Minn., chose the ROTC program at Buena Vista University because he saw the opportunity to become a leader and also part of a close-knit group.

“I really like the smaller atmosphere,” Corey says. “At the bigger schools, you know the other people in ROTC, but here, I see them in classes, and we do homework together. We all hang out at the house and get to know each other. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie that I don’t think I would have found anywhere else.”

Just two years into his BVU ROTC career, Corey has already learned a lot of valuable skills.

“ROTC focuses on making you a better leader, not just for the Army, but in everyday life,” Corey says. “Thanks to ROTC, I’m able to communicate more effectively, and I’ve learned how to not just get things done, but make sure they’re done correctly each step of the way. There aren’t as many loose ends to tie up at the end of the project. I’ve also learned how to interact with people I wouldn’t otherwise work with and how to manage people. These are all skills I’ll definitely need in any work setting in the future.”

Corey has had plenty of opportunities to build his skills and work through new projects. As a sophomore, he has completed one internship through the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) Program. Students are selected for these internships on the basis of their grade point average, physical fitness and participation in the ROTC program. Last summer, Corey spent one month in Guatemala, working as a CULP translator.

“I knew I wanted to be in a program that would help me with my language skills,” Corey says. “We stayed out of the tourist areas, and really saw how people there lived. My Spanish skills were about medium, but they improved greatly during my time in Guatemala. I worked as a translator for the Navy, while they were providing health care to people there. Immersion in the culture was a really great experience for me.”

This summer, Corey will be doing another CULP internship. This time, he is going to Bosnia to work with the local military. Details about his specific mission are still unknown, but he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I tried to choose one that was different from the last one I did,” Corey says. “My Guatemala internship was very humanitarian-focused. This one will be working with the military. I’m excited to see what we’ll be doing.”

Corey’s international experiences are only part of his young ROTC career. He has done plenty domestically and within the BVU program. As a freshman, he competed in the Ranger Buddy Challenge, a competition held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. which is designed to provide the ultimate physical and mental challenges to cadets. He served as coach for the BVU ROTC cadets who competed and placed 3rd in the 2012 Ranger Buddy Challenge.

He was selected as the Distinguished Cadet of the Year for the MS2 (sophomore) class. This award is given to one cadet in each class, based on his or her activities, involvement and achievements in the program. Corey is humble about the award and insists the skills he learns in ROTC are the real prize.

“ROTC is a really rewarding experience,” Corey says. “It’s a lot of work and a real time commitment, but you get out of it what you put into it. Best of all, there are people there to help you every step of the way as long as you’re willing to put the work in.”

In addition to ROTC, Corey is the treasurer of the Buena Vista Athletic Training Society, a member of the Human Performance Student Organization and a runner on the BVU cross country team.