Four BVU Students Selected for ROTC's International Program

Four BVU Students Selected for ROTC's International Program

Four BVU Students Selected for ROTC's International Program
Brandy Fowler, Matthew Hanson, Devin Vander Molen and Deni Peters.

Four ROTC cadets at Buena Vista University will be spending three weeks abroad this summer learning about other countries' cultures and military forces as part of the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) Program.

"This year was by far the most competitive with 2,300 cadets applying for 1,350 open slots," says Capt. Jared Gledhill, assistant professor of military science and officer in charge of the ROTC program at BVU. "This is a great opportunity for these cadets to get out and see the world. What the cadets bring back to campus after this experience is immeasurable. They bring a whole new outlook and understanding of the different cultures and military operations of the places they've visited."

The BVU students and the countries they will be visiting are:

  • Brandy Fowler, a freshman political science and public administration double major from Spirit Lake - Paraguay
  • Matthew Hanson, a sophomore business economics major from Stanton - Ukraine
  • Devin Vander Molen, a sophomore history major from Pella - Kosovo
  • Deni Peters, a junior Spanish education major from Lake Park - Kyrgyzstan

The students were selected for the CULP Program on basis of their grade point average, physical fitness and participation in the ROTC program.As part of the program, students will spend a week of readiness training and team building at Fort Knox and three weeks in the host country.

"I'm excited to get immersed in another culture, both the civilian and military aspects," says Deni, who participated in the program in 2012 in Tanzania. "I've learned that each new country I travel to opens up my eyes more and more. I can't wait to see how the people of Kyrgyzstan live."

"I hope to take a way a better understanding of the culture of Ukraine," says Matthew. "It is also an opportunity to be with other cadets from other parts of the nation. I like hearing peoples' opinions of the United States and other world views and exchanging ideas with anyone that I can."

In addition to learning about Kosovo's culture, Devin says he's looking forward to becoming familiarized with the country's military forces. "I want to learn about Kosovo's day-to-day military operations and how their training differs from ours," he says

Although the underlying focus of the CULP Program is cultural immersion regardless of the destination, each trip has its own distinct purpose. Some trips are military-focused with the objective to develop a better understanding of the host country's military operations. Other trips support non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and involve conducting humanitarian services.

"I hope to learn as much as I possibly can about Paraguay from this trip," says Brandy, whose upcoming trip is a humanitarian mission that involves teaching English to students. "This will be the first time that I experience a culture outside of the United States. I can't wait to learn about the native culture and the country's history."

"I think cadets should participate in the CULP program because traveling gives a person a better understanding that no matter how far away or how different the cultures are, people are people," adds Deni. "My goal is to create connections with the people in Kyrgyzstan, get to know them better, and in return, they will understand Americans better."

In addition to BVU cadets receiving academic credit for their participation in the CULP Program, this is the first year BVU is offering credit to cadets from other colleges who wish to take part in the program.

"This year students from other universities can sign up for the class online and transfer the credits to their home university," says Gledhill. "This proves again just how supportive BVU is of the world-class ROTC program we have here on campus."