Wake up at 4:45 a.m.; arrive at PT (physical training) at 5:45 a.m.; get to first class by 8:00 a.m. Stop by the ROTC office during break; knock out some homework. Hang with friends after class and get ready for tomorrow’s activities. This is just a glimpse into the typical day of a U.S. Army ROTC cadet. More specifically, this is a look into Cadet Keith Rowen’s day-to-day. He is a top-performing senior enrolled in Jackson State University’s Army ROTC program.
What probably comes to mind first when looking at Cadet Rowen’s schedule is discipline and balance — qualities that many college students lack. He joined ROTC after observing his sister’s success in the program and knew quickly that he wanted to be part of a team that would challenge and teach him the necessary skills to be a great leader. Of course, there were other benefits that attracted Cadet Rowen to ROTC, such as a scholarship, STEM career opportunities in the Army, leadership training and mentorship, and the translatable skills to take into the real world. As an industrial technology major with a concentration in emergency management, Cadet Rowen knew that being part of ROTC would give him the necessary training and skills for a successful career in that field — both in the Army and in the civilian world.
Since joining ROTC, Cadet Rowen has had more opportunities than he ever imagined. He attended the U.S. Army’s Air Assault and Airborne School, spent the summer at West Point in New York for a Cadet Field Training, and best of all, has made life-long friends along the way. Cadet Rowen credits his experience in ROTC as the stepping-stone to his overall success. From the training and discipline that he has achieved in ROTC to the networking opportunities with fellow cadets and Soldiers, Cadet Rowen has quickly distinguished himself from the rest of the crowd by being the top pick for internship opportunities, as well as in leadership roles at his school, including his recent recognition as Mr. Army ROTC for the 2017-2018 academic school year. This summer, he had an internship with the National Weather Service, offering a completely different experience than his previous internship, which focused on forensics in Largo, Fla.
Cadet Rowen is living out the exciting experiences that he hoped to accomplish while being in ROTC, including the opportunities to try a variety of STEM-related jobs. Cadet Rowen knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a STEM career. His mother, who is an educator and his ninth grade math teacher was the first person to peak his interest in CTE. The Army often looks for Soldiers like Cadet Rowen, who have a strong CTE background, because it prepares Soldiers for STEM careers through applied technical training, rigorous academics and a focus on employability skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork. Cadet Rowen is just one of many great examples of the growth opportunities available through CTE and ROTC.
Not only has Cadet Rowen grown professionally and in his academics, his attitude regarding success has also evolved. Once known as the kid who didn’t want to ask for help when trying to achieve a goal, Cadet Rowen now embraces help from his peers and mentors, who have given him advice and encouraged him to keep pushing forward, even when it seems impossible. Now a mentor himself, Cadet Rowen leads by example, showing cadets all the endless possibilities from being involved in an ROTC program.
As he nears graduation, Cadet Rowen plans on joining the Army Engineer Corps to become a combat engineer, where he knows he will have the opportunity to explore a variety of career and leadership roles, as well as be a part of a supportive team, comprised of members who are expertly trained in their respective specialties.
To learn more about Army ROTC and the opportunities available in the Army, visit www.goarmy.com/ROTC or contact an Education Services Specialist at your local recruiting office.
Cadet Keith Rowen (second from left) is pictured with his National Weather Service Team during his summer internship program.