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09-30-2014

Clarkson University Students Learn About Foreign Cultures, Languages Abroad Through Special ROTC Program

Seven Clarkson University students traveled around the world this summer through Army ROTC's Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency programs.

Seven Clarkson University students traveled around the world this summer through Army ROTC's Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency programs. Back row, left to right: Nicholas Zapotoski '17, Timothy Pierce '17, Jacob Cappiello '16, Sally Mooney '16, and Courtney Quinn '16. Front row, left to right: Adam Yates '16, Ashley Forshey '16, Thomas Plumb '16 and Nicholas Haluska '16.Clarkson cadets Nicholas Zapotoski '17 traveled to Greece, Jacob Cappiello '16 traveled to Cape Verde, Ashley Forshey '16 traveled to Thailand, Nicholas Haluska '16 traveled to Croatia, Timothy Pierce '17 traveled to Germany, Courtney Quinn '16 traveled to Bulgaria and Adam Yates '16 traveled to Hungary to discover how people live in other countries.

Sally Mooney '16, from SUNY Potsdam, and Thomas Plumb '16, from SUNY Canton, also participated in CULP programs in Romania and Poland, respectively.

Zapotoski participated in a military-to-military program where he learned how the military in Greece operates. While there are differences, he said, there are also many similarities.

"It's just neat to see how cadets from other countries train," he said. "I made a lot of cool friends. As cadets, we're not that different."

Forshey said she ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with locals every day as part of her program teaching English in Thailand.

"I hadn't traveled anywhere before," she said, "so it was nice to see how they viewed us as Americans, and I was welcomed into the culture like a family."

Approximately 1,400 Army ROTC cadets traveled to more than 40 countries as part of CULP this year. The program gives cadets an opportunity to explore the globe, spending up to four weeks immersed in foreign cultures, practicing leadership skills, learning more about how other cultures around the world view the U.S. and, in the process, learning more about themselves.

These missions create better military leaders who are educated in world cultures and values, and better equipped to function in a variety of complex circumstances. Cadets also gain valuable experience in today's geo-political and geo-economic world, where countries and economies are tied together. The training prepares them for civilian careers while serving in the reserve components, or in industry and business after their army service.

Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Abrahm DiMarco said knowledge of other cultures becomes increasingly important as the United States develops international connections. He said students will interact with people from around the globe in higher education, in the military and in the business world.

"In order to work with people in foreign countries in an effective manner, you have to have an understanding of different cultures and you have to understand that not everybody does things or things the way we do," DiMarco said. "We're trying, in some ways, to induce culture shock to give them that exposure and that training."

Cadets participate in CULP programs generally through one of four varieties: teaching English to students and in turn learning the native culture and language; humanitarian missions and service learning projects; military-to-military training with host cadet corps or partner nation military; or State Partnership Program missions with the National Guard.

"It's a great experience that's available to all of our ROTC cadets, and when people think about ROTC they often don't understand the opportunities that go along with that," DiMarco said.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command commissions officers to meet the Army’s leadership requirements at 275 host universities and more than 1,000 affiliated colleges across the nation. Commanded by Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs at Fort Knox, Ky., USACC also provides a citizenship program through more than 1,700 high school programs that motivate young people to be strong leaders and better citizens.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Seven Clarkson University students traveled around the world this summer through Army ROTC's Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency programs. Back row, left to right: Nicholas Zapotoski '17, Timothy Pierce '17, Jacob Cappiello '16, Sally Mooney '16, and Courtney Quinn '16. Front row, left to right: Adam Yates '16, Ashley Forshey '16, Thomas Plumb '16 and Nicholas Haluska '16.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/ROTC-CULP.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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