by Danielle Wagner
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) The University of Northern Iowa has 33 students in the Reserve Officer Training Corps or ROTC.
ROTC trains young men and women to be leaders in the branches of the Army. The words leadership and excellence are prominent in the classroom, on the uniforms and in the minds of the members.
"It's character, integrity and respect. It's things we learn about when we're younger, but when you're here you have to apply them or you won't succeed," said senior Tyler Schick.
Four students I spoke with all joined for different reasons, but say they're better people for having joined.
"Focuses on the leadership qualities that make a good officer, soldier and person," said senior Aaron Berg.
Berg hopes to one day be a politician.
"I think you have to want to serve not for yourself but for your county and the betterment of your country," he said.
Brian Kuennen almost dropped out of college as a sophomore before joining ROTC. Now he's set to graduate.
"You'll have people mold you, give you skills you can't get from other classes that you can only get here and you can take those skills and apply them to everyday life," said Kuennen.
It's Colonel John Roadcap's job to get these students ready for everyday life and life as a soldier.
"ROTC is not a combat course. We instill values and develop those values. It's a leadership curriculum," said Colonel Roadcap.
ROTC requires physical training three days a week and classes two days a week. Colonel Roadcap said with going to war a possibility, it's his job to teach them skills that reach beyond classroom walls.
"When your job is about life and death you have to come up with ideas to get people to creatively think. I hope they get some of the answers they find to life's problems are not in a book. They're not in a manual," he said.
No matter their goals within or outside the Army, the students say they're different people because of ROTC.
"I'd say being in ROTC has made me more confident, especially when I first came to college I didn't like giving speeches, but now I don't have a problem getting in front of a group of people," said Matt Ludemann.
"It's just a great leadership program and helps you become the best you can be," said Tyler Schick.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner