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      ROTC Focus

      Hundreds Attend Information Night for Service Academies and ROTC

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      Widener ROTC leadership

      Lt. Col. Justin J. Shaffer speaks at the All Service Academy and ROTC Information Event.

      Widener's commitment to military service was on display recently when the university partnered with American service academies to host an information night.

      The All Service Academy and ROTC Information Event brought roughly 300 high school students and their families to Main Campus. They learned more about the process involved in attaining an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academies in Connecticut and New York, respectively. Participants also learned about ROTC opportunities through the Dauntless Battalion, based at Widener.

      "This was the first time Widener has played host to this event, and it was a valuable opportunity for the university to welcome this cohort of high school students who have military service on their minds," Director of Admissions Jason Britton said.

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      Widener welcome

      Army ROTC Enrollment Officer Keith R. Karbel welcomes visitors to the event.

      Britton worked with Keith Karbel, Widener's Army ROTC enrollment officer, in planning the event. Cadets from the Dauntless Battalion volunteered to staff it, directing visitors to information breakout sessions and answering questions. The PMC Museum was also open for visitors.

      "By hosting this event, it could bring potential interest to the school," freshman Cadet Mason Sontag, a biology pre-veterinary medicine major, said. "I feel ROTC is the best choice because you get that college social life, as well as military life, instead of just military life 24-7."

      Visitors were able to take part in a live remote video conference with Amanda Toth, service academy coordinator for U.S. Senator Bob Casey. She addressed the crowd over a large screen in Alumni Auditorium, explaining her office received approximately 400 completed applications for appointments to U.S. service academies this fall. Of those, the academies generally take about one to two students each year.

      "Army ROTC programs like ours at Widener are a fantastic option for students who are inclined to military service-related education who don't obtain those appointments," Britton said. "These are generally outstanding students who already display leadership qualities and a heart for community service. We were pleased to show off what Widener offers."

      High school students and their families said they were thankful for the chance to learn more about the application processes and the opportunities of education through military service.

      "It was very helpful. It laid out everything you have to do," said Luke Pryor, a senior at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia.


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