No one in Pia Smith's family had ever been in the military, so an Army ROTC scholarship was the furthest thing from her mind when she was looking for ways to finance a college education. But the terms of the scholarship seemed much too good to pass up. "The Army offered me a four-year merit scholarship to the college of my choice," says Smith, a 1998 graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. "I wanted to come to Syracuse for the journalism school. The Army told me I could try the scholarship and they would pay 80 percent of my tuition for my first year. If I didn't like it, I could renege on my contract without owing them any obligations. I thought that was a pretty good deal, so I gave it a try."
photo      Smith admits she didn't "have a clue" what she was getting into and was completely unaware of the scope of physical training required of ROTC cadets. That turned out to be a bit of a shock. "On my first day of physical training we had to run two miles," she says. "I had never run two miles before in my life, so I told the captain I didn't think I'd be able to make it. He looked at me and said, 'Cadet Smith, you are going to run these two miles. If you let me catch you, you're going to have to run it again.' I was terrified and began running like you wouldn't believe. At the end, I was exhausted and angry. I called my mother and told her that this ROTC program was not for me. But she said to me, 'Pia, you made it.' And she was right. ROTC taught me that I could do anything once I set my mind to it."
photo      These days, two-mile runs are nothing extraordinary for Smith, who had the stamina to pursue a number of extracurricular activities, including being one of the Otto the Orange mascots on the varsity cheerleading squad. Smith graduated in May and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army. She is delaying her active duty service so she can continue her education by attending law school, with an eye toward becoming a military lawyer in the Judicial Advocate General Corps.
      Smith was pleased with her ROTC experience and recommends it to other students. "It's a really great program," she says. "It will teach you a lot about yourself, as well as enhance your ability to work with other people. You learn to pull together as a team in a way that you really won't do in other organizations."

Back to page 1
Back to page 2
Back to page 3
Back to page 4
Back to page 5

Main Home Page Summer 1998 Issue Contents
Chancellor's Message Opening Remarks In Basket
H. Douglas Barclay Vision Quest Student Career Services
Reserve Officers Training Corps Quad Angles Campaign News
Student Center Faculty Focus Research Report
View from the Hill University Place

E-mail the magazine
E-mail the web guy
820 Comstock Ave., Rm. 308
Syracuse, NY 13244-5040