AFROTC to offer accelerated program for seniors and graduate students

Zachary Smith, Staff Writer

The Wilkes University Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) will offer a one-year accelerated program for seniors and graduate students in the 2017 fall semester.

The accelerated program will allow students to complete the training in one year instead of the four years that it typically takes.

“The material and lessons covered in the accelerated program are the same as in the four-year program, but just on a condensed level“ said Major Melissa Bierma, an assistant professor to the department. “As with any accelerated program, the learning curve is much steeper in that sense, therefore we are looking for dedicated students ready for a challenge.”

The corps is a professional training program offered in 145 higher learning institutions throughout the country that prepares college students for future leadership roles as an Air Force Officer that they may pursue after graduation.

Officers make up just 20 percent of the military and serve in a wide variety of management and leadership roles based on their experience and education.

There are multiple career fields that are available to officers, including engineers, pilots, cyber operations, nursing, doctors and Judge Advocate General (JAG) just to name a few.

“This is a tremendous responsibility and the cadet program prepares students to take on these leadership roles,” Major Bierma said.

For those who join, the corps offers students multiple benefits. Full and partial scholarships are offered to qualified students who are in the program. All scholarships also come with a $600 allowance for student books as well as a monthly stipend that is dependent on the class year of the student, ranging from $300 for freshmen to up to $500 for seniors.

Those who complete the program will also enter active duty service at the rank of Second Lieutenant.

“On average, a Second Lieutenant can expect to make around $56,000 to $60,000 in their first year on active duty,” Bierma noted.

Active duty members are also provided with life insurance, no-cost health insurance, a gym membership and tax-free shopping on base. Any students interested in learning more can go to the Wilkes ROTC website at www.wilkes.edu/rotc or visit the national website at www.afrotc.com.

Classes occur on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and student observers are welcome. Interested students can call their office at 570-408-4860 or email [email protected]