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Nevada, Reno ROTC cadets to participate in cultural understanding program



Former University of Nevada, Reno ROTC Cadet and alumnus Ryan Spinuzzi-Nichols teaches English in China in the summer of 2009 as part of the U.S. Army’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program. This year, 12 cadets from the University have been chosen through a national competitive process to participate in the program.

Twelve cadets chosen through national competitive process to travel abroad this summer

Twelve cadets from the University of Nevada, Reno Army ROTC program have been chosen to travel abroad this summer as part of the U.S. Army’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program. The cadets were awarded the slots in the program through a competitive, national process that considers several factors, including applicants’ grade-point average, physical fitness, an essay and other selection criteria.

“Our students did very well in this competitive process,” said Major Michael Minaudo, chair of the University’s Military Science Department. “This affords them with an opportunity to truly experience and become immersed in a different culture.”

Cadets travel in cadres of approximately 20 students from across the country. The students will volunteer in a variety of countries, including Vietnam, Tajikistan, Singapore, Rwanda, the Philippines, Namibia, Mali, Honduras, Guatemala, Croatia and Cambodia. They will teach English to children, work with those who have disabilities, rebuild weak infrastructures and work with foreign militaries.

The U.S. Army funds the month-long program, which even includes a stipend for the students. Before deployment, the students will go through a five-day soldier readiness process in Fort Lewis, Wash.

Travis Salley, a junior majoring in music, said he applied to learn a new point of view. He will spend his summer in Singapore.

“It will provide me with a perspective of cultural and societal norms outside of my American way of life,” Salley said. “I think it will also help relations with other countries. If they see Americans helping with humanitarian efforts, they may want to expand their efforts too.”

In addition to the Nevada students participating this summer, Major Jerome Guerrero, assistant professor of military science at the University, will be participating. He will lead a cadre of cadets at Cape Verde, a group of islands off the North African coast.

“I am excited to get to travel to a new part of the world,” Guerrero said. “As an officer, you may be asked to serve in a foreign country. This experience will give these cadets a broader cultural perspective. These experiences will make them well-rounded and good Army leaders. It teaches the cadets empathy for other cultures and religions.”

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of 18,000 students and is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s best universities. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and with one of the nation’s largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit www.unr.edu.

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