Universities team up, provide realistic training
May 21, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. -- With cameras rolling, reporters bombarded the Soldier at the podium with hard-hitting questions. The Soldier, remaining calm and focused, responded to each with information about sustainment operations.
This wasn't an interview for the evening news, but part of a training partnership between the U.S. Army Logistics University and Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va.
The Army Logistics University, part of the Combined Arms Support Command, is a composite campus for military and Department of Defense logistics leader education. The state-of-the-art learning center provides professional military, civilian, joint, multinational, and interagency education for supporting the Army's logistics leaders.
This partnership provides a real-world training opportunity for service members to face the challenges that come with media engagements.
Service members attending the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course at ALU were given the opportunity to participate in the training program to hone their media engagement skills. Select students were chosen to brief "reporters" about different events taking place in a mock exercise, which tested them on the knowledge and skills they developed during their 20 weeks at the university.
The reporters were students attending the Mass Communication Course at VSU. Through the exercise, they were able to use their studies in a simulated press-conference environment. VSU students in the communications course learn the tools needed to be reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts.
"Some training can only be done as a practical application," said Gwen Dandridge, VSU instructor. "This exercise allows us to get real-world experience, while still being in a learning environment."
Last year, the Captains Career Training Department reached out to VSU to develop the partnership, according to Maj. Luke Meyers, deputy course director. The result has been very beneficial to both schools, and the universities are committed to providing students this training opportunity, he added.
"The training really helped me work on my public speaking," said Capt. Lakia Booker, ordnance officer, Fort Benning, Ga., and VSU alumni. "I think this program is a great benefit to the Soldiers and will help them during their careers."
Some of the VSU students are becoming seasoned news reporters, having taken the opportunity to participate multiple times.
"This is my second time participating. The first time, I was more of an observer, but this time I was aggressive. I asked a lot of questions," said Kevin Paul, Mass Communication Course student. "I think it is essential for all of the students to prepare for real-world media engagements."
This training provides a broadening experience for the ALU classes, as they are critiqued during the interview process by both ALU instructors and the VSU students.
"I think I did good, considering, I had never been interviewed before this exercise," said Capt. Matthew Dillon, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Bridgeton, Mo. "My advice to future students would be: be yourself, be professional and think about what you are saying."
Since the fall of 2012, when the program began, more than 200 service members and 20 VSU students have participated in the partnership opportunity.