FORT KNOX, Ky. (Feb. 24, 2014) --- Three Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Cadets at the University of Nevada-Reno spent last summer gaining skills and specialized training they can use one day when they start their Army careers.

But this training wasn't conducted in one of their ROTC classrooms or anywhere else on campus.

Instead, Cadets Brandon Castinado, Robert Park and Jacob Ziolkowski got hands-on experience at federal agencies in Washington and in Atlanta, courtesy of ROTC internships.

"Internships offer Cadets a tremendous opportunity for broadening experiences that can't be replicated on a college campus," said Lt. Col. Michael Minaudo, professor of military science at UNR. Cadets can choose from fields such as scientific application, engineering, nursing, medicine, intelligence, cultural awareness, and language proficiency. Those interested should check first with their battalion as internship types, locations, and allocations can change from year to year.

"The activities expose Cadets to new organizations, missions, and programs that will further develop their ability to be effective as commissioned officers," Minaudo said. "These programs are a tremendous resource that are helping to produce the next generation of agile minded creative thinkers that will lead the Army."

Minaudo, who has been at UNR since May 2011, said that he encourages qualified Cadets to apply for intern opportunities. He looks for Cadets who are motivated, organized, and willing to take on challenges in what may be an unfamiliar environment.

Ziolkowski said Minaudo?'s personal recommendation played a major part in his decision to apply. "His recommendation really motivated me," he said. Ziolkowski was intrigued with the idea of pairing his knowledge gained from his academic major in geography with a military setting.

Ziolkowski applied and was selected for an internship with the U.S. Army Global Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness (AGCMEP) program in Washington.

One of his projects involved researching and writing a stability study report that assessed a country's level of readiness in the event of a natural disaster and how the U.S. should respond.
He also updated information that would be critical in the event of a natural disaster.

Ziolkowski said that one of his biggest take-aways was learning just how large military operations are. "I'm now going to look at things from multiple angles and understand how important my mission or task is and how it can affect the Army at a much larger scale than I originally thought of," Ziolkowski said.

Until freshman orientation at UNR, Castinado had never heard of ROTC. He signed up for military science classes and attended physical training to try something new. A few weeks later, he was hooked -- he discovered that ROTC challenged him as a leader, mentally and physically, and "to become the best version of myself."

"The Cadets treated me like family and the cadre pushed me to my fullest potential. ROTC was not like any other college organization."

That same curiosity that led Castinado to ROTC led him to apply for the same internship as Ziolkowski's. Castinado chose that particular internship because he wanted to learn how the military and government operate at higher levels.

Castinado said that the skill of looking at operations from a 360-degree view will serve him well as an infantry platoon leader after he commissions as a second lieutenant.

"Leaders need to understand the big picture and must learn to communicate that in order to give Soldiers a sense of purpose," Castinado said.

Park, who interned at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IV headquarters in Atlanta, said he developed a better understanding of the impact that organization, communication, training, rehearsals, and after action reviews can have in any organization?'s success.

"Had FEMA and other emergency response agencies not implemented these practices, they wouldn?'t accomplish their missions," Park said. "Likewise, if I don''t implement them as an officer and as a civilian professional, the organization and I won't be successful."

Park's internship was similar to Castinado's and Ziolkowski's in that it focused on the active duty Army's response to emergencies. Park applied for the FEMA internship to complement his branch assignment in the Chemical Corps.

"With the increasing violence and impact of storms across the world and the U.S., there's a good chance my peers and I may be involved in support operations in incident response and recovery," Park said.

Park encouraged Cadets to apply for internships. He said that Cadets should make the best of any internship offered. "There are chances to develop everywhere, and you have been afforded an opportunity to do so."

"Work hard and be open to any opportunity that comes your way," Castinado added. "Some of the best experiences can come from the most unlikely places."

Learn more about ROTC internships at: