WASHINGTON -- For the past two years, Sgt. Jacob Davis has ascended through the ranks within Bowie State University's ROTC program, determined to branch as a medical services officer and lead the future force.

Previously stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Davis continues to serve on active duty under the Army's Green to Gold Active Duty Option Program.

"I spent some time as a medic to see if the Army was something I really wanted to do," Davis said. "I enjoyed it, so I decided to increase my scope of influence by becoming an officer."

The Green to Gold program provides eligible Soldiers an opportunity to complete their bachelor's or a two-year graduate degree, officials said. As a senior and ROTC cadet, Davis continues to work toward his bachelor's degree in government with a minor in history.

"[Green to Gold] is definitely a fantastic option. Having the flexibility to go to school while being active duty has been great," Davis said. "For anyone wanting to try ROTC, they should try the [Military Science 100] class … to see if the Army is something they want to [pursue.]"

Seeking advice on his Army career as a future officer, Davis recently engaged with Army senior leaders during the Cadet Command 2019 Senior Leader Development Conference at Howard University.

"Bottom line up front -- we need you," said Marshall Williams, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs.) "The foundation of our success has been and will be, people always -- and winning matters."

During the event on Nov. 7, Army leaders engaged with Reserve Officer Training Corps and junior ROTC cadets from 17 universities and nine high school programs, respectively.

Through the Army's modernization and people strategies, the force is making preparations to overcome future challenges against a near-peer adversary, Williams said. These changes will help the Army become better organized, trained, and equipped.

ROTC programs provide the Army with an opportunity to connect with college-aged students, bringing about 3,000 officers into the force each year, said Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Funk continues to attend the annual event, to answer questions and help lead cadets down the right path.

"I always love to see the diversity of the young men and women who want to join our great ranks," Funk said. "They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be part of a great team."

Overall, junior cadets gain a better perspective of the Army by engaging with some of the Army's most senior leaders, Davis added. Cadets also learn about the different branches to help make an informed decision later on in their college careers.

"You are our future leaders," Williams said. "We need your fresh ideas, your energy, and any new perspectives that you can bring to our formations. I can't wait to see the Army of the future when you're leading."