Soldiers and the EIU Political Science Classroom
The following sample of students, ROTC cadets and alumni introduces us to EIU political science students with military experience and a commitment to serving their country in this important capacity. The narratives show a strong connection between military service and the decision to major in political science—whether at the undergraduate or graduate levels.
Steven Kutz currently is pursuing his B.A. in political science at EIU. Steve also is a Cadet Major in the EIU ROTC Panther Battalion. Steve’s family has a well-established history with the military, with his father and sister both having served in the U.S. Army. Steve himself will add to this tradition by commissioning as an active duty Army officer in May 2013 in the Adjutant General Corps.
Steve studies political science at EIU because he knows it will help him with his future career as an Army officer. “There is no major that better prepares someone going into the military and no major easier for a veteran to understand than political science”. Steve values the veterans he has met in his political science classes, and he has learned from them while pursuing his degree. Steve recognizes the clear correlation between students who are interested in politics and students who are interested in the military.
John Mefford served in the U.S. Navy and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before beginning his studies in political science. He completed his B.A. in political science at EIU, and he entered the M.A. Program in Political Science in Fall 2012. John remains actively involved in the military, as he continues to serve in the Navy Reserve.
John appreciates the diversity of the military and the Political Science Department. “Why someone believes the things they do has always interested me. The military lifestyle brings so many people together for one goal, regardless of political beliefs”. John’s military experience has made it easy for him to excel in political science. “Political science was easy for me to step into because I know how I feel about the world, and I want to have an impact. The leaders in the military and the government make the rules we must all abide by. I may never be the President of the United States or a Congressman, but having an impact in the political realm with a speech I give or a paper I write gives my service to my country purpose”.
Cody Gallager served in Iraq before returning home and beginning his undergraduate studies at EIU. He is a political science major as well as a sophomore ROTC cadet in the EIU Panther Battalion. His range of military experience has given him advantages other cadets may not have. In particular, he notes that his experiences as a non-commissioned officer overseas gave him leadership qualities that are invaluable both in studying politics and moving ahead in the ROTC program.
Cody Gallager has always been interested in the civil service and plans to continue to serve his country upon graduation. Cody has two goals under consideration. One is to finish his B.A. in political science at EIU and then go back on active duty. Cody’s second option is to finish his political science degree and then serve in the Illinois National Guard while pursuing a career in the civil service in Springfield Illinois. He also is considering pursuit of an advanced degree in political science.
2LT Ryan Owens has a B.A. degree in Political Science from Eastern Illinois University. During his time on campus, he also was an ROTC cadet for four years, and he now is serving as an active duty Lieutenant in the U.S. Army as a Signal Corps officer.
Ryan notes the presence of a strong correlation between military experience and knowledge of politics, government and political strategies. “As soldiers, so many aspects of our lives are determined by our government and by the political environment at home and abroad. I think that it is only natural for current, former, and future members of the armed services to want to learn more about the way that governments work and the political philosophies behind them. We are the country's instruments for change on an international scale, acting as diplomats, peacekeepers, and liberators globally, and as such it is important for us to learn and understand our role and the role of government in society”.
Nicholas Anson always has wanted to see the world as well as study it. He studied abroad in the West Bank while learning to speak Arabic during his undergraduate years. He also has served with the U.S. Army in Korea, Kuwait, and Iraq. He currently is a Cadet Major in the EIU ROTC Panther Battalion and will be commissioned as an active duty Army officer in May 2013, while hoping for more opportunities to gain international experience.
Nicholas Anson presently is a graduate assistant in the EIU Political Science Department as part of his work toward the M.A. degree in Political Science. He also remains active in campus governance, serving as the External Relations Co-Committee Chair on the EIU Student Senate. By combining his academic studies and military experience, he hopes to play a significant role in international relations and eventually obtain a Ph.D. in Political Science, with a specialization in political theory.