Cadet Paxson Von Kerens has received plenty of real-world training through his time with IUPUI’s ROTC program. Set to graduate in May 2018, Von Kerens has benefited from a broad scope of military experience during his college career.

He says, “We have hands-on training with leading soldiers, and when we fail, we take it as a learning experience so the next time we are given a leadership role we can perform better.”

Some of that practical learning includes troop-leading procedures, planning for missions, labs, and classroom experiences in which procedures are laid out before missions.

“It’s been helpful for me to take the stages of crawling, walking, then running,” he says.

Von Kerens, who is serving in the National Guard, transferred from a college in Michigan and joined the ROTC program at IUPUI. He says, “The cadre were willing to work with me during my transfer, and my peers were welcoming.”

After graduation, Von Kerens plans to stay in the National Guard and start a career in engineering “on the civilian side” and “take part in drills on the weekend.”

He says, “The experience and knowledge you get out of ROTC sets you up for success in the military and on the civilian side. The skills learned can be implemented both in the workforce and in daily activities. It makes you a well-rounded person and matures you into a person who is ready to take on the real world.”