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Scholarship changes Soldier's life

June 3, 2016 | By sraymond
Commentary by Cadet Barry Mullins, 1163rd Medical Company [caption id="attachment_27398" align="alignright" width="298"]
Cadet Barry Mullins with the 1163rd Area Medical Support Company is also a member of the University of Kentucky ROTC program working on a nursing degree through a Minuteman Scholarship. (Courtesy photo)
Cadet Barry Mullins with the 1163rd Area Medical Support Company is also a member of the University of Kentucky ROTC program working on a nursing degree through a Minuteman Scholarship. (Courtesy photo)
VIRIN: 160531-N-ZY298-17398
Cadet Barry Mullins with the 1163rd Area Medical Support Company is also a member of the University of Kentucky ROTC program working on a nursing degree through a Minuteman Scholarship. (Courtesy photo) If you have ever considered becoming an officer, then you are aware of the many different opportunities and paths towards commissioning. The newest option in Kentucky is through the Minuteman Scholarship. The Minuteman Scholarship is designed to recruit great enlisted Soldiers and then develop them into future National Guard officers. Although there are numerous articles discussing the Minuteman Scholarship, the focus of this article is to provide insight from a current recipient. I’d also like to share why it was the best choice for me and what has made the added responsibility a tremendous asset toward my future as a Soldier.  Below is my journey, and why it works for me. I graduated from Advanced Individual Training April 17, 2015, and I was extremely proud of all I had accomplished; I was now a 68W Health-Care Specialist (Medic). I had accomplished a difficult task, but because I was in the Kentucky National Guard, my next step in life was my decision. I could get a job using the training and certifications I had just received, or I could go to college. I chose to go to college because the tuition assistance was a major reason for me joining the Guard. My life's ambition is to become a Nurse. I applied and was accepted into the University of Kentucky’s "Med-Vet to BSN" program. I knew that if I wanted to have a successful career in the National Guard then I needed to be proactive. I asked my recruiter if he knew of any scholarship opportunities. While I was in class on my first day at UK, I received a call from him, and he informed me about the Minuteman Scholarship. He told me that it was a four-year scholarship that would allow me to keep my tuition assistance, and I would also receive stipends for books, living expenses, E-5 pay at drill, and a monthly ROTC allowance. After our conversation, I was so excited that I sprinted to Buell Armory and spoke with the ROTC Recruiting and Operations Officer. After a brief interview, I was given a checklist to complete in order to be eligible for the scholarship. I worked diligently to finish the requirements and seven days later, I received my letter from Lt. Col. Thomas Krupp, the Professor of Military Science at UK, congratulating me on having been awarded the Minuteman Scholarship. Words couldn't express how thankful I was to have received this opportunity because I knew it meant that I was one more step closer to making my dream a reality. However, why was this option best for me? There are many options for individuals interested in a career as an officer (OCS, Direct Commission, Military Academies, etc.), but what specific factors pulled me in the direction of the Minuteman Scholarship? There are several reasons I took into consideration during the decision making process. 1. I wanted to stay in the National Guard, and I wanted to receive a four-year scholarship. 2. The Guard covers the cost of tuition, but the cost of room and board still needed to be taken care of. 3. The Minuteman is a Dedicated National Guard Scholarship, and so a requirement is that I serve in the Guard after my commission; this is different than other ROTC scholarships which may allow you to compete for active duty. This offered me a full ride in college to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse while still allowing me to serve my state and country. Upon my graduation, I will get my commission and work as a civilian nurse. These are the things that I have always envisioned for my career, and the Minuteman makes that possible. Soldiers who are interested in staying in the National Guard and commissioning as an officer should consider the Minuteman Scholarship because it may be the perfect fit for you, as much as it was for me. Life is full of opportunities that many are too indecisive or unprepared for. By doing so, you may miss out on chances that could be life changing. I was able to take full advantage of this opportunity by asking the right questions at the right time. You may wonder if the added responsibility was worth it, I know the Minuteman is worth the added workload because my education is completely paid for and now I even have extra money to assist with unforeseen expenses. The Minuteman allows me to focus 100% on school which is a rare thing for many college students. Naturally, there are certain obligations I must fulfill. I must attend Physical Training every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Along with attending a ROTC class and lab as a part of my development as a future officer.  Cadets are taught by a different instructor each year so that we can learn from senior leaders with vast experiences from both their military and personal life. Additionally, for cadets who seek to go above and beyond, you can participate in dozens of opportunities that allow you to build camaraderie and learn skills that will help you not only as a leader in the military, but to be successful in life as well. For me, the Minuteman Scholarship has been a life-changing decision that I am extremely happy I pursued. It has provided me opportunities I could not imagine and continues to be the stepping stones of success as I continue my journey towards becoming an Army Nurse. If staying in the National Guard and receiving a four-year scholarship to become an officer is something you're interested in then talk to a recruiter near you and find out how it can change your life too. Click here for more information on ROTC scholarships.

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