News Article

Learning Leadership

MIT AFROTC cadets Joseph Han and Martin York.

November 12, 2015

Leadership is a core component of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

The training and classes are designed to develop college cadets into leaders for their respective military branches. MIT Air Force cadets Martin York ‘16 and Joseph Han ‘17 joined ROTC seeking that kind of education and are already applying it to other domains of their student life.
Han attended Summer Leadership Experience at West Point the summer after his junior year in high school and received insight into the life of a cadet. “In each of the cadets who ran the camp, I witnessed the leadership and the ‘soft’ skills that one would look for in a good leader,” remembered Han. “I wanted to develop my leadership skills so I decided to pursue ROTC.”
York knew he wanted to be a military man as early as middle school. His passion for aviation initially pointed him towards the Air Force Academy, but a friend convinced him to at least apply to MIT and consider ROTC as an alternative. York was accepted and offered a ROTC scholarship. “I visited and saw what an amazing place MIT is, so I decided to come to school here,” said York, knowing that he would still be able to pursue his dream of commissioning into the Air Force upon graduation.
ROTC’s leadership training will undoubtedly serve these cadets well in their careers. Han, Course 20, aims to attend medical school and serve as a doctor in the Air Force; York, Course 16, plans to commission into the Air Force, complete pilot training, work as an operational pilot, and then attend USAF Test Pilot School.
Their careers have not even begun, and the two are already using their leadership training. York was Commander of the Cadet Wing last year and is now one of the Cadet Inspector Generals. In his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, he serves as Rush Chair and previously held the position of Treasurer. “The interpersonal leadership skills you develop with ROTC have proven helpful while leading efforts such as rush,” he said. Han is on the MIT Varsity Soccer team, volunteers with MIT EMS, and serves on both the Intramural Executive Board and as the Athletic Chair for the Korean Student Association. Within ROTC he is a Physical Fitness Officer.
“ROTC provides phenomenal leadership training that you can’t get other places while still in college,” said York. “When you are in a leadership position in the cadet wing you have real goals to accomplish which actually affect other people. There are few places this is true while still in college.”
Han explained, “Through AFROTC, I have been put in multiple leadership positions and have learned how to become a more effective leader, which has made me more comfortable in seeking out leadership opportunities.”
Now, with a combination of MIT education and ROTC training these students are positioned well to excel on campus and beyond.

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