Exchange Summer 2012 : Page 10

LP PIERCE ROBERTS Air Force ROTC star builds his future JOHN BYERS Overcoming the odds to succeed in business NANCY LEININGER Guides students toward their career paths LEADERSHIP PROFILES LEADERSHIP Pierce COMES Roberts excels in NATURALLY and out of the classroom BY CRYSTAL BALDWIN, M ‘13 P 10 The Exchange ierce Roberts, political science ’12, re-cently served as the national command-er for the Arnold Air Society. Through this esteemed position, he was in charge of 2,800 cadets nationwide at 170 differ-ent schools. Roberts coordinated efforts for their joint national project, Active America, an initiative that focuses on healthy living and fi ghting obesity. Through his leadership, 134 squadrons accrued 75,000 service hours, with only 60 percent reporting. With such comprehensive leadership experience on the national level, as well as various positions in Air Force Reserve Offi cers’ Training Corps (AFROTC), one may wonder how it all began. With a family history of military service dating back to the Civil War, becoming an AFROTC cadet was an easy decision for Roberts. His father served four years enlisted in the Navy and 23 years as an Air Force offi cer. His grandfathers were in the military as well: one judge advocate general (JAG) and the other, infantry. For Roberts, there is no higher honor than to serve his country. He cannot picture himself doing anything else. His decision to attend Clemson University was not as simple. Roberts was accepted to Clemson, the Air Force Academy and Liberty University. Clemson had recently won the Right of Line Award, designating the university as having one of the best Air Force detachments in the nation. Roberts wanted a long-term career in the military and felt that he might get burned out after the Air Force Academy, so he ultimately chose to attend Clemson. After his fi rst visit to campus, he knew it was the perfect fi t. His love for history and English, along with his talent for debating and discussion, lead him to pursue a degree in political science. Once he got to Clemson, he could not imagine himself anywhere else. Roberts feels fortunate to be graduating from college debt-free. Through the Palmetto, Air Force and Clemson Corps scholar-ships, he has been able to pay for tuition, housing, books and even a study abroad experience in Eastern Europe. With the state of the economy and the amount of Air Force scholarships steadily decreasing, he is thankful for scholarships like the Clem-Summer 2012

Pierce Roberts

Crystal Baldwin

LEADERSHIP COMES NATURALLY

Pierce Roberts excels in and out of the classroom

Pierce Roberts, political science '12, recently served as the national commander for the Arnold Air Society. Through this esteemed position, he was in charge of 2,800 cadets nationwide at 170 different schools. Roberts coordinated efforts for their joint national project, Active America, an initiative that focuses on healthy living and fighting obesity. Through his leadership, 134 squadrons accrued 75,000 service hours, with only 60 percent reporting. With such comprehensive leadership experience on the national level, as well as various positions in Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AFROTC), one may wonder how it all began.

With a family history of military service dating back to the Civil War, becoming an AFROTC cadet was an easy decision for Roberts. His father served four years enlisted in the Navy and 23 years as an Air Force officer. His grandfathers were in the military as well: one judge advocate general (JAG) and the other, infantry. For Roberts, there is no higher honor than to serve his country. He cannot picture himself doing anything else.

His decision to attend Clemson University was not as simple. Roberts was accepted to Clemson, the Air Force Academy and Liberty University. Clemson had recently won the Right of Line Award, designating the university as having one of the best Air Force detachments in the nation. Roberts wanted a long-term career in the military and felt that he might get burned out after the Air Force Academy, so he ultimately chose to attend Clemson. After his first visit to campus, he knew it was the perfect fit. His love for history and English, along with his talent for debating and discussion, lead him to pursue a degree in political science. Once he got to Clemson, he could not imagine himself anywhere else.

Roberts feels fortunate to be graduating from college debt-free. Through the Palmetto, Air Force and Clemson Corps scholarships, he has been able to pay for tuition, housing, books and even a study abroad experience in Eastern Europe. With the state of the economy and the amount of Air Force scholarships steadily decreasing, he is thankful for scholarships like the Clemson Corps. "Many cadets want to serve the military, but don't have the funds for school and have to enlist. Clemson Corps is a way in for these students, granting them in-state tuition and additional financial assistance. It is also a way to carry on the military heritage for the college," said Roberts.

He exemplifies leadership through his dedication to service. During his freshman year, Roberts was inducted into the Arnold Air Society. The process of joining was 11 weeks long and involved five to six hours of weekly training in physical activities and academics, in addition to his AFROTC duties and classes. As a sophomore, Roberts pledged Scabbard and Blade, a prestigious organization reserved for those in the top 10 percent of all ROTC attachments at Clemson. He also served as a Bible study leader for the Navigators and spent a summer as a camp counselor. Roberts engaged in a service experience abroad, on a humanitarian aid mission to the West Bank. He transported food to people who lived in hovels with no doors or windows. Roberts describes it as an amazing experience in a surprisingly beautiful country where the hospitality of people is unmatched.

In addition to his service work, Robert has held various leadership positions within AFROTC. During his time at Clemson, he has served as Logistics Executive Officer, Wing Executive Officer, 100 Flight Commander and 200 Director of Training. He even held the last two positions while serving as Arnold Air Society Squadron Commander. Roberts has received various accolades, including an Expert Marksman Ribbon his second time handling a pistol and a Superior Performer Distinction for high caliber performance in field training. He has also been nominated for Air Force Cadet of the Year.

Roberts is dedicated to encouraging and motivating his cadets, near and far, to do what is best for the organization. His dedication to leadership has served him well. In April, he received the Lieutenant Theodore C. Marrs Award for his outstanding leadership as national commander of the Arnold Air Society.

Although Roberts keeps busy with academics and AFROTC activities, he has found time to participate in a Creative Inquiry project with professor Vladimir Matìc. The project delves into ancient Serbian history, addressing conflicting claims of whether a certain time period was a dark or renaissance period for the country. Roberts studied in Serbia last summer where he had the opportunity to meet with political leaders and discuss various topics, including the aftermath of war, making peace, combating extremism and terrorism, and joining the European Union. Roberts also enjoyed learning about Serbian history from Matìc, who served as an assistant minister of defense before the war, but came to the United States when he disagreed with the politics of the Serbian leader.

Upon graduation, Roberts will enter active duty and report to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. His training assignment will begin when he starts working with the Air Force Office of Special Investigation in Glynco, Ga. Roberts was selected for one of 12 coveted positions, where only 20 percent of those who apply are accepted. His career field focuses on counter-terrorism, human intelligence, criminal investigations and counter intelligence. Roberts plans to apply all that he has learned at Clemson to his new position as an officer in the Air Force. Although there will be little down time, Roberts is excited to embark on the next chapter in his life and serve his country.

Read the full article at http://www.editionduo.com/article/Pierce+Roberts/1106011/117305/article.html.

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