Fresno State’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps offers military training to interested students without commitment


Diego Vargas/The Collegian

The Fresno State Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is part of the Department of Military Science, which is located in the North Gym Room 145.

By Diego Vargas, Lifestyle Editor

Fresno State’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and Department of Military Science and Leadership are all about giving students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom through military training.

Students who are interested in the military can take courses in ROTC with no commitment to the program, where they can learn about military tactics, land navigation and even how to shoot a weapon.

“We have physical fitness that we are required to do three days a week, if you’re not contract, it’s not a requirement but it’s optional. For freshmen and sophomores, we do physical fitness out on the field to get you in shape. Outside of the lecture classes, there’s labs where you put into practice what you learned,” said Major Crystal Waller-Scott, the executive officer for the Fresno State Army ROTC program, who is also a Fresno State alum.

Waller-Scott emphasized that there is no obligation within the program to join the military and encouraged students to take an ROTC class if they are interested in a career in the military but are unsure if the experience is right for them.

“My experiences were similar a couple of years ago. I knew I wanted to be in the military, but I also knew I wanted to go to college as well. ROTC offered a perfect blend for me to do both, so it was a perfect plan,” she said.

Students that do commit to the program can receive scholarships to complete their college degree and serve within ROTC at the same time. They offer campus-based scholarships, scholarships for graduate students and scholarships for students coming in from high school.

“We have our high school scholarship program where students can apply while they are seniors in high school. We offer a 3-4 year advanced basic scholarship and also offer campus-based scholarships,” said Lt. Col. Ann Janice S. Vogan, department chair and professor of Military Science.

“Our mission is to recruit, educate, develop, inspire senior Army ROTC cadets in order to commission officers of character.”

For Ephiram Bosse, ROTC was an opportunity for him to grow as a person while still pursuing a higher education. As a Fresno State alum himself, Bosse graduated from the program in 2018 and is now a military science instructor for Fresno State ROTC.

“I think one of the things that a lot of people overlook is that there’s a lot of growth opportunity that comes from being in a program like this, and over the course of four years, you get to see students grow,” he said.

“That’s one thing that I think I gained personally as one of those students. When I came into this program you have responsibility put on you incrementally, and it’s through that slow growth that you get to develop as a leader. I’m an executive officer for a company of about 200 people. If you were to tell an 18 year old me that I’d be responsible for training, making sure everyone’s getting paid, making sure everyone gets what they need, I would be like, ‘There’s no way.’”

Bosse encourages all students to take a course for ROTC, even if they don’t think they’ll commit to serving in the military.

“The program is open to anyone. You can come and go as you please. What we want to provide the people is just the opportunity to see if it is for them, and personally I’m really grateful for that opportunity because I learned a lot about myself, and I learned that this is something that I actually really enjoy,” he said.