ROTC student will train and work in Thailand this summer


Young leaders who want to optimize the skills needed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces must develop advanced knowledge of the cultures and languages of the areas of the world in which they serve.

That’s why an undergraduate student in our Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) will travel to Asia this summer as part of the U.S. Army’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program. She will join approximately 1,500 other ROTC students chosen from across the country.

Sophia Pang, a senior exercise science major, will travel to Thailand. Originally from Myanmar (Burma), Pang and her family fled the political unrest and economic repression in their native country to seek better lives in the U.S. Pang officially became a United States citizen in May 2017. She serves in the Ohio National Guard and uses its four-year scholarship here at UA. 

Sophomores Callie Arndt, a sophomore nursing major, and Ryan Chabak, whose major is homeland security and emergency management, were selected to train in Togo, Africa, as part of the CULP program. Their trips were recently cancelled due to a high risk of contracting malaria.

Arndt joined the Army in 2009 and has previously studied sign language interpreting. Arndt served for over four years as a medic in Landstuhl, Germany, taking care of wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan. She was offered the opportunity to join the Army’s Green to Gold Program in which enlisted soldiers transition from active duty to a full-time student, receive a scholarship for their education and upon completion are commissioned as an officer. 

A Dean’s List student, Chabak became interested in ROTC during high school. He competed for and was selected to receive an Army ROTC four-year scholarship as a senior in high school and chose to come to UA for its ROTC program.

Variety of missions available

CULP is an experiential learning experience that exposes students to everyday life in different cultures and intensifies language study. Participants can be included in humanitarian missions, like building roads and wells; language-focused missions of teaching villagers and foreign military to speak English; or military-to-military missions where cadets train alongside a foreign military.

ROTC is a scholarship program available to undergraduate and graduate students. Upon completion of a degree, students are commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and receive a starting annual salary of approximately $51,000. Over the past five years, 25 of our ROTC students have participated in CULP trips to Africa, Europe and Asia.

UA’s ROTC program is one of the oldest in the country (founded in 1918), has produced more than 1,750 officers, and boasts alumni who have served in the general ranks. UA has one of the largest student-veteran populations at a four-year public institution in Ohio, along with one of the fastest-growing American Legion posts in the state. The nationally recognized American Legion Post 808, led entirely by students, was established in 2014.

To be accepted into the CULP program, students must meet a set of standards, apply for consideration, be recommended by their professor of military science and compete nationally for a limited number of openings each year.


Media contact: Alex Knisely, 330-972-7429 or

Sophia Pang

Sophia Pang