Feature Stories

Take Flight: Three NJIT Cadets Are Commissioned in the U.S. Air Force

Three NJIT cadets were recently commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S Air Force through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Three NJIT cadets were recently commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S Air Force.

The three graduates received their commissions through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Detachment 490, which is based at NJIT. The detachment is open to students from other regional colleges and altogether 10 students received commissions.  

Students participating in NJIT’s AFROTC Detachment complete their degrees and serve in the active duty Air Force for a minimum of four years. The educational experience these men and women receive is enhanced with courses in the Aerospace Studies Department of the College of Science and Liberal Arts. They also take leadership courses and physical fitness training throughout their cadet careers. Upon receiving their degrees and commissions, Detachment 490 cadets embark on a journey that can take them around the globe. This year’s commissioning class included the three NJIT students; what follows is a brief Q&A with each of them:

Chris Cartagena

Major:

Business, with a concentration in Marketing

Why did you come to NJIT?

I came to NJIT to attend AFROTC.

Why did you do ROTC and what did you get out of it?

I did ROTC because I wanted to defend the freedom that everyone is afforded in this country.  After completing ROTC I gained the ability to publicly speak, improved my personnel management skills, and learned how to utilize better time management practices under pressure.

What are your plans now?

I will be going to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, where I will be attending Undergraduate Pilot Training in 2015.  In the meantime I plan on continuing my education by enrolling in graduate school this coming fall.

What did you like best about NJIT?

The best part about NJIT is the campus’s close proximity to the big city. I enjoyed being close to NYC because it allowed me the option to go into the city that never sleeps at any time to get amazing food, go dancing, or experience one of the many events going on all of the time.  The diversity of the NJIT area was also one of NJIT's greatest assets.  In the ever changing business world, understanding and being able to work in a diverse environment is key to success.

What will you miss about NJIT?

I will miss many of my professors that have influenced me in the school of management. I will miss their passion for the subjects they taught.  Their excitement and enthusiasm encouraged and motivated me day in and day out.  They were always willing and available to go the extra mile to help their students succeed not only in the classroom but in everyday life.

Marc Gavino

Major?

Mechanical Engineering.

Why did you come to NJIT?

I came to NJIT because it was near home and provided the best bang for my buck in terms of schooling.

Why did you enroll in AFROTC and what did you get out of it?

I've always wanted to join the military and ROTC seemed like a perfect fit for me. I could be a part of the military while still studying engineering. The program helped me with my time management skills and taught me leadership skills that I've applied many times in my classes and work.

What are your plans now? Where will you be stationed?

I'm going to enjoy the summer and hang out with my friends. I'll be off to Vandenberg Air Force Base in sunny California where I will study to become a Missile Operations Officer.

What did you like best about NJIT?

The best thing about NJIT was how close everything was. The campus was small enough to walk from one end to the other, and yet you can go to Rutgers Newark, Hoboken, or New York City if you wanted to.

What will you miss about NJIT?

I'm going to miss the people there. I've met a lot of great and amazing friends that I really bonded with and who helped me throughout my years at NJIT.

Kevin Boyajian

Major?

Electrical Engineering

Why did you come to NJIT?

I came to NJIT because it was the most affordable option, and provided a well-known and respected engineering program.

And why did you join AFROTC?

I chose to do ROTC to serve my country and start off with a great job after college.  During my time in the program, I have learned about leadership, integrity, time management, public speaking, service, organization and professionalism.

Where will you be stationed?

I will be stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I will be attending Undergraduate Cyber Training for about six months, which will prepare me to be a Cyberspace Operations Officer. Undergraduate Cyber Training is just the name for the training that all officers who will become Cyberspace Operations Officers have to go through.  It is about six months long and teaches all of the technical skills that I will need to complete the job. 

What did you like best about NJIT? And what about it will you miss?

The best part about NJIT and what I will miss most about it is the group of friends that I made both in ROTC and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, without whom I wouldn't have made it this far.

(Students interested in AFROTC can contact the Aerospace Studies Department (973) 596-3626 or visit their office on the second floor of Faculty Memorial Hall.)

By Robert Florida