Talking to a ROTC student

In honor of Veteran’s Day, which occurred on Monday, the CU Independent talked to a student that hopes to serve after graduation.

Dean Rogers is an 18-year-old freshman and a fourth class midshipmen in CU’s Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC.

“It’s been my dream to become a pilot in the navy,” Rogers said. “I got that idea from my grandpa, who I look up to. He was a naval pilot in the 1970s and now he flies for an airline. I was really inspired by him, and made that my choice of what I also want to do with my life.”

Members of the CU ROTC color guard present the colors at the beginning of the ceremony in honor of Veterans Day in the Glenn Miller Ballroom at the UMC. (Patrick Ghidossi/CU Independent)


Every Wednesday, Rogers wakes up at 5 a.m. to ride his bike from William’s Village to Folsom Stadium for personal training at 6.

“The thing about the military is that you always have to be early, which means showing up at 5:30 a.m. for a 6 a.m. meeting,” Rogers said.

Personal training typically includes core workouts like push-ups and pull-ups, and a lot of running.

After training, Rogers goes back to his dorm to get ready for the day. He has classes until 3 p.m. and then attends a mandatory ROTC study hall from 6 to 8:15 p.m.

“[The officers] take it upon themselves to make sure you attend this in order to get your work done,” Rogers said. “Instead of waking up at 5 in the morning and you’re just tired the whole day and you’re ready to go to sleep, it’s like nope, you also have to get your homework done.”

Rogers is grateful for the program and the officers who are in charge of it, because it has reinforced his drive to become a navy pilot.

“My relationships with the active duty officers have been really inspiring because you’re able to experience real gentlemen who have gone through a lot with the war,” Rogers said. “There’s been Marines that I have talked to that have gone out to Iraq and you can see how they’re affected by it and how it’s made some of them stronger people, but others you can tell its affected them negatively. It’s been very encouraging to be around people who have done what you want to do.”

Last Friday, Rogers and the other students in the program did a Missing in Action and Prisoners of War run to the Boulder Cemetery to commemorate fallen soldiers. They were given miniature flags, which they placed on top of the veteran’s graves.

“It was a day to really honor our veterans and soldiers who risk their lives for the country, who don’t receive as much acknowledgement,” he said.

ROTC students are obligated to at least three years of active duty after they graduate, and Rogers is looking forward to serving.

 Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alexandria Aguerre at

CU Independent

The CU Independent, or CUI for short, is the student news outlet for the University of Colorado at Boulder. We cover news, sports, politics, opinion, arts and entertainment and more. Our mission is to provide news and commentary that's for students and by students — about the things we care about.

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