Elizabeth City State University School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean, Dr. Sharon Raynor, attended the 2023 Army ROTC Cadet Training-Leadership Symposium July 11-15 in Louisville, Ky. It was hosted by the Army Centers of Influence (COI) and catered to college and university students enrolled in Army ROTC, as well as community and educational leaders throughout the nation. Raynor was nominated to attend the forum by ECSU Professor of Military Science Major Julie Kendrick and the ECSU Viking Battalion.

The ECSU Office of Communications and Marketing interviewed Raynor about her experience and her hopes for the ECSU Army ROTC.


What was the purpose of the trip for attendees?

It is an annual program that engages select community leaders and educators in leadership development, through hands-on participation and interaction with cadets and in-depth discussions with Army Officers. It’s an opportunity to learn more about how to best support and enhance Army ROTC programs and careers in the military. For the cadets, it’s an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and attributes, critical thinking, and adaptability skills in a complex hands-on environment with their peers.

What other institutions and organizations were represented?

Several university presidents/chancellors, provosts, senior administrators, professors and community members from across the country attended. There were approximately 46 participants, and we were divided into groups by brigades. I was in the 1st/4th Brigade with participants from East Carolina University, Wofford College, Furman University, Wake Forest University, The Citadel, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Norwich University, and Virginia Military Institute. Our group was led by Professor of Military Science LTC Josh Aeschliman.

What information, incentives and opportunities did the experience afford you as it relates to ECSU?

Through participation in informational sessions about Army ROTC, as well as both physical and critical thinking activities like the High Ropes Course, rappelling from the Rappel Tower, and Confidence Course type events, I gained invaluable leadership strategies and team-building skills that can be useful in my role as Dean. I plan to implement some of these strategies moving forward as it relates to developing leaders, time-on-task activities, and building trust within our academic community. I also learned about additional ways that I can better support our Military Science/ROTC program. 

Have you ever skydived before? What was the experience like?

I was one of 16 lucky participants selected to do a tandem parachute jump with the Army Golden Knights. This was my very first-time skydiving, so I was excited. It was an exhilarating and fun experience! Throughout the week in various activities, we were taught to trust our team and trust the equipment. This tandem jump really put that to the test. I had an amazing time and throughout all my travels and experiences, this absolutely tops the list!

What are your hopes for the ECSU Army ROTC program?

My hopes for the ECSU Army ROTC program are continued growth and sustainability on campus and within the greater community, and to develop and graduate leaders who will move on to protect and serve our nation.