SALEM, ORE. — The long-term future may not be on the minds of most college freshmen, however, one Corban University newcomer made a sworn commitment to her future during a ceremony last week.
On Sept. 2, freshman Lindsey Kariker was sworn into the Reserve Officer Training Corps, ROTC, in front of Corban University's Psalm Performing Arts Center. She joins four other Corban students who have took an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution and its citizens and will become military officers upon graduation.
As an ROTC cadet, Kariker will split her time between Corban and Oregon State University, where she will receive physical and leadership training during the next four years of college. In return, all of her tuition and fees and a small stipend are paid through the ROTC program. Corban University will pay for her room and board, effectively giving her a full-ride scholarship.
As she swore the oath of enlistment, an American flag fluttered gently beside her in the wind. She was surrounded by friends and family, many wearing the same tan camouflage uniform that Kariker donned for the first time that day. As she finished with "So help me God," a loud hooah, a traditional Army cheer, erupted throughout the parking lot, echoing against nearby buildings and causing heads to turn at the Common Grounds café.
"I think I'm really going to be able to grow with the support the Army and Corban have offered me," Kariker said. "I think I will be developed more as a person. I will develop mental toughness…and confidence. I'll be able to grow as a Christian and I'm really looking forward to that."
Kariker's goals are nothing short of certain in her mind. With a heart to heal the wounded, she plans to become an Army trained physician's assistant. During her junior year of high school she took an interest in athletic training. After conversations with her dad, and a desire to potentially use her career on the mission field, she decided to pursue a career as a PA.
Her father, Steve Kariker, is a major in the Oregon Army National Guard and was visibly beaming with pride as he watched his daughter raise her right hand and take the oath.
"To see her in uniform is strange, but I am so proud of her," he said. "I am proud of her character and her heart for the Lord and her desire to put Him first in all that she does. There were a lot of confirming circumstances that ensured this was the right thing to do."
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Ashcraft, a military science professor at Oregon State University, said Kariker will attend classes at OSU once per week this school year and twice per week the next three years. Additionally, she will participate in field training exercises each semester. Upon graduation she will commit to four years of active duty service or eight years of Army Reserve or Army National Guard service.
She joined 25 college students throughout Oregon who committed to ROTC this school year. There are 140 students in her battalion at Oregon State University, who come from colleges and universities across the mid-Willamette Valley.