SJAFB service members hold career panel at N.C. A&T University

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kimberly Barrera

Active duty service members from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base held their first career panel for ROTC cadets at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 28, 2021.

The career panel is one element of SJAFB’s partnership with NC A&T, in the base’s recruiting efforts within Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“There is a gap in the individual cadet interests and what they have access to, such as a lack of mentors and resources when making a military service commitment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Chaunda Wharton, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron senior enlisted leader. “As active duty members, we are unofficial recruiters for the U.S. Air Force. Through this forum we are able to offer our knowledge and experience, influence the next generation or potential Airmen.”

During the event, a panel of officers and enlisted Airmen from various career fields spoke with approximately 77 cadets. Service members spoke about their career, shared their military knowledge, experiences and provided answers to questions.

“It’s important to be exposed to multiple different career fields,” said ROTC Cadet Langston Kelly, NC A&T detachment 605 wing commander. “Learning about career fields and how they interact with each other and how we will interact with them in the future is what I took away most from this experience most.”

We want to bridge the knowledge gap and spark enthusiasm for our nation’s next generation of Air Force leaders, added Wharton.

“It’s really nice to have the perspective of the 10 Airmen, both officer and enlisted, all different ages, that can shed their experience with cadets here because these are the Airmen we will be working with once we commission,” said ROTC Cadet Hayden Perusek.

In addition to the panel, SJAFB plans to host a shadow program and field training exercise for the cadets in the near future.

“The cadets will shadow various company grade officer’s in their units, in which they listed as future career fields,” said Wharton. “In addition, we plan to have a mini chemical biological radioactive nuclear exercise to prepare the cadets for their equivalent of boot camp.”

Although the program is specifically targeted to ROTC programs at HBCU’s, it is open to all universities in this region.

“NC A&T was the first university to extend an interest in our program launch,” said Wharton. “The goal of SJAFB leadership is to strengthen ties to local HBCU’s through faculty led partnerships. The program was established in 2020 with NC A&T and the intent is to expand to additional locations in the future.”