ROTC cadets selected for competitive overseas training program

January 10, 2017

University of Wisconsin-Stout ROTC cadets Jenna Sorenson and Cole Quednow will be immersed in the cultures of Guatemala and Madagascar, respectively, for 23 days in summer 2017 during a competitive Army training program that builds cultural awareness.

UW-Stout ROTC cadets Cole Quednow, left, and Jenna Sorenson will train overseas in summer 2017 during a competitive Army program that builds cultural awareness.The two cadets recently were selected for the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program based on their grade point average, foreign language ability, physical fitness and other criteria. While living in different cultures, cadets acquire leadership skills that enhance the Army’s global operations.

“Cole and Jenna are two extremely talented cadets,” said Maj. Jesse Johnson, UW-Stout professor of military science. “Being selected as a representative to another nation is a tremendous honor, and I know they will demonstrate the high-caliber student that UW-Stout produces.”

In 2016, 1,300 U.S. cadets participated in CULP in 42 countries. Three UW-Stout cadets have participated during the past 10 years.

Students in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, enroll in leadership courses as electives and pursue a degree of their choice. After completing the ROTC program, cadets commission as officers in the U.S. Army.

Sorenson, of Port Wing, a junior who will train in Guatemala for part of May and June, is pursuing a double major in supply chain management and business administration with a double minor in Spanish and military science leadership.

“Being immersed in a different culture and Guatemala’s military operations will definitely improve my Spanish speaking skills and provide me with knowledge about their vastly different lifestyle and economic standing,” she said. “It also will give me a better overall world perspective.”

Quednow, of Medford, will train in Madagascar from early June to early July. A junior, he is majoring in construction and minoring in business administration and military leadership.

“The world is an extraordinarily complex place, and being able to operate in it effectively with other people is a necessity,” he said. “I aspire to develop my leadership abilities by working through diversity barriers to improve communication and understand the benefit of maximizing multicultural organizations.”

The Army determines cadets’ CULP training destinations, though they can request a certain region of the world. Quednow requested Africa because of the continent’s diverse cultures. “I figured it would be unlike anything I could ever get to experience again,” he said.

Cadets travel in groups of about 10 led by senior leaders. Trips last about a month, including five days of preparation at a military base before deployment.

Sorenson anticipates learning strong leadership skills during the experience.

“The Army has a need for young leaders to develop more cultural awareness and especially foreign language proficiency skills,” Sorenson said. “Overseas missions like this will help educate me in ways a classroom simply cannot.”

Both cadets plan to commission as officers in the U.S. Army after completing the ROTC program.

UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls comprise the Northwoods Battalion of ROTC in northern Wisconsin.

More information on CULP is at For more information on the Northwoods Battalion, refer to



UW-Stout ROTC cadets Cole Quednow, left, and Jenna Sorenson will train overseas in summer 2017 during a competitive Army program that builds cultural awareness.