Cadet Capt. Jonathan Chase Strickland, a member of the University of North Georgia (UNG) Corps of Cadets, was honored on March 25, 2015, by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and both chambers of the state legislature for his ranking as top Army ROTC cadet in the United States. Chase will graduate in May 2015 from the Department of Political Science and International Affairs with a degree in international affairs with a Middle East concentration. He will commission as a second lieutenant in military intelligence and plans to attend Infantry Basic Officer Leader School in Fort Benning, Ga.

Newsletter editor Maria J. Albo interviewed Chase.

MJA: What made you choose the department of Political Science and International Affairs when deciding on your course of study?

JCS: Originally I planned to transfer to Georgia Tech and become an engineer. However, I realized that engineering was not going to provide me with skills that I needed after graduation. Dr. Jon Miner and my military advisor told me about the benefits of the IA degree to the military specifically related to the need for cross-cultural communication and an understanding of various political systems. I choose the Middle East because that is where our military was focused at the time. The IA major also gave me two opportunities to go abroad and see places that I had never been before. I was excited about the idea of experiencing something completely new.

MJA: What was your favorite part about the IA program?

JCS: The program structure and opportunity to go abroad. The major requires a study-abroad experience and an international internship. I completed the study-abroad program in Turkey with Dr. Miner and a group of other students. Knowing I would be with my classmates gave me the confidence to go abroad and be successful. Dr. Miner was very experienced and knowledgeable about the culture and language. I completed my internship in Rome, Italy, at the NATO Defense War College, which was something that I always knew I wanted to do and, once I knew I had the opportunity to do it through the IA degree, I was very motivated. I also enjoyed experiencing the food and culture in Rome.

MJA: What was your favorite course within the IA major?

JCS: “Comparative Security Theory” (with Dr. Dlynn Armstrong-Williams). The content of the course exposed me to concepts beyond traditional security including human security and economic security, which expanded my understanding of the world as well as put into perspective how large the industry is especially related to private-public partnerships. Also, the intensive writing required in the course helped me a great deal by expanding my writing and research skills by leaps and bounds.

MJA: Why should students consider a major in IA?

JCS: The IA major allows one to open his mind and think creatively by approaching things from various directions. It is amazing what one can do when he researches a topic from a different perspective and find new conclusions. One can take pride in the fact that he was able to deduce something new based on his work.

MJA: How do you plan to be involved with UNG after your graduation?

JCS: I want to be involved with the university after graduation. I hope to provide a small scholarship in the future as I received a number of small scholarships that helped me during my time at UNG and I would love to give back.

Note: Strickland received the MAJ Kitefre Oboho scholarship and the Jeremy Chandler Scholarship during his time at UNG.