An internship with a local nonprofit organization last summer gave Josiah Routhier, ’13, a leadership studies major and then-ROTC cadet, an opportunity to practice his leadership skills, live out his faith and give back to the community. 

He worked with Strategies to Elevate People (STEP) where he “organized various programs for community development and spent time tutoring and working with children,” he says. He was also in charge of organizing a summer camp and counselor training. 

“It was an excellent leadership opportunity,” says Routhier. “I really saw greater application of the theories I was learning in class.”

He will take that experience and the knowledge he garnered in his leadership studies classes with him when he heads to Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the fall to attend Field Artillery School as an Army officer. The internship was required for his leadership studies major.

“The practical application of what I learned at the University of Richmond will be an everyday thing,” he says. “I’ll be leading soldiers, striving to be the best leader possible and taking care of my troops.”

He says he knows he will have much to learn – but that at Richmond he learned how to learn, “an essential skill that is vital to any career.” He points to one lesson in particular as the most important. “In order to be a great leader, you need to first be a great follower,” he says.

Routhier discovered early on that the military science and leadership classes he was required to take for ROTC meshed well with leadership studies classes. Whether he was out in the field at a training exercise or leading other cadets, he was able to observe and apply leadership in concrete ways.

“I found that I was able to participate more in my leadership studies classes because of the experience that I was receiving through my training as a cadet,” he says. “In short, the cross-application of my ROTC training and my classes in leadership studies proved beneficial and enhanced my learning in both areas.”