ROTC student plans to help soldiers with her human resources education

May 05, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State senior Dominique Buchholz grew up in a military family, and said her childhood was a driving force behind her desire to help people. Her time at Penn State and participation in Army ROTC has helped solidify her goal to work as a human resources consultant.

Buchholz, of Annapolis, Maryland, currently is completing an integrated undergraduate/graduate program (IUG) in the School of Labor and Employment Relations in the College of the Liberal Arts. Her undergraduate degree is in labor and employment relations, a major which was recently renamed labor and human resources. Her master’s degree is in human resources and employment relations (HRER). She also is completing a minor in military studies and will graduate in May 2020.  

Along with her general goal of helping people, Buchholz said she was also interested in business when looking for an academic program. She visited a number of universities before settling on Penn State – a decision she actually made, she said, with a coin toss.

“I made a pros and cons list for each of the schools. I flipped a coin and when it didn’t land on Penn State, I was really upset. That’s how I knew Penn State was the one for me,” she laughed. 

Buchholz met with the School of Labor and Employment Relations academic adviser, Katelyn Perry, early in her Penn State career.

“I talked with Katelyn and she convinced me to try some of the introductory LER classes and I found that I really liked them," said Buchholz.

As a sophomore, Buchholz started seriously considering the IUG program in HRER.

“The degree sounded really interesting, but ROTC scholars are contractually held to a four-year scholarship, so I didn’t think I’d be able to pursue it. I had several friends in the major who were either also interested in HRER or where already participating who loved the program,” said Buchholz. “Being able to do a master’s in five years rather than six is such an amazing opportunity that I worked with ROTC to get permission to defer my commission a year and finish my studies.”  

ROTC focuses on training college students to become leaders in the military.

“When I graduate, I’ll commission as a second lieutenant. There are three different paths students can take within ROTC: active duty, guard, or reserve,” Buchholz explained. “Active duty is the most competitive path and it means that being in the military is your full-time job. The guard and reserve paths are more like part-time. In those paths, you choose a home state and complete monthly drills there and two-week summer drill sessions.”

Last summer, Buchholz spent 40 days at Fort Knox in Kentucky doing training. There, she said, she got to experience different aspects of the army, including artillery and infantry.

There is a human resources branch of the military called Adjutant General, and Buchholz said she hopes to be part of it someday.

“I really want to work with soldiers and help them find better ways to set themselves up. A lot of people enlist right after high school, so they may not know the best way to set themselves up for a career in the army, get promoted, manage their finances, or other things like that," said Buchholz.

In addition to a busy class schedule, she is involved in numerous organizations on campus. She participated in THON and has been on several committees, including Kaizen, the Army ROTC THON organization. She is a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority as well as a Lion Scout.

“I love sharing Penn State with other people and it’s only made me love it more," she said.

Taking graduate level classes, being part of ROTC, and balancing extracurriculars has also been beneficial to her time management skills, said Buchholz.

This semester, she also was a recipient of the School’s Freda Rozen Award, which recognizes students who have been highly successful academically. This summer, she will be participating in a virtual graduate-level HR internship with IBM.

“At Penn State, the door remains open for anything you want to pursue. I started out thinking I’d do four years of college and go into the army, then figure out what I wanted to do specifically," said Buchholz. "In LER, I’ve developed a more solid goal — there are so many options out there and so many people who will take the time to help you along the way."

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 06, 2020