Smeal spring 2020 ROTC marshal says degree will enhance military career

May 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Many would consider management a fitting major for students who are accepted into the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

A photo of Kevin Sheridan

Kevin Sheridan

IMAGE: Provided

For Kevin Sheridan, learning about the merits of a degree in management fit in with both his military and potential post-military plans.

Sheridan, who will graduate May 9 with a degree in management and a minor in legal environment of business, has been selected as Smeal’s spring 2020 ROTC student marshal.

“When I was planning on going into Smeal, I was undecided which degree I wanted to pursue. Initially, I was planning on going into supply chain management but after taking Management 301: Basic Management Concepts, with Jennifer Eury (clinical assistant professor of management and organization), I knew management was the degree for me. I was attracted to the degree for two reasons,” Sheridan said.

“The first was that the management program gives you a foundation of not just how to manage but how to actually lead organizations and being that I was in ROTC learning how to one day lead soldiers, I knew the experience and knowledge I would get in the management program would help later on when I became an officer in the Army. The management program prepares its students to be effective and ethical leaders, both of which will be crucial to my time in the military.

“The second reason was that the management program offers a concentration in human capital. Not many Smeal students know this but it’s important because instead of having a general management degree, I had the ability to focus my studies on human resource-related competencies, such as recruiting, developing employees, staffing an organization, which made me more marketable when I began looking for HR-related internships.”

Major Timothy Donelson, a professor of military science, said Sheridan’s leadership qualities have been on display already.

“Cadet Kevin Sheridan has been an exemplary cadet through his four years here at Penn State Army ROTC. Through his hard work and dedication, Kevin has not only earned a slot as an active-duty officer but he has been selected to serve in the infantry branch (the most coveted component and branch),” Donelson said.

“Cadet Sheridan has displayed the leadership qualities that place him among the top 10% of all cadets in the country. He has lived the Army Values of selfless service through countless hours of dedicated philanthropy within the Kaizen Club (at THON organization made up of Army ROTC cadets and friends) and as a 2020 THON dancer.”

Sheridan earned a U.S. Army ROTC scholarship and an Arnold scholarship. He was involved in the Smeal Human Capital Student Consultants and in the Society of Human Resource Management and Labor Employment Relations. He also served on the executive board of Delta Chi fraternity.

A native of Congers, New York, Sheridan interned for Lockheed Martin last summer as a human resources business partner. He said what he learned in another Smeal faculty member’s class was invaluable during his internship.

“I had Dr. Lisa O’Hara for multiple management classes pertaining to my concentration in human capital. She designs her class to make what the students learn applicable to what they’ll see if they pursue careers in human resources,” he said. “She used real world experience to demonstrate the importance of what we were learning, and I was able to apply those lessons and knowledge directly during my internship as an HR business partner for Lockheed Martin.”

Sheridan said commitment and time management enabled him to balance his academic and ROTC responsibilities.

“Being able to wake up early, prioritize your time, and commit yourself to what needs to get done each day will open up time for you later. While there were definitely some long nights with minimal amounts of sleep, I never felt that I couldn’t handle what was on my plate or that it was intruding into my personal life,” he said.

“During the week, I would always ensure I got all my work and studying done, exercised, met all my commitments whether it was for ROTC, clubs, or my fraternity and when the weekends came, I always felt I had the time to enjoy them with my friends.”

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Last Updated May 11, 2020