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ROTC grads discuss their careers and the importance of a Nevada education

Nevada ROTC grads Chad Uhl ’95, Jessica (Rowell) Gregis ’95, and Brian Herzik ’96 took time from their busy schedules recently to answer a few questions from Nevada Silver & Blue.

Major Chad Uhl ’95 (political science) Aviation

What was it about Nevada that helped you become successful in your current pursuits?
The interaction with a large group in varying fields of study and the local area that is solid with community spirit and small town feel. Also, the outdoors opportunities in the Reno and Tahoe area.

What are your current goals/aspirations?

To receive my masters in human resources management. I’m currently taking courses at Webster University, but I’ll be going back to the regular Army soon and I hope to become a battalion operations officer responsible for planning operations and training for an Aviation Battalion (approximately 500 soldiers) and deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan (again).

Do you have favorite memories from Nevada? Favorite professors?

99-cent breakfasts at the casinos after doing physical training with the ROTC department at 0600 daily! Favorite profs were Dr. Eric Herzik in Political Science and Dr. Kenneth Peak in Criminal Justice, by a long shot. These teachers have solid beliefs and easy teaching styles that inspire you.

Chad is married to Asa, who he met while deployed to Bosnia in 1999 in Sarajevo. She was with the Swedish army and was UNPROFOR in 1994 in Zagreb, Croatia. They have a 6-year-old daughter, Mia, currently in first grade.

Major Jessica (Rowell) Gregis ’95 (criminal justice) Signal Corp

What was it about Nevada that helped you become successful in your current pursuits?

Many aspects of my educational experience with the University of Nevada, Reno impacted me professionally and personally. The breadth of instruction required for my degree, and my experience with the Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) gave me the initial skills necessary to be an officer in the U.S. Army. The friendships I developed while attending Nevada, from the local community and from within the ROTC program, continue to this day.

During my career, I’ve had to orally brief or provide written recommendations to military leaders up to the four star general level; I’ve been assigned in positions responsible for providing those same military leaders secure communications; and throughout my assignments I’ve managed soldiers, noncommissioned officers, warrant officers, officers, contractors and Department of the Army civilians. I could not have started my military career successfully without a strong foundation, which I obtained from Nevada.

While at UNR I completed a BA in criminal justice with a minor in business administration; and nearly completed my degree in speech communication. The classes required for these fields of study directly attributed to my initial and continued successful military career. I am currently a major in the U.S. Army and my specialization is in communications. The Speech Communication and Business Administration courses gave me a background in critical reasoning, management, writing, oral presentations, debate, and organizational development.

The Criminal Justice courses provided me a basic understanding of our justice system and the law, which vastly helped me understand the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and guided me whenever it was necessary for me to be involved with military legal proceedings. All of my courses required an increasing knowledge of a variety of computer applications, which I found especially useful when I was assigned to the Signal Corps within the Army.
During my time at Nevada, I learned about Toastmasters International from my Speech Communications instructors, but a local community member, Mr. Neal Cobb, actually took me to a meeting and helped me find a group. I became a member of the Sierra Sunrise Toastmasters during my last year at the University, and further developed my presentation skills while learning from many local leaders in the community that were members of my group. I still appreciate the additional experience I gained from the group, and during my recent deployment in Iraq, I had a United States flag flown in front of our division headquarters in dedication to Sierra Sunrise Toastmasters and mailed the flag to them. We’ve discussed my coming for a visit to Reno in the future and my attending a meeting during the visit, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.

I remain in touch with various people I befriended while attending UNR, but most recently I had the opportunity to attend a Nevada game in Missouri with two other classmates from ROTC, Major Chad Uhl and Major Brian Herzik. We are all currently attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Additionally, I got the opportunity to greet a close friend, Major Jemaine Kemp, from ROTC while in Iraq in December 2007. Jemaine arrived in Camp Liberty, Iraq with 4th Infantry Division (4ID) which was there to replace my unit, 1st Cavalry Division (1CD) as Multinational Division—Baghdad (MND-B). I look forward to continuing or renewing Nevada friendships long into the future.

What are your current goals/aspirations?

I am currently working on my master of science in information systems with Tarleton State University and expect to complete the program within the next year. I do not know what my next duty assignment will be yet. I expect to get promoted to Lieutenant Colonel within the next three years, and will compete for a Battalion Command or Division G6 position. I plan to retire from the military, but I currently don’t know how long after 20 years I will continue with the military. After I retire I will probably stay in the field of information technology (IT) in some aspect of management.

Jessica is married to Major Mark Gregis. She has a stepson, Zachary Gregis.  Jessica returned from Iraq in December 2007 and her husband returned from Afghanistan in April 2008l he left for Iraq in December 2008.

Brian Herzik ’96 (geography) Field Artillery

What was it about Nevada that helped you become successful in your current pursuits?

Going to the University of Nevada, Reno, because it is smaller than most other schools, I was able to get the focused attention I needed to finish. This has in turn showed me that bigger is not always better and smaller groups can get more accomplished than bigger ones sometimes. I have been able to use this mentality in the military to create focused smaller groups to get missions done and to have some great results.

What are your current goals/aspirations?

I’m still having fun working as an Army officer and servicing our nation. I plan on retiring around 2016 and starting something new. Although I don’t know what that something new is yet.

Do you have favorite memories from Nevada? Favorite professors?

A favorite memory for me is working at the football game selling beer and soda. It was always extremely busy and chaotic, but allowed me to meet people and have a good time. During the second half, I sometimes worked as part of the cannon crew. When Nevada went to the Silver Bowl, I think in ’95, we were very embarrassed because we bought the wrong type of gunpowder for the Fremont Cannon. So when we lit the wick it didn’t go “BOOM” it just hissed and shot a cloud of white smoke out of the cannon. Although it seemed to give the crowd something else to yell about, as Nevada lost only scoring twice, I think a touch down and a field goal.

My favorite professor was John George. I don’t think he is teaching any more but his classes were some of the most interesting and entertaining for me.

Brian is married to Shannon (Hensley) Herzik ’95 (elementary education/special education). They have a 1-year –old son, Nikolaus, who was born in Germany.


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