Will Studley (Student)
When Coventry, Rhode Island, native William J. “Will” Studley discovered a good thing, he didn’t let a distance of 1,200 miles keep him from pursuing it.
That’s how far the senior mechanical engineering major traveled after choosing Mississippi State for, in part, its highly regarded Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. The career decision, and his deep commitment to the program since arriving at the university in the fall of 2012, has earned him the top rank of cadet wing commander.
He currently leads some 70 cadets as they all prepare to be future U.S. Air Force leaders.
In addition to the campus AFROTC’s reputation for leadership development, Studley said other factors also led him south. “I know that the temperature is definitely warmer, but I feel like the people also are warmer,” he said.
As a freshman, Studley was involved in a number of activities, but ultimately came to appreciate ROTC as the one to which he would devote most of his efforts. “I was trying to find a place where I could prioritize my time and I landed on ROTC, mostly because I want to make a career out of it,” he explained.
“It really has inspired me to work harder,” he added.
In addition to continually testing his mental and physical abilities, military training has provided unparalleled opportunities to excel in leadership development, Studley said.
As wing commander, he is responsible for motivating the cadet corps, particularly during difficult training exercises. He said one way is to continually encourage his peers to not let fear hold them back and, as he explained, “just go for it.”
After graduation, Studley will be taking his training to a much higher level—literally.
As one of 345 chosen from a pool of about 900 applicants, he recently was awarded a coveted slot in undergraduate pilot training, where he will be testing his wings following his 2017 graduation.