Cadet Profiles

Ever wonder what the daily life of a cadet consists of? The primary purpose of Army ROTC is to train men and women on campus the fundamentals of military leadership and to prepare them to become officers in the United States Army. Fundamentally, the U.S. Army is a unique institution that imposes distinctive demands and expectations on its people. The ROTC program at UW-Madison attempts to prepare Badger Battalion cadets for the unique challenges and expectations of Army life by duplicating, as closely as possible, a military environment. This means that your experience in ROTC will be very different from your prior college or high school experience. Also, as your time with ROTC progresses you will find that the ROTC program will begin to require more of your time and commitment. Here we have profiled cadets from each Military Science class in order for you to see what their daily lives and ROTC responsibilities consist of.


Name: Austin Hill

Hometown: Cuba City, WI

School: University of Wisconsin - Whitewater   

Major: Marketing

MS Year: MS I


My name is Austin Hill and am from the town of Cuba City, WI. I have lived there my whole life and enjoyed the small town life, with a population of around 2100. I currently attend the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and currently on track for a major in marketing with an emphasis on sales. My family consists of my mom, Jill Hill, and dad, Mike Hill, as well as my siblings: Older brother Tyler, 22, Younger brother Kyle, 18, younger sister Jenna, 13, and younger brother Kolbe, 10. I loved to play sports in high school and was on the football, wrestling, and track teams. Aside from athletics, I also enjoyed being a part of the forensics team, LEO Club, FCCLA, and the Spanish club.

I decided to join ROTC for a few reasons. First of all, a very large portion of my family was in the military and I always looked up to them. Ever since I was a little kid I knew that this was something that I wanted to be a part of. Not only do they carry themselves with respect and dignity, but they also have a lot of life experiences that they have carried with them even after finishing the military. Aside from helping shape you into a better person socially, ROTC, or any military experience for that matter, is something that will build an incredible about of self-discipline and mental toughness. The final reason that I decided to join the Army ROTC, is that I wanted to become something bigger than myself. There is something about knowing that you can potentially make a difference to the people around you that makes this one of the most important reasons to me. If I can somehow change even just one other person’s life for the better in my time in the service, I will be happy.

Even though it is my first year in Army ROTC, there are a few things that I have picked up on. First of all, always make sure you are giving your 110%. I know that everyone says that regardless of what you are doing, however, while being a part of the military you are no longer doing things that you do for yourself. There’s now a lot of people counting on you to do what is that you do well. Always be sure that no matter what it is that you are doing, to give it your all. Another suggestion is to make sure you are organized and managing your time. There is a time commitment that is made by becoming part of this program and it is essential to make sure that everything is getting done. Finally, have a bigger picture plan. Make sure that you have a reason for being here and know what you plan to do with the skills and many forms of knowledge gained from this program.


Name: Thomas Dittus

Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland

School: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Major: Psychology 

MS Year: MS II


CDT Dittus is a brand new cadet from Silver Spring, Maryland and a graduate of Montgomery Blair High School.

CDT Dittus has been considering joining the United States Army for as long as he can remember. He was planning on enlisting at some point, but decided to go to the college route first. Eventually, he found himself in the Army ROTC program with a 3-year scholarship. He first heard about Army ROTC program from his friend’s dad, who is a former Marine.  


“Do not hold yourself back.” CDT Dittus offers this advice to those incoming Freshman who are thinking about joining the Army ROTC program. You will meet a lot of new people through the program, and it’s a great feeling to wear the uniform on campus and represent our country.

Dittus' favorite hobby is playing and watching soccer.

Fun Fact about CDT Dittus: he has lived on 4 different continents.


Name: Sean Kelly

Hometown: Mexico, Missouri

School: Edgewood College

Major: Entrepreneurship

MS Year: MS I

CDT Kelly is a freshman at Edgewood College majoring in Entrepreneurship. He grew up in Mexico, Missouri with his three younger siblings.

CDT Kelly joined Army ROTC for many reasons. First, he wanted to pursue the degree of his choice at Edgewood College. To do that he applied for an Army ROTC scholarship and received a 3 year scholarship. His father and grandfather also served in the Army and he wanted to follow in their footsteps. Another reason that CDT Kelly joined was because he wanted to serve others and to him this was the best way to pursue that desire.

His advice to new college students, like himself, who are thinking about joining Army ROTC is to just give it a try. If you like a challenge then ROTC is right for you. You meet great people and create a bond that you can’t find anywhere else. There’s no pressure to join and you have nothing to lose.

CDT Kelly’s hobbies are camping, reading, hanging out with friends, and eating great food.

Fun fact about CDT Kelly is that he is an Eagle Scout.


Name: Brittni Swanson
Hometown: Tomah, Wisconsin
School: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Major: International Studies with an Emphasis in Global Security 
MS Year: III

Cadet Brittni Swanson was originally born in St. Croix Falls, WI but moved to Tomah, WI in the 5th grade. She has a younger sister, Kelsi, 17, and a younger brother, Daniel, 12.

She joined ARMY ROTC for a few reasons. There   is a history  of military in her family with both grandfathers and father having served, especially her Grandpa "Tubby" Clarence. He served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and was part of a reconnaissance unit that lead and completed several successful missions. There are even a few passages in a couple books about him!! Check out Never Without Heroes​ by Lawrence C. Vetter, Jr. to read about his squad being ambushed and surrounded by the enemy. He and his men held their position while six helicopters attempted their eventual rescue. She also joined ROTC because of the structure it provides her. It helps maintain and improve physical fitness and mental agility in all aspects of life.

CDT Swanson's advice to new college students in Army ROTC, is two big things: perseverance and time management. Even though things may seem tough, if you have the mind set and the will to fight for what you want, you will achieve your goals. Sometimes it may not happen as quickly as you like, but that's when you do not give up. You strive even harder and success will come to you. After getting a bone infection and not being able to walk for almost half a year, getting back into physical shape has been one of the hardest things she had to do. She works out extra, eat healthier, and have an overall more positive outlook on physical fitness. Being in Army ROTC is definitely not your typical college experience. With physical training, Military Science classes and labs, and outside training, a good amount of your free time and study time is taken up by ROTC. However everything is possible with proper time management. When you just want to watch "just one more episode on Netflix", DON'T DO IT. Step away from the "play next episode" button, complete your tasks, and then watch as much as your little heart desires.

Her hobbies would include reading a good book, kayaking, going to concerts with her friends, watching the Badgers and Packers, and traveling!​

**FUN FACT: This summer when Swanson traveled to Peru, the group she was leading went on a horseback ride with a guide through some ancient Incan ruins. Little did we know, they were supposedly haunted, and upon returning to our host house and looking at our photos, there were are few with mysterious "figures" that were very creepy!