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Ethan Crosby Video Transcript

[Interviewer] Welcome to the University of North Georgia Political Science & International Affairs Department's YouTube channel. In this segment of our "Meet Our Alumni" series you will have the opportunity to meet US Army Captain Ethan Crosby. Having grown up in Canton, GA Ethan received his Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs degree and commissioned into the Army in 2015.

To start us off, would you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Who exactly is Ethan Crosby?

[Ethan Crosby] Yeah, my name is Ethan Crosby. I am currently a PSYOP Officer which is a subset within Special Operations in the Army. I am a Captain here stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina.

In 2015, I graduated from University of North Georgia. And there I majored in International Affairs with a minor in Chinese and with a focus in East Asian political systems. I have been in the Army for about five years now. And I've been married for six years and I have two kids.

[Interviewer] What have you been doing in those past five or so years?

[Ethan] So when I commissioned in the Fall of 2015, I then went to Ft. Benning for the initial "Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course." So I was commissioned as an Armor Officer. And from there after about a year in Fort Benning I changed duty stations to Fort Wainwright, AK. And there I was a platoon leader, twice within the cavalry squadron. As an Armor officer I was a reconnaissance platoon leader and a mobile gun system platoon leader.

So from there, I moved my family and myself to Fort Bragg. Prior to that, I went to Airborne School and then I moved to Fort Bragg and, which I'm here now.

[Interviewer] Let's go back to when you first joined the PSIA family. What got you into the world of International Affairs as an undergrad? And specifically, why did you choose both an international affairs degree, but perhaps most importantly, why here at the University of North Georgia?

[Ethan] One of the major, defining factors for me was as somebody growing up in Georgia, most of my life, I had an interest in travel, in other cultures, in other political systems. However, I didn't really have any opportunities to do so. So in the curriculum itself at North Georgia, I was really drawn to opportunities to receive language education. And then also within the major, it requires study abroad to some degree in which I went to China for six months. So in that regard, there were a lot of opportunities to apply and learn outside of the classroom. And then yeah, so the, the degree itself was had a lot of depth to it, and allowed me to not only get good instruction in the classroom on some of the major theories of international relations, but I got to see the world and see those theories applied in action in different countries.

The reason I picked UNG specifically...Although International Affairs was the degree I chose and I chose it for the reasons I said, first and foremost, I went to North Georgia to join the military and become an officer in the United States Army. So, partnered with the really good education opportunities, North Georgia is a Senior Military College. And it's a very competitive one at that. So to me it was a no-brainer to go to North Georgia, with their reputation as well as their academic reputation.

[Interviewer] How was your transition if you can go back to that time, into the Army from life as a full-time student to full-time Army officer?

[Ethan] It was rather smooth. So in 2015, like I said, I commissioned in August and I found North Georgia's level of professionalism, especially on the Army side as they prepare you to become a lieutenant, is they go above and beyond to give you the proper expectations as to what it takes to be in the Army, what it takes to lead, what it takes to lead confidently. So it, it was extremely smooth.

And then for me, I, I got married my last year in school, so my wife and I, we got a year married before we started our, our Army life. So it, it was smooth, and I, I have North Georgia to thank for that.

[Interviewer] I understand you're back in the classroom at North Carolina and have been now for a little bit. How has that been going back to school and actually, what are you doing this time around?

[Ethan] Yeah. So right now I'm finishing up the "Psychological Operations Qualification Course." So every officer before they switch to their next job for their next rank, have a degree of education. Or at least within my pipeline it's been about a year long, starting with "Basic Captains Course" followed by the "Psychological Operations" -- called the MOS course -- so it's basically what it, what it means to be a PSYOP officer. And lastly, which I feel North Georgia prepared me for the most has been language school. Every special operations soldier as well as officer takes a language course. So I'm on the tail end of Chinese Mandarin school. So it's sunup to sundown Chinese language, and for me I, I feel like it's been quite a refresher. And I have North Georgia to thank a lot for that. The teachers there are fantastic and they challenged me and really improved my Chinese ability. So, it's just been a smooth transition.

[Interviewer] Ethan, what has your UNG International Affairs degree done for you, in both, on a professional level but also at the personal level?

[Ethan] As of now, it's, on a, on a personal end it's, its had a major impact. First and foremost personally ... The curriculum, the teachers and some of the experiences have provided me really challenging content to question my own biases. Also to experience cultures and other political systems. It really provides a well-rounded education that gives you a baseline understanding about how the world works; how economies work; how other cultures and other people groups truly think.

Professionally, I think the best is yet to come. As, as a lieutenant in the Army, you are primarily, especially as a combat arms officer, you're primarily focused on the tactical level of leading soldiers. in a platoon, which, now as a Psychological Operations Officer, I will predominantly focus at the operational and the strategic level within the United States' mission-sets, tentatively in Asia. To be. So for me, I am just now and hopefully in the future getting to pull in my understanding of political systems, of systems of thought, and I'm hoping that'll come in handy

[Interviewer] As a follow-on Ethan, what experiences from the Political Science & International Affairs program here at UNG would you say have been most meaningful to your life? And, turn that around a little bit - Which ones, or which do you anticipate being most meaningful to you as you continue your career with the United States Army

[Ethan] Yeah, good question. While I'll never forget time in the classroom and, and having the various discussions, I think the most impactful, like I've alluded to already, have just been the opportunities abroad. My sophomore year I went to Tsinghua University in Beijing for about four months. And then I did an internship in Kunming, China next to Vietnam for two months. And that was my first time out of the country. And the exposure to living within the Chinese political system, within the culture, within the language -- immersion -- that did a, had a huge effect on my way of seeing the world.

And secondly, this, the summer before I commissioned into the Army, I was selected to participate in an internship in Honolulu, Hawaii at a, at a security center called APCSS, which is Asian Pacific Center for Security Studies. And their mission set there is to have discussions in order to facilitate security cooperation amongst various countries throughout Asia and the Indo-Asia Pacific area. And that was, I was an intern there and, especially on the military side, I had a lot of opportunities to intern underneath foreign-area officers, other professors at the graduate level. And they facilitated a lot of discussion with high-level security officials from various countries throughout Asia. So really just being there and soaking in the ways in which you interact, the ways in which you build cooperation and through diplomacy, was, it was just an amazing experience and something I hope to look into in the future.

[Interviewer] In closing, what do you have to say to our viewers, whether prospective students, current students, or your peers and or other former students?

[Ethan] I would say three things. First is: Be excited about the faculty and the professors that you get to learn from. Whether it was Dr. Armstrong-Williams or Professor Harris, I was really challenged through discussion, through reading, through writing and through speech-giving to challenge my thinking. And, and if you challenge yourself, you will learn a lot. And you'll be glad you did.

Secondly, as you move into this Department, I would encourage you to seek out opportunities that may appear unconventional. For example, in my case, you are typically required to take one "Abroad" experience and then secondly, an internship. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to take two internships as well as a study abroad opportunity. And if you can fit it into your timeline ... really, in my opinion, it's the internship and the abroad experience that really allows you to apply what you've learned. And it'll make your study experience complete. So I would encourage you to look into as many opportunities as you can - they're there. And North Georgia provides those opportunities for you.

And then lastly, I said it before but to be specific, challenge yourself. Whether that's academically through grades, whether that's through, intellectually through entertaining ideas that you may not agree with but are new to you. And then lastly, engaging with other students and teachers. I know it's a, it's a comment that you always get as a student and it can be a bit of a, a boring eye-roll. But it's true. You'll be happy if you did if you challenged yourself. And if you do you'll reap the benefits later on.

[Interviewer] Well, thank you very much for your time Ethan, and for your service to our country. I wish you all the best as you continue on in your Army career and sincerely hope you will continue to #experiencemore with the help of your degree from UNG's Political Science & International Affairs Department.

Ethan Crosby, PSIA Alumni Spotlight

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