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Boeing Signs Memorandum to Provide Interview Pipeline for VT Corps of Cadets Citizen-Leader Track

Boeing and Virginia Tech have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide an interview pipeline with increased internship and scholarship engagement for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. A signing ceremony took place Sept. 14 between Boeing and Virginia Tech at the Holtzman Alumni Center.

The memorandum provides a guaranteed opportunity for cadets graduating from the Corps of Cadets’ Citizen-Leader Track to interview with Boeing. The interview opportunity also extends to military-track cadets once they have completed their service obligation or former cadets who have been medically discharged from military service.

Cadets in the Military-Leader Track pursue officer commissions through the ROTC programs and the Marine Platoon Leader Course. Cadets in the Citizen-Leader Track graduate without a military obligation.

Along with the interview opportunities, Boeing also will collaborate to create an engagement plan to bring internships and scholarships to the corps and support increased cadet participation in the Innovation Collaboration course offered through the College of Engineering, according to the agreement.

Cadet Vivek Gopalam, a sophomore in the Citizen-Leader Track majoring in electrical engineering, is enrolled in the Innovation Collab course, which leverages industry mentorships and a hands-on learning opportunity that challenge students to solve current industry problems with innovation and collaboration.

“I have been surprised with how structured the innovation process is, with different methods of organizing, generating, and analyzing ideas being employed to identify what the best solution to a given problem is in addition to the parameters of the problem,” he said.

“I hope to work as an engineer at either a defense contractor or directly for one of the military departments, helping to develop, evaluate, and maintain systems that will be used in defense of our country. The internship with Boeing will allow me to gain industry experience in my major and expose me to the world of defense contracting,” said Gopalam.

Cadet Pramil Patel, an aerospace engineering major and a sophomore in the Citizen-Leader track, was also offered an internship with Boeing.

“Getting to work with people from many different majors and understanding the different perspectives from the groups in the collab class has been very interesting. I’m excited to get real-world experience in the aerospace field and work for a company interested in space missions,” Patel said.

The Citizen-Leader Track mentors cadets seeking civilian employment upon graduation. Cadets in the Citizen-Leader Track have the same expectations, standards, and opportunities as cadets in the Military-Leader Track. That includes leadership and command opportunities throughout the regiment. As they move through the program, they learn management and team-building skills that make them highly sought after by civilian employers. This May, 80 percent of Citizen-Leader Track graduates received job offers and graduate school acceptance letters before they crossed the stage at graduation.

Ken Mallory, assistant director of the Citizen-Leader Track, is excited to see the internship and interview opportunities for his cadets.

“Our cadets are looking for ways to serve the nation, and Boeing’s internship and interview pipeline is sure to help them find a way to do so. The diversity of student backgrounds in the corps’ Citizen-Leader Track virtually ensures that there is a cadet to perfectly fit each Boeing need,” said Mallory.

“When speaking with Boeing last year, it was clear that they wanted cadets and our corps alumni in their program, not specifically because of their engineering skills or background, but because of the progressive leader development model that the Corps of Cadets offers. The corps trains its citizen-leaders first to be followers, to work effectively in teams, and ultimately to guide and manage their teams to success,” said Mallory.

Marc Allen, chief strategy officer of The Boeing Company and senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development echoed that sentiment in his remarks at the signing ceremony. “This commitment is because we know the caliber, the quality. We can commit to interview all because we know that all represent the high standard that is in place here in the program. We’re confident as we do this work diligently as a company, seeking to continue to build diversity and inclusion across our team, that as we do it with leadership, with integrity, and critical skills brought forward by cadets, we will become even more what we aspire to be,” he said.

The commandant of cadets, Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, took part in the signing ceremony and signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the corps. “This memorandum of understanding is a great example of a major business organization recognizing the potential in our Citizen-Leader Track cadets who are seeking ways to be involved in national security through avenues other than a military career. We look forward to this partnership with Boeing in the years ahead,” said Fullhart.

Boeing has a long history of partnership with Virginia Tech and was the first foundational partner for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria. The company also announced in June a partnership between Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia to create The Boeing Center for Veteran Transition and Military Families, a move that further strengthened the 70-year partnership between the university and the company.

“For our cadets to have the chance to serve with a company that has also dedicated themselves to service is a gratifying moment,” Mallory said.

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