Blake Lemmons knew early in life that he wanted to pursue a career as an officer in the U.S. Army. He also knew that studying foreign languages would be good preparation for that career. So when it was time for him to pick a college, he wanted to find a school with outstanding language instruction and a strong Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. Fortunately for Blake, a native of Greenwood, Indiana, he found both close to home at IU.
As an IU student, Blake began studying Dari, the Afghan dialect of Persian, and then transitioned to Iranian Farsi. After his sophomore year, he spent nine weeks living with a host family and studying Persian in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as part of the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program.
Blake says his experiences in the College of Arts and Sciences gave him a cultural education that he couldn’t have gotten anywhere else—one that will serve him well in his military career.
“The army needs people who are culturally adept in the Middle East,” he says. “I learned about Middle Eastern religion, language, and culture on a very holistic and deep level so that I understand that culture.”
Blake graduated with his B.A. in Near Eastern languages and cultures in May 2015. That same month he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army. He’s currently attending flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he’s learning to fly helicopters. After he completes flight school, he’ll serve six years of active duty in the army.
Read more about Blake’s experiences at IU