MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- One of 2nd Lt. Stephenie Reid’s favorite quotes is from retired U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell: “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” According to Reid, “it encourages me to stay positive. I always try to remember the importance of having positivity and enthusiasm with others and oneself, especially when it comes to any language acquisition journey because it’s a lifelong endeavor that revolves around constant improvement.”
Positivity and enthusiasm are not in short supply with Reid. During her time in Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Reid was accepted to Project Global Officer (Project GO), a collaborative initiative promoting critical language education, study abroad, and intercultural dialogue opportunities for ROTC students and focuses on the languages and countries of the Middle East, Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and South America.
“My experience with Project GO was amazing both times I participated! I first went to Narva, Estonia, in 2017 and decided to return with the same University of Pittsburgh program in 2018 since I had gained significant improvement in my Russian language during my initial time there. Project GO made me aware of other opportunities available to college students, such as the Boren Scholars program, which I was fortunate enough to take part in before I graduated and commissioned,” Reid said.
According to Reid, Project GO was an exceptional stepping stone for opening career opportunities, including the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP).
“Project GO greatly improved my Russian language and gave me more confidence to converse freely without fearing the inevitable mistakes that come with learning a foreign language. The experience also pushed me to continue my Russian studies through LEAP. I never want to lose the foundation of Russian I’ve built during the years, and LEAP has given me the ability to keep that foundation while still making me a more culturally competent Air Force officer,” she said. “I highly recommend it to anyone dedicated to improving their language skills.”
This young officer knows her future holds a world of possibilities ripe for the choosing, yet she maintains a steady plan for moving forward toward success.
“While I am keeping an open mind to all the opportunities out there, my future goals include continuing my education with a Masters in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies, and possibly applying to the Foreign Area Officer program. For now, I am focused on preparing for my first assignment out of tech school and reading up on areas of the world I am less familiar with,” Reid said.