ASU Army ROTC, College of Health Solutions partner to provide specialized cadet training program

February 8, 2022

Last month, Arizona State University’s Army ROTC and the College of Health Solutions joined forces to hold the second-ever semi-annual Tactical Athlete Seminar, a three-day program on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus to train cadet coaches to lead physical training programs at ASU and Grand Canyon University.

Through the program, over 20 ROTC cadets gained tactical proficiency in a number of areas, including foundational movement, coach-to-coach mentor training and recovery nutrition. ASU professors and subject matter experts taught cadets how to develop a physical training plan that will allow them to improve their performance on the Army Combat Fitness Test.  ASU ROTC students lifting weights. Jray Sotiangco (left) and Sean Valentine (right) during the Tactical Athlete Seminar on Jan. 4. Photo courtesy ASU Army ROTC Download Full Image

This is the beginning of a new partnership between ASU’s Army ROTC and the College of Health Solutions to accelerate the university’s cadet physical fitness program

“This program will lay a strong foundation in combat readiness for cadets as they progress in their military careers and lead as officers in their future units,” said Capt. Tim Martin, assistant professor in the Department of Military Sciences. “We have already seen tremendous improvement in cadets’ (Army Combat Fitness Test) scores from fall semester and look to build on that moving forward this spring.”

Three faculty members from the College of Health Solutions led and designed the programming: Lecturer Rachel Larson, Senior Lecturer Joe Marsit and Assistant Professor Floris Wardenaar.

Larson instructed cadets on fitness during the seminar, focusing on assessment, mobility and strength, resistance training and exercise programming.

“The seminar is important not only for our students within the College of Health Solutions but also the ROTC students. Our seminar educates and equips leaders within the ROTC program with the proper knowledge to assist their underclassmen and fellow cadets with training to meet fitness standards. With more knowledge on proper fitness preparation, training can occur in a safe and productive manner,” Larson said. “With the new occupational opportunities within the military for strength and conditioning professionals, our students will be better equipped to apply and be selected for these positions.”

People lifting weights

Grand Canyon University students Viviana Mora (left) and Nicole Hartley (right) during the Tactical Athlete Seminar on Jan. 4. Photo courtesy ASU Army ROTC

Larson added that the response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and the faculty will continue to improve the programming to meet student needs.

“It has been an honor to work with such a great group of individuals. These cadets are able to gain the valuable experience they need to succeed,” she said. “All of the faculty involved have been very engaged and dedicated to the education of our Sun Devil Battalion. We have worked to refine the seminar and have offered two (weeklong) courses already."

One of the seminar participants was Crystal Pittman, a senior working toward a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a minor in military leadership, who is the cadet command sergeant major for ASU’s Sun Devil Battalion. Having served in the Army for 10 years, Pittman said she enjoyed the hands-on experience provided through the seminar and is eager to utilize the skills she learned in her future career.

“The tactical athlete seminar gave me tools to better myself as an athlete and a soldier, and to also be able to coach other cadets and develop them,” Pittman said. “This program gives you foundational information that you can take with you and develop into a stronger, faster, more agile soldier and athlete, which in turn will make you more resilient and perform better.”

Moving forward, those involved hope to continue the momentum of the seminar, conducting it regularly at the beginning of each academic semester.

The next Tactical Athlete Seminar will take place in fall 2022. Students interested in participating should contact Joe Marsit and join the Athletics and Tactical Performance Affinity Network in the College of Health Solutions.

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

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Symposium to focus on prejudices against Black sexuality, gender

School of Social Transformation to hold symposium on gendered anti-Blackness.
Event to look at the creative, life-giving ways people are challenging bigotry.
February 8, 2022

'Misogynoir Transformed' author Moya Bailey is the keynote speaker at event exploring intersectionality

Black History Month is a celebration. But it’s also a time for awareness and education.

That’s the focus of the "Symposium on Rhetorics of Gendered Anti-Blackness and Sexuality" being held Thursday, Feb. 10, by Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation. 

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we must highlight, embrace and affirm all of gender and sexual diversity within global Black communities as a form of collective action against anti-Black racism and white supremacy,” said Marlon Bailey, an associate professor of women and gender studies, African and African American studies, and American studies at ASU. “And this program will inform students, faculty and community members about the richness of Black people historically and today. Knowledge is a key to liberation.”

At the heart of the symposium is intersectionality — that is, the ways in which race, gender and other characteristics intersect and overlap, and how systems of oppression are connected. A trans Black woman may face a mix of discrimination — racism, sexism and transphobia — that is different from what a cisgenderDescribes people whose gender identity matches the one they were assigned at birth. Black man or trans white woman might experience.

“This symposium draws attention to those intersections of difference and ... the way, to a large extent, they're very normalized. We don't really see them. They're kind of rendered invisible," said Ersula Ore, the Lincoln Professor of Ethics in ASU's School of Social Transformation who organized the event. “So this symposium works to draw attention to those (situations), their impact, and also draw attention to the ways that individuals respond, challenge and transform those situations.”

Class is racialized and has a gender component, said Ore, who is also an associate professor of African and African American studies and the author of the book, "Lynching: Violence, Rhetoric, & American Identity." When on top of that, an individual is gender-non-conforming, it can compound the situation and have a very real effect on access to health care and other resources.

“The lived experiences of Black people and Black gender-non-conforming individuals are different from the world and America at large,” she said. “There are ways in which Blackness and gender, and specifically, Blackness and sexualities, are further demonized as a result of being tied to a notion of non-whiteness.”

The symposium — which is virtual and free — will feature two panels and a keynote address by Moya Bailey, a professor at Northwestern University and the author of the book “Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance.” The book showcases how Black women respond to and resist anti-Black misogyny on social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Tumblr.

Ore said social media is just one of many ways Black people, and more specifically, Black gender-non-conforming individuals, are demonized. She said the terms “cross-dressing” and “transvestite” are used to “deny their humanity, deny their capacity for human and healthy lives, their access to health care, their access to education, their access to fair housing and access to full and equal representation under the law.”

Marlon Bailey, who helped organize the event, added, “Transphobia, homophobia, misogyny and queer gender phobia are all complicit with anti-Black racism and white supremacy. The papers by scholars participating in this symposium will bring into focus the ways that all forms of queer phobia, both within Black communities and in larger society, are anti-Black. Our speakers will also discuss ways that Black queer, trans and non-gender-conforming communities create alternative spaces, kinship and communities of care and safety. These are ways that Black communities (queer and non-queer) resist anti-Blackness, as well as care for communities that are vulnerable to structural violence and oppression.” 

Ore provided an example of such prejudice.

“Let’s say there’s an individual who needs medication to assist their transition, and they move from one job to another job,” she said. “And the insurance company they now have to work with because they have a new insurer denies their capacity to gain access to medication that they’ve had access to for the last five years of their lives. That individual has to go through a whole other process of legitimizing their situation to be found acceptable.”

Ore said the symposium is important for Black women and Black gender-non-conforming persons for two reasons: One, they can identify with others who are facing misogyny, racism and sexism. Two, practical ways to combat those abuses will be identified.

“That’s literally what Moya’s book talks about,” Ore said. “How do you respond? How do you fight back? How do you keep living and putting one foot in front of the other in the midst of all this anti-Blackness?

“And how do you take something that’s so (dehumanizing) and turn it into something generative and powerful?”

Register for the daylong symposium here.

Top photo courtesy of

Scott Bordow

Reporter , ASU News