People and Community University

Scholarship gives ROTC cadet a ‘life-changing opportunity’

Austin Yalowitz was rewarded for his academic excellence, leadership qualities, and his physical fitness with a grant that covers his four-year tuition costs.

Austin Yalowitz received a scholarship that covers his four-year tuition costs. Photo: Joshua Prezant/University of Miami

Austin Yalowitz is a natural for the disciplined life.

As the son of a U.S. Marine, he grew up listening to stories of his father’s years of service to his country. During his high school years in Fort Lee, New Jersey, he became captain of the wrestling team, which involved daily rigorous physical exercise and training. And he did the workouts, while maintaining a 3.8 grade point average.

When college time arrived, Yalowitz knew he wanted to serve his country but also wanted to prepare himself for a civilian career. When he heard of the University of Miami Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC)—a program that trains students to enlist in the U.S. Army and Air Force while taking college classes—he wanted to apply but worried about the financial burden to his parents.

In his senior year, he applied for the four-year National Army ROTC Scholarship and received it. On Dec. 9, 2022, he was awarded a grant to cover his four-year tuition costs from Gen. Gary Brito, Commanding General of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command,and Lt. Col. Heath Papkov, professor of military science, for South Florida universities. 

“I feel very honored and proud to have received this scholarship,” Yalowitz said. “It is a life-changing opportunity for me. I am able to pursue both my dreams of being in the army and pursuing a career in real estate.”

He recently completed his first semester at the Miami Herbert Business School. As a cadet in the ROTC program, he gets up at 5:30 a.m. three times a week for one hour of physical training, which varies from running, exercises, and weight training. In addition, he trains in Jujitsu and mixed martial arts in a gym off campus.


This adds up to three to four hours of exercise a day. His dedication and physical fitness have allowed him to participate in several rucks, or long-distance runs, while carrying a 25-pound backpack. The most notable was the one he did in memory of the victims of the 9/11 attack on Sept. 11, 2022.    

“I find that on the days that I get up early and exercise I have more energy and can focus more on schoolwork,” he said.

Capt. Brian A. Geil, department head for the University Army ROTC, met Yalowitz seven months ago and has been impressed with Yalowitz’s discipline, eagerness, and work habits.

“He is a very hard worker,” said Geil. “He arrives early and is one of the last to leave and is always asking what else he can do to help his fellow cadets.

“He is studious and very physically fit, one of our highest performers as far as physical fitness,” he added.

Geil said Yalowitz was chosen for the scholarship because of his academic excellence, physical fitness, and leadership skills. About 14,000 students applied for the scholarship and 2,300 nationally were awarded the scholarship, said Geil.

Once he graduates, Yalowitz has the option of pursuing a career in the military as a four-year active duty officer or eight years as a reserve duty officer. He still has not made up his mind as to which course he will follow.