Hughes prepares for a career in intelligence by combining ROTC and criminal justice

BOONE, N.C. — Kendall Hughes, who is from Charlotte, transferred to Appalachian State University because he felt that Appalachian had the best Army ROTC program in the state and the Department of Government and Justice Studies would put him on track toward a career in intelligence.

“I wanted to learn as much as I could,” said Hughes, who is majoring in criminal justice with a concentration in international studies.

“An international criminal justice major encompasses anthropology, sociology, psychology, statistics, political science and economics. It’s everything put into one major. If you want to have a positive influence on society, I’d argue that criminal justice is probably one of the most important majors to pursue,” he said.

Hughes, who is a senior, plans to complete an internship with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and graduate in August.

After graduation, Hughes will commission as an active-duty second lieutenant in the Field Artillery branch of the U.S. Army. He plans to obtain a master’s degree in international security while serving in the Army. After graduation, he would like to work as an intelligence analyst at the federal Defense Intelligence Agency.

He said he feels well prepared for the U.S. military after serving in the Mountaineer Battalion for two years.

“The Mountaineer Battalion has a long history of producing some of the best officers in the U.S. Army,” he said. “In the program, I’ve been given consistent opportunities in leadership positions where I’ve been able to learn and improve my tact, confidence, empathy, mental agility and adaptability.”

Courses in his major have given him a broader view of issues he’ll tackle in his career, and he’s enjoyed the personal relationships he’s formed with his professors, he said.

“The classes are small enough that you can open up a dialogue. You can visit professors during their office hours. At big schools, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen,” he said.

“I’ve had professors who were former police chiefs, professors who’ve worked in the court room. Dr. Curtis Ryan lived in Jordan for a few years. He taught an international terrorism class. You’re being taught by people who know how what they’re teaching relates to the real world because they’ve done it.”

By Mary Giunca

Posted March 21, 2018 at 4:42 p.m.

About the Department of Government and Justice Studies

Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies offers undergraduate programs in political science and criminal justice, and graduate programs in political science and public administration. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the department has over 600 undergraduate majors and more than 70 graduate students. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

About the Department of Military Science and Leadership

One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Appalachian’s Department of Military Science and Leadership is home to the Mountaineer Battalion. Established in 1969, the program provides students with training to develop self-discipline, physical stamina and poise, as well as the organizational and motivational skills that contribute to success in any career. Students who complete the ROTC program earn credits for a minor in military science and leadership and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves or Army National Guard upon graduation.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts

Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Cadet Hughes
Published: Mar 22, 2018 12:10pm