Along with his tuition scholarship from Macaulay Honors College, Drew Podgorski also was awarded a four-year Army ROTC National Scholarship right out of high school. The John Jay student is a member of that college’s first graduating class at Macaulay. Drew was inspired to join the ROTC by NY State Senator Greg Ball, who was a graduate of the Air Force Academy and with whom Drew had an internship. Other role models, like former Macaulay professor Army General David Petraeus inspired Drew to continue in military service.
“I’m comfortable in a classroom or an office, but learning to lead people in stressful situations when everyone is cold, tired, and hungry is an entirely different animal and something I wanted to become skilled at.”
Drew has been a cadet at the CUNY Army ROTC program at City College, joining it in 2013, the first time it was re-instated since 1972. It opened Drew’s eyes to the diverse backgrounds of students at CUNY—all trying to meet the ROTC requirements while facing many personal challenges.
“Some members were prior-enlisted in the military, had families, and were coming back to get their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, and earn their commission. The opportunity to develop leadership skills in such a diverse environment has prepared me to be able to lead diverse teams in the Army and in my civilian career.”
Drew had a double major in Global Economics and Middle Eastern Relations, and he also received a CUNY BA, along with his Macaulay degree. His internship experiences led to his specialization in the technology sector and it all came together in his senior year when he completed his capstone project.
“It was called, “For A.I. and Country” about the Third Offset Strategy, analyzing the gap between Washington DC and Silicon Valley in the integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as automation, machine learning, advanced manufacturing, and big data analytics, into the defense apparatus.”
The Brewster, NY native’s dad is a paramedic and his mom is a nurse, both of whom earned college degrees—and neither of whom was in the military. In summer 2017, Drew will go to Fort Knox for a month of culminating training and will commission as a Second Lieutenant, Infantry Officer in the Army National Guard upon completion of his training. He will also start his career as a technology investment banking analyst at Bowen Advisors. His most rewarding experience at Macaulay was taking Gen. Petraeus’ class, The North American Decades, a public policy course.
“I enjoyed being in a class where my peers and the material were so interdisciplinary, and everyone had to step up when it was their turn to contribute. The experience of analyzing macro-level trends and then drilling down into the details, the implications for the stakeholders and need to take a stance on a challenging issue, while conducting a presentation in which Professor Petraeus was sure to provide constructive criticism, was an incredible opportunity I’ll never forget.”