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No Limits: Tyler Smotherman combines academic integrity with positive purpose
By Lisa Laughlin
Junior Tyler Smotherman has a love for learning and a passion for serving. Originally from Coeur d’ Alene, he came to the University of Idaho to double major in Political Science and International Studies, and minor in Spanish and Military Science. And as if that weren’t enough for one student to pursue, Smotherman joined the Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program as a freshman.
“For me, majoring in political science was a no-brainer. I’ve always had a strong interest in politics, government, and the powerful influence for good or ill that they can have in our everyday lives,” said Smotherman. “I was drawn to the international studies major because of its unique interdisciplinary character and many class options, my background in Spanish, and my interest in a future career with an international component.”
Juggling all of his academic interests seems to be no problem, as the Vandal student currently has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the University Honors Program. He chose to attend Idaho over United States Military Academy at WestPoint because it allowed him the flexibility he desired.
“The University of Idaho allowed me to have a more well-rounded schedule and life outside the military,” said Smotherman, citing extracurricular activities and studying abroad. “[Idaho] was the right combination of affordability and small size, while still being able to provide all the classes and opportunities for advancement I was looking for.”
He was also interested in University of Idaho’s AROTC program so he could pursue his fascination with politics.
“As a part-time Army National Guard soldier, although still somewhat limited, I will be much more free to be involved in the political process, even up to running for and holding elected office,” he said. “Whether with arms against a foreign enemy, or with words against a domestic opponent, I hope to defend the Constitution and founding principles of the United States as both a soldier and involved citizen.”
Smotherman’s involvement in AROTC gives him a unique perspective on his Political Science studies, and he has high hopes for becoming active politically in the future:
“I would love to run for elected office one day . . . that could be in five years or in twenty, but I certainly would love the opportunity to represent my fellow citizens. I’m very passionate about civil liberties and the proper roles and responsibilities of government. My membership in the military will serve as a constant reminder of the fine line government must walk in order to ensure order and protect the nation while at the same time maintaining liberty and respecting our unalienable rights as free citizens.”
Smotherman plans to continue his education and community leadership after graduating.
“I plan to apply with federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies or to staff positions with political/government offices. I would also like to earn a Master’s Degree, perhaps in American History or Theology, and be involved in non-profit work to help the poor and spread religious liberty internationally,” he said. “To be honest, there are many things in which I would find purpose and make a positive difference. I try not to plan everything out too closely in order to not limit myself.”
And with his level of self-motivation and academic integrity, Smotherman should find few limits in his future.