From parachute jumps to grueling marches, West Virginia University senior Kylee Turbish has learned how to translate team-building skills learned during her college career in WVU s Mountaineer Battalion ROTC program to a future of dedicated service with the U.S. Army.

Turbish, who hails from Beaver, Pa., is graduating this May with a bachelors degree in athletic coaching education. She has been attending WVU on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship and was recently awarded the 2007-08 Outstanding Undergraduate Award for the Universitys Athletic Coaching Education Program.

I was involved in ROTC in high school, and when it was time to start thinking about what college to go to, WVU with all its opportunitieswas hard to pass up,Turbish said.

Through ROTC , she has participated in difficult and challenging training programs, including earning herjump wings,or parachutist badge, at Army Airborne School, which she completed in the summer of her sophomore year in the Georgia heat at Fort Benning. To earn her badge, she endured an intense physical training week, followed by a week of mock parachuting drills on the ground and a jump week, in which trainees parachute out of aircraft at very low altitude.

Airborne training was a great experience, and I was able to use the team-building skills that I have been learning through my athletic coaching education major at WVU to add to the team environment and mission of the Army,Turbish said.

During her junior year, she served as the Mountaineer Battalion ROTC cadet battalion commander, a leadership role used as training for undergraduate ROTC cadets. The position helped her gain leadership skills and career knowledge.

Over the past four years, Turbish has participated in many Army activities and programs, including Ranger Challenge competitions at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the U.S. Military Academy and the Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico. She earned the Army Physical Fitness Award for the highest physical training score in the battalion, among other honors.

Not only has Turbish succeeded as an ROTC cadet, but she has also learned how to use her talents in gymnastics and in the classroom to further her goals toward becoming a strength and conditioning coach. She traveled to Charleston this past year with other athletic coaching students to volunteer with the Special Olympics.

It was excellent working with Kylee during the Special Olympics this past summer; she has a great attitude,said Daniel Ziatz, a faculty member in WVU s School of Physical Education.I think that the ultimate compliment a coach in training can receive is for others to want them to coach their children, and I would want Kylee to coach my son or daughter.

Turbish has been involved with gymnastics since she was young and now coaches 9-14-year-old boys three nights a week at the Gymnastics Training Center in Morgantown.

She will fulfill her ROTC contract for active duty after she is commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army. She will begin officer branch training in military intelligence at Fort Lewis, Wash., in July.