My name is Shaye Palagi. I am an EVEN senior (5th year), in Engineering for Developing Communities option, with a minor in Religious Studies, and a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies. 
I am from Great Falls, Montana and started attending the EVEN program Fall 2010. I like that EVEN builds a skill set I can use to make a tangible, beneficial impact in the world. 

During my first four years I was a member of a sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma and participated in various service organizations. Throughout the last two years I've been an undergraduate researcher for a multidisciplinary (civil engineering and sociology) team exploring pathways leading to community level recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. This last fall I had an internship with a Denver based non-profit, International Development Enterprises. Working with a development organization was an amazing way to see how applicable my education is, and it challenged me to improve upon weaknesses I still had.
Sometimes I wish I could just quit everything and become a professional reader - it's not uncommon for me to go to bed late after a long day of school work yet still stay up for hours reading a good book.   


  • Which ROTC force are you a part of?

Air Force


  • Briefly describe what your involvement entails.

Participation and involvement in ROTC evolves throughout your undergraduate career. The first two years instill discipline, followership, and begin to adjust one to military expectations. Field training is required the summer after sophomore year and when cadets return they hold higher leadership positions. In college, it can be easy to slip by without thinking why or how you behave a certain way. love ROTC because it wakes me up - I am constantly faced with character and leadership challenges. 


  •  Why did you decide to join ROTC (and subsequently the military)?

I always naturally had a deep sense of responsibility and service, and I've never been averse to discipline. In my senior year of high school I was disillusioned by the lack of passion I saw in many of my peers, and I wanted to find a community with a love of service. I talked with my family, and although it was at the time a very scary decision, we realized officership could challenge and inspire me in the way I was looking for. 


  •  Do you have an assignment for after graduation yet? What will you be doing?

After graduation I will commission at a 2nd lieutenant and will join the 240th Civil Engineering Flight for the Colorado Air National Guard. The unit specializes in executing civil engineering missions in the Pacific region. I will simultaneously attend graduate school here at CU, studying towards a PhD in civil systems. 


  •  How do the lessons and skills taught in engineering complement those taught through ROTC?

Both engineering and ROTC require an immense amount of study and training before you're ready to take the reigns and design or lead. Patience, determination, and teamwork have been crucial to my success in both facets. The critical thinking skills I've developed in engineering have allowed me to be more thoughtful and analytical in my ROTC roles. 


  • What’s your favorite thing about being a cadet?

My favorite thing about being a cadet is getting to know the other cadets. I've met the most compassionate, humble, and inspirational people in ROTC. I never mind waking up at 0500 when I get to go and learn from my fellow cadets. 


  • Do you have any advice or tips for other engineering students that are interested in ROTC or the military?

In Air Force (and I'm willing to bet the other branches on campus) you're welcome to join us for our training sessions, no strings attached. A cadet will accompany you as you observe our training and everyone will gladly answer any question you have. P.S. You only have to wake up early once or twice a week, and ROTC is a lot of fun!
Our CU Air Force ROTC website is: 

May 7th 2015