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David Lilly

David Lilly

East Tennessee State University senior David Lilly is a native of Johnson City, and when he graduated from Science Hill High School, he didn’t have to go far to find what he wanted. “I was looking for a school with top programs in ROTC and in exercise science and kinesiology. ETSU has both.”

As a cadet in the ETSU Army ROTC program, Lilly joined the Eddie Reed Ranger Company, a group that successfully competes at national events.

He is also a member of the Joe Callahan Running Club. “We like to run,” he says, “and we participate in as many local runs as we can.”

Once he graduates, Lilly hopes to combine his interests by doing research in either an academic or private setting. “I would like to try to identify the key characteristics used in military tasks,” he says, “and find ways to increase those performance results.”  

Through the Army’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program for cadets, Lilly spent one summer in Africa. He says, ‘I helped teach English to children in Tanzania. I worked with kindergarteners, and they have the same mentality as kindergarteners in the U.S.  They had so much energy that sometimes we’d go to the beach and play Duck, Duck, Goose or Red Rover. They would chase me around until they were worn out enough to settle down.”

The following winter break, Lilly climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. “The entire experience was fantastic,” he notes, “and I can’t wait to continue mountain climbing in the future.

After that taste of travel abroad, Lilly was hooked. For the fall semester, he is going to Ireland to study at the University of Limerick, through a bilateral agreement. “We exchange students with the university there,” he explains. “I pay the usual ETSU tuition, so there isn’t a greater expense for that.”

Lilly is on track to graduate in May of 2015. “The University of Limerick has a very good sports science department,” Lilly says. “I can take classes I need while I am there, and I can look at my field of study from an entirely different viewpoint.”

Lilly thought Limerick would be a good base of operations, too, so that he can travel to other countries when time permits. In fact, he is going to leave a month early for the fall semester. “I am flying to Spain first,” he explains, “and I plan to explore my way through France, Austria, Germany and Northern Italy before heading to Ireland.”