Sixteen Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets and two Coast Guard officer candidates from Mary Baldwin’s class of 2022 are commissioning into the military as officers, setting a new university record.
All of the program’s graduates were highly sought after and have accepted positions in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard since commencement last May. Each participated in MBU’s Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership Corps (VWIL), and most earned Advanced Leadership Certificates.
“[The latter] is an exceptional achievement because it requires far more effort than a bachelor’s degree,” said retired Air Force brigadier general and VWIL commandant, Teresa Djuric.
Participating cadets must complete a minor in leadership studies, take an additional 15 credits in quantitative science, global studies, physical education, managing differences, and oral communication — all while holding two approved campus leadership positions.
The commissioning alumni-cadets are currently completing training programs that will enable them to enter fascinating positions at posts throughout the U.S. and around the world.
For instance, ensigns Jasmine Bannasch ’22 and Cosette Alston ’22 are slated to join the crew of the USS Higgins, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Second lieutenant Haley Schwarz ’22 reported to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California for qualification training to become an intercontinental ballistic missileer.
Djuric served as an instructor and mentor for all of the former cadets. As a highly decorated officer of 30 years, she says she feels a deep pride when she thinks of the challenges these new officers’ overcame and their achievements at MBU.
“I’m confident they have the skills to help lead our military through the complex international security challenges of today,” said Djuric.
As graduates repeat their exemplary campus performance in new careers, other cadets will be inspired to follow in their footsteps.