Senior Spotlight: Stephen Johnson

Although MIDN Johnson is in ROTC, he likes to keep things relaxed and remembers to have fun.  In addition to ROTC, he participates in Roadkill Buffet, MIT’s improv comedy club, plays broomball, and skies over Jell-O.  He is an avid broomball player and is always advocating other midshipman to take part in the game.  MIDN Johnson is also realistic.  He claims if he were stranded on an island, he would want a satellite phone, an open buffet with lots of oranges, and a pinball machine.

While his advice is to “not take everything seriously or else you [will] never have fun,” he is serious when it comes to leadership making sure to help his people and handle issues.  He says leadership means “helping your people, delivering your projects on time, and handling issues accordingly.”

MIDN Johnson joined ROTC because he likes submarines; as a chemical engineer, he appreciates the engineering that goes into designing and building them.  This was one of the reasons why he decided to join ROTC.  He views submarines as “engineering in a tube” and doesn’t think anything could be more interesting.  His first choice for service selection was submarines, which is his service assignment after he commissions.

Senior Spotlight: Sarah Verille

MIDN 1/c Sarah Verille will be commissioning this May from the Boston NROTC Consortium.  For the last four years, MIDN Verille has been a model midshipman and a spectacular mentor to those below her.  She was inspired to join ROTC by her close family friend, who became both her mentor and role model in high school.  He was a retired naval officer who often spoke or his experiences as a leader.  She held a great amount of respect for him and wanted to have the same impact on people’s lives that he had. This-combined with a strong desire to serve in something larger than myself, and to fly- compile to form her inspiration to serve. She has made her mentor proud by service selecting pilot last October.

An upstate New York native, MIDN Verille enjoys her mother’s home cooking, has studied abroad in Australia (where she learned an extensive amount of Aussie slang), and enjoys skiing, reading and baking.

For MIDN Verille, Leadership is being able to lead a group to people to a common goal, while maintaining a conscious effort to motivate them and ensure their well being.  The best piece of advice she ever received was from a mentor within ROTC, who stated “you’re only in this training environment for four years: make the most of it both as a midshipman and a student.”  She is driven by her personal desire to excel, as well as the unyielding support she’s received from her family.

She will be heading to Pensacola, Florida in the near future to commence flight school, and the Boston NROTC Consortium wishes her the best on her journey through the Navy!

Senior Spotlight: Akshat Patel

MIDN Patel is one of those gentlemen possessed with debonair spirit; a man whose good looks complement a unique drive and intellectualism. He joined the Navy for the sense of adventure, and his diverse actions legitimize such a claim. For example, while he has selected to be a submariner when he commissions, he also knows how to fly and will be getting his pilots license this summer. MIDN Patel is a man of earth, water, and air— but of fire too, in his fervent ambition and zeal for learning and improving upon himself. He lists this impassioned lust for bettering himself and helping others do the same as his chief hope in his military career.

After four years in ROTC, MIDN Patel has several pieces of wisdom to impart for his peers, and for those midshipmen following in his footsteps:

  • What does leadership mean to you?

    Leadership means to find an objective that transcends personal interests, sharing that objective, and inspiring others to support that objective.

  • What was the best piece of advice you have received as a Midshipmen?

    “Just shut up and color” – meaning that most of the time you should be following orders, not finding ways to circumvent them or outright oppose them.

  • What drives you to keep going?

Old Age. I am intractably scared of old age. That is the reason why I try to do as much as I can right now. In your                 youth, your body gives you the option of doing or not doing things. In old age, you no longer have options. It’s                       important to realize the finite nature of your youth.

  • What is one piece of advice you would give to any underclassmen/prospective mid?

If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small.

When MIDN Patel is not busy in academics or ROTC, he may be occupied in some of his favorite hobbies: reading, writing, snowboarding, flying, or traveling.

Senior Spotlight: David Forsey

Leadership is “learning and understanding the people you lead and motivating/inspiring them to be more than they already are,” says David Forsey, a senior at Tufts and the Battalion Commander of the “Old Ironsides” NROTC Battalion. Inspired to join the Navy by his grandfather, who served in the British Royal Navy during World War II, Midshipman Forsey joined the NROTC program in the first semester of his freshman year.

Despite not having yet received a scholarship, Forsey immediately showed his commitment to the Battalion and to his future in the Navy, participating in battalion events and successfully gaining his scholarship at the end of his freshman year. His continued commitment since then resulted in his being named as Battalion Commander for this semester. As the Battalion Commander, Midshipman Forsey is responsible for leading, developing and training the Midshipman of the Battalion and creating a command philosophy and training vision for the Battalion.

Midshipman Forsey says that the best advice he ever received was that the “habits you develop as a midshipman will carry into the fleet. Start building character now and it’ll carry over into what happens after commissioning.” He also advises underclassmen and prospective midshipmen to “be kind. Nothing gets you further than a little bit of friendliness.” In addition, he says that “leadership is also highly relational. So much of it happens behind the scenes out of the spotlight where you develop an understanding of the people you’re leading so you can better advocate for them.”

Forsey says that few people realize that he is an “extremely outgoing introvert.” Although he is comfortable with public speaking and interacting in social situations, he still needs to retreat and regain energy alone after such activities. Some of his favorite hobbies include climbing, running, reading, and eating. His favorite food is Indian food, and if he were stranded on a desert island with only three things, he’d bring “a lighter, a friend and sunscreen.” More than anything else, he’s driven by his stubbornness, he says, which doesn’t let him give up.

After commissioning, Midshipman Forsey will report to Naval Reactors at the Navy Yard in Washington DC. There, he hopes to have a chance to help in the design of the new Ohio-Class Replacement submarine.

By MIDN 2/C Kindfuller

Senior Spotlight: Sebastian Saldivar

MIDN Saldivar is currently a senior at Harvard College studying Applied Mathematics and Earth & Planetary sciences.  Given such a challenging course-load and knowing of the responsibilities as a member of ROTC, one naturally asks: “Why do you do it?” His response is for a love of adventure, desire to go to college, and for a love of country and the opportunities serving it will bring.

He has service-selected submarine warfare as his specialty in the Navy, but when asked about what he hopes to do with his career in the service, he simply wants to be able to take care of his men and with them accomplish the mission; whatever it may be.

To him, leadership is an art, a challenge and a passion of his. What drives him to pursue this path is his desire to be the best he can be… and 100mg caffeine pills.

MIDN Saldivar likes to spend his time exercising, traveling and writing, and his stipends on trying new restaurants; sushi and Indian cuisine being among his favorites.

One thing you may not know about him is how pumped he gets when hearing “Blank Space”, “Shake it Off” or other Taylor Swift hits. Indeed, his love of music and literature is so great that if he were to be stuck on a desert island, the three things we would want to feel content would be: speakers, an extensive library, and a companion to share it with.

As we bid farewell to MIDN Saldivar as he is soon to embark on his career in the Navy he wishes to share two things with us. The best piece of advice he feels that was given to him as a Midshipman was to “Take care of your men, and they’ll take care of you.” His own piece of advice for us is to strive to eliminate inefficiencies in our lives.

By MIDN 2/c Castaño

Since MIDN 1/c Bridget McCoy was 10 years old, she new she wanted to fly military aircraft. After being homeschooled from grades 1-12, she decided that studying at MIT and participating in the NROTC program would be the best way to achieve this goal. Bridget McCoy’s definition of ‘best’ may be a little different than what most people might assume. More often than not, we consider the ‘best’ way to do something as the ‘easiest’ way or the ‘most convenient’ way to get the job done. Not for MIDN McCoy. Her advice is, “Do hard things. Ask for the billets that scare you the most, because the experiences that challenge you are the ones you’ll learn the most from.” She considered the ‘best’ way to achieve her goals was by choosing the path that would most challenge her mentally, physically, and psychologically.

During her time at MIT, MIDN 1/c McCoy studied Aerospace Engineering. Not only will she know how to fly aircraft, she also knows exactly how they work. While balancing this rigorous course load, McCoy took on various leadership roles within the NROTC battalion. This past summer, she was the Commanding Officer for the NROTC Freshmen Orientation Program, leading a group of 20 midshipmen to instruct 50 incoming freshmen on how to adjust to life in NROTC. During the Fall Semester, she was the Executive Officer of the entire NROTC battalion, overseeing the training plan of over 100 midshipmen.

When asked what leadership means to her, MIDN McCoy replied, “Leadership means to empower your people to own the mission of the organization.  It means to put their needs above your own.  It means to take responsibility when things go wrong.” These words describe MIDN McCoy’s leadership perfectly, while also reflecting leadership traits highly valued in the United States Navy. During the Freshmen Orientation program, she was always one of the first people up in the morning and one of the last people to go to sleep at night. MIDN McCoy writes, “Doing everything “right” isn’t good enough. You have to care more than that, and look for ways to make things better.” She truly strives to live her life in this manner and she is always thinking of ways to help make things easier for others. Recently, she created a 4-inch thick binder full of tips for the future Commanding Officer of the Freshmen Orientation Program.

Another way MIDN McCoy demonstrates her leadership capabilities is through the ROTC mentorship program. She reaches out to other midshipmen in the battalion and helps them to learn and excel in ROTC and academics. Whenever there is a need or a question, MIDN McCoy will make herself available to help in any way she can. As both a formal and informal mentee of MIDN McCoy, words cannot describe how much I have valued going out to lunch with her on a busy school day, or going for a run with her along the Charles when I am looking for some advice. I know I have developed into a stronger leader because I have had the chance to learn from MIDN McCoy.

MIDN McCoy truly tries to do everything the best way possible. To her, that best way involves hard work, determination, initiative, and above all, genuine care for the people around her. I know that wherever life takes her, she will excel at what she is doing and enrich the lives of those she works with. Now as she prepares to receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, the aviation community should prepare to receive one of the best people this world has to offer.

MIDN 2/c Carolena Ruprecht

Senior Spotlight: Connor Humber

Connor Humber is a man who can manage contradictions. He is able to switch from his usual energetic personality to a stone-cold professional in seconds, and he is as comfortable in his SDB’s as he is in his a capella group’s, the Logarythms’, colorful wardrobe. While people just meeting him would likely not guess that he is a talented singer, they would immediately notice his energy, enthusiasm, and charisma, all of which he has brought to the many activities in which he participates, leaving a lasting impact on the battalion and the MIT community.

MIDN Humber has had the intention of serving his country for much of his life, viewing service in the Navy as a way to give back for all of the opportunities that he has. Considering both the Naval Academy and NROTC, we are fortunate that MIDN Humber chose to make the short trip from his home in Nashua, NH to Boston to study mechanical engineering at MIT. His constant desire to improve himself encourages him to push through difficult times and look forward to the days ahead of him. At MIT, MIDN Humber has taken advantage of many of the opportunities available, becoming a proficient glassblower, further honing his singing talent, and discovering his interest in product design, while also preparing for his military career.

In a few weeks MIDN Humber will graduate and commission, and he will trade his old wardrobe for a navy flight suit as he deploys to naval aviation school in Pensacola, Florida. Passionate about flying, MIDN Humber will train as a pilot, where he will apply the lessons he has learned, using his engineering mastery to run an aircraft and his leadership abilities to run a division. If he finds it necessary to make an emergency landing on a desert island, the ever-practical MIDN Humber would be sure to have a good multi-tool, an even better book, and Bear Grylls on hand; how he plans to carry these items/people with him aboard his aircraft is unclear.

Through his experiences for the past four years, MIDN Humber has developed several conclusions about leadership, which guide his style and which he hopes to pass along to others. Most importantly, he encourages a leader to “know your people. Realize that your subordinates want to know that they are cared for and that you are there for them. Foster a good relationship and they will do just about anything for you.” MIDN Humber applied this very axiom as he served as a mentor and role model to those around him. As he enters the fleet, he will continue to strive to “work hard and lead effectively.” His commitment to those under him will help to ensure the continued success of the United States Navy.

By MIDN 2/C Holcomb


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