By LT Chuck Daniel
Boston, MA-On 2 DEC 2015, four midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Consortium were presented with a tremendous opportunity to participate in a roundtable lunch with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Secretary Carter, a Harvard alumnus, had spent the previous day speaking at Harvard’s campus. In addition to meeting the midshipmen and cadets of the MIT ROTC units, he conducted meetings at the MIT Media Lab. The NROTC representatives were MIDN 1/C Jasper Burns (BU ’16), MIDN 1/C Adam Gracia (Harvard ’16), MIDN 2/C Vardaan Gurung (MIT ’17), and MIDN 2/C Lauren Mandaville (Harvard ’16).
During the lunch, which took place on the fifth floor of the Media Lab, Secretary Carter held an informal roundtable with the cadets and midshipmen. MIDN Burns remarked, “It was incredible to have the chance to speak off the record with the Secretary; there are hundreds in the Pentagon who scramble to get five minutes with him, and we were afforded almost an hour!” Secretary Carter discussed the importance of STEM majors in the military and his vision for the force of the future. Each cadet and midshipman received a SECDEF challenge coin. It was an unforgettable and unique experience, and the participants sincerely appreciated it.