Good to Go – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu Mon, 26 Apr 2021 20:39:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.4 https://today.citadel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citadel-Favion-new-150x150.png Good to Go – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu 32 32 144096890 From The Citadel to University of Cambridge: a cadet’s future on the rise https://today.citadel.edu/from-the-citadel-to-university-of-cambridge-a-cadets-future-on-the-rise/ Tue, 27 Apr 2021 10:00:12 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=23062 Cadet Najjar working in a labCadet Najjar working in a lab"Christian views criticism as an opportunity for improvement and always strives for perfection. He may be one of the most outstanding cadets I have ever met."]]> Cadet Najjar working in a labCadet Najjar working in a lab

Photo above: Cadet Christian Najjar doing research work at a lab at the University of Heidelberg in 2019

It is one of the oldest universities in the world, with origins dating back to 1209. Some of it’s most famous alumni include Charles Darwin, Oliver Cromwell, Stephen Rajiv Gandhi and Stephen Hawking.

University of Cambridge is commonly regarded as one of the most desired, but difficult to enter undergraduate and post-graduate institutions in the world. But that is exactly where Cadet Christian Najjar will head to continue his education after gradating from The Citadel in May 2021.

Najjar will work toward a one-year Masters in Population Health Science at Cambridge, then he will come back to the U.S. to begin his studies with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, where he has already been accepted.

Cadet Chistian Najjar during a German study abroad program with The Citadel.

Najjar has two majors: Biology and German. He’s earned a 4.0 grade point average in all but one of his semesters at The Citadel, according to one of the college’s associate provosts for Academic Affairs.

“Using his fluency in German coupled with his extensive science background, Cadet Najjar has participated in research projects to include designing research protocols, interpreting findings for published work, and applying information for future studies, all of which provide a strong foundation for his continued studies in mental health and illness,” said Chris Fudge, associate provost for Academic Affairs and director of The Citadel Success Institute. “One of these studies took place in Germany where he worked hand-in-hand with German scientists creating and discovering new protocols for Zika virus research.” 

Cadet life comes with a bit of an extra challenge for Najjar, who was born with only one arm. He never let’s that get in the way, becoming known for his one-handed pushups and personal drive.

“Cadet Najjar is a self-starter who creates and develops research independent of others, but his collaborative nature matches well with his independence,” Fudge says. “Christian views criticism as an opportunity for improvement and always strives for perfection. He may be one of the most outstanding cadets I have ever met.”

Cadet Christian Najjar with his mother, Elizabeth Najjar

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Lu Parker, ’94: Citadel Graduate College alumna, journalist, former Miss USA, and kindness entrepreneur https://today.citadel.edu/lu-parker-94-citadel-graduate-college-alumna-journalist-former-miss-usa-and-kindness-entrepreneur/ Thu, 11 Mar 2021 11:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=22573 We strive to help all people better understand and embrace the power of kindness.]]>

“Never underestimate the power of a kind woman.” Lu Parker

Lu Parker doesn’t dawdle in the slow lane. She’s flying along numerous professional pathways, and while she’s navigating, she’s deliberate about conveying one key message: Be kind.

“The best is when someone sees my t-shirt or hoodie while I’m wearing it and stops me to say “I love your shirt!” or “What a great message!”  When that happens, it makes me realize that I am doing the right thing. It’s working,” Parker shared with The Citadel.

As a journalist with two decades of experience (including with WCSC-TV in Charleston, South Carolina) and multiple Emmy awards, Parker anchors four hours of news daily for KTLA in Los Angeles. Additionally, she is an inspirational speaker, an author, and the founder of Be Kind & Co. which recently launched a line of apparel.

Lu Parker in the studio at WCSC-TV, Live 5, in Charleston in the late 1990s.
Lu Parker in the studio at WCSC-TV, Live 5, in Charleston in the late 1990s.

Prior to her career in broadcasting, Parker was a ninth-grade English Literature teacher. In 1994, while she was a teacher, Parker captured both the Miss South Carolina USA, and Miss USA titles, going on to place fourth in the Miss Universe Pageant.

But, before all of that, Parker graduated from The Citadel Graduate College in 1993 with a Master of Arts in Education, after earning a BA in English Literature from the College of Charleston.

After seeing the launch of the Be Kind & Co. apparel line, The Citadel Graduate College reached out to Parker to ask her to share some reflections.

This is what she said.

An interview with Lu Parker, The Citadel Graduate College Class of 1994 and founder of Be Kind & Co.

What is your goal for Be Kind & Co.?

We strive to help all people better understand and embrace the power of kindness. My goal is to use Be Kind & Co. as a way to share content, experiences, and merchandise that inspires all of us to be a bit more kind each day. I truly believe that each kind act, even if small, helps to collectively heal the world.  

In 2021, we launched our BKC Apparel line and we are thrilled to be seeing so many people wearing our merchandise around the country, including in South Carolina. We like to say it’s “Merchandise with a Message.” We share small sayings like, “Be a Kind Human” – “Born Kind” – Be Kind Y’all – “Never Underestimate the Power of a Kind Woman.” 

 Why did you create Be Kind & Co.?

The original concept of Be Kind & Co. was created after I experienced an unfortunate situation where I was attempting to be kind to someone and it backfired on me. At the time, the experience made me seriously question kindness. I questioned my urge to help people and literally almost gave up on being kind ever again.  But eventually, I came to my senses and realized that kindness is a gift that I cherish. Be Kind & Co. was originally a blog but now it’s more of life-style media company that shares content, offers merchandise with messaging, and creates a space where people can share insights into the power of kindness.  

I am also in the early stages of writing a book about my experiences and how I handled it.  I am also looking forward to traveling again to speak around the country at conventions and venues on “How Kindness Creates Success.”

Lu Parker accepting her diploma for a Master of Arts in Education
from The Citadel Graduate College in 1993.

Why did you pursue a Masters of Education and why did you select The Citadel Graduate College?

I was already interested in English Literature and hoped to one day teach on a college level. My Mom suggested that I apply to The Citadel because I was living in Charleston at the time and she said the program had a great reputation. 

I have fond memories of attending the Citadel Graduate College.  My professors were helpful and the process was a smooth experience. I believe that anytime you set a goal in life, personally or professionally, you must complete each small task while staying focused on the future goal. Studying at The Citadel allowed me to further my education so I could eventually teach high school. I did teach high school at North Charleston High School after graduating from The Citadel. 

What do you miss most about Charleston?

Ahhhh, Charleston. The city has my heart in so many ways. I spent over two decades there growing up, going to college and graduate school. I also taught in the city, and eventually returned to work in tv news there at WCSC. I often say I have a memory on every corner of the city.  I love the beaches, the Southern accents, the people and the style. I even miss the heat, humidity and rain.   

What is your greatest achievement to date?

To answer your question about my greatest achievement to date, I would say I have been very fortunate in my life and had the opportunity to experience a lot of wonderful moments including attending college, winning Miss USA, winning Emmys, traveling the world, working in TV news, meeting celebrities, going to Hollywood events, and even writing a book….But I still don’t consider those accomplishments. They were all wonderful experiences. To answer you question about my greatest achievement to date, I would say it’s the fact that I have never given up on the belief that kindness can create huge change. Kindness can save a life.  Kindness can shift the world. Kindness is strength. It’s a daily practice that I hope I can continue to share through my writings, my company and my voice. 

What would you say to young women considering various careers about innovating their own pathways or even multiple careers?

I am a huge believer that life is better when you love what you do. I always suggest to young women and men to find a career or a path to that career that lights a fire inside of you. I love my job as a tv news anchor because I am able to combine my love of writing, reading, and interacting with people.  It’s the same with my company Be Kind & Co. Creating a company takes a lot of behind the scenes work. It’s challenging and can be overwhelming, but when you feel good about what you are doing, then it’s worth it. I also totally believe that it’s never too late to change your profession or start a company, non-profit or passion project. It may require you to work after your “real” job, but again, when the passion is there, it won’t always feel like work. It’s a joy.  

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to add that I 100% believe that when women support each other’s success, we all succeed.  There is so much success available out in the world, let’s help each other along the path and celebrate each other!  That’s true kindness!

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Four Citadel alumni in the NFL game https://today.citadel.edu/three-citadel-alumni-in-the-nfl-game/ Sat, 06 Feb 2021 17:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=21860 NFL logoNFL logoFour Citadel alumni, all former Bulldogs football players, are working as for NFL teams - two as assistant coaches, and one as a player for the Buffalo Bills. ]]> NFL logoNFL logo

They may not be in the Super Bowl this time, but four Citadel alumni are definitely in the game

Four Citadel alumni, all former Bulldogs football players, are working for NFL teams – three as assistant coaches, and one as a player for the Buffalo Bills.

The “elder statesman” of the group, Coach Stump Mitchell, is in the 41st year of his career as an NFL player and and a coach since graduating from the Military College of South Carolina in 1981.

Here’s a peek at their careers.

Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell, Class of 1981, Cleveland Browns

Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell, ’81, Cleveland Browns . Photo credit: the Cleveland Browns.

Known as Stump, Coach Mitchell is the run game coordinator/running backs for the Cleveland Browns. He also coached for the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and several colleges plus a high school team.

Mitchell, a Citadel Hall of Famer, has coached in the NFL for 19 years. Before coaching, he played as a running back in the NFL for 10 seasons for the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1981-1989) and the Kansas City Chiefs (1991).

A few of Mitchell’s many noteworthy accomplishments according to the Cleveland Browns website, include the following:

  • Under Mitchell, five different backs — Ricky Watters (1999-00), Shaun Alexander (2001-05), Clinton Portis (2008), David Johnson (2016) and Nick Chubb (2019) — gained 1,000 rushing yards in a season, while Andre Ellington produced 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two NFL seasons (2013-14).
  • Helped his backs find the end zone as Alexander (five times) and Johnson (twice) produced 10 or more scrimmage touchdowns in a season multiple times. Alexander set an NFL record with 28 scores in 2005 and Johnson led the league with 20 in 2016.
  • Helped Chubb record one of the best seasons in Browns history in 2019. Chubb finished second in the NFL with 1,494 rushing yards, the fourth most by a Brown in a season, while accounting for 1,772 scrimmage yards, the fifth most by a Brown. Chubb registered seven 100-yard rushing games in 2019, the most by a Brown since 1968 and was voted a starter in his first career Pro Bowl.

“One of the more popular and respected coaches from the 2019 Browns staff will stick around in 2020. Running backs coach Stump Mitchell is going to continue in that capacity under new head coach Kevin Sptfanski.” Jeff Risdon, USA Today, January 2020.

Maurice Drayton, ’98, Green Bay Packers

Coach Maurice Drayton. Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers.

Coach Drayton was named special teams coordinator for the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 29, 2021, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

““I think these guys are going to be a top-five special teams unit,” Denver Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said. “I think it’s deserved and earned,” McMahon said. “I think he’s going to excel. I think the core, the specialists, the building, I think they found themselves a special guy.” Sports Illustrated.com

Drayton joined the Packers as a special teams assistant coach in 2018 after serving in that role with the Colts.

“I was always an undersized kid. Playing football, I got my start through special teams,” Drayton said when he joined the Packers’ staff. “I fell in love with special teams, and it’s kind of brought me where I am today.”

Coach Maurice Drayton, Green Bay Packers, to the Wisconsin State Journal

According to the Packers’ website, Drayton is entering his 22 year in coaching, including his 14 years in collegiate coaching, 10 seasons of which were spent helping coach the Bulldogs.

The website states that one of Drayton’s key accomplishments with the Packers was in 2019, when he worked with K. Mason Crosby, who tied the single-season franchise record for field-goal percentage by connecting on 22 of 24 attempts (91.7 pct.) as he matched K Jan Stenerud’s mark set in 1981 (22 of 24). Crosby ranked No. 5 in the league in FG percentage last season, the highest ranking by a Green Bay kicker since Ryan Longwell in 2003 (No. 4).

More than twenty years ago, as a Bulldogs defensive back and then cornerback from 1994-1998, Drayton tallied 145 tackles, 17 passes defensed and three INTs. He graduated as a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education in 1998, then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Secondary Administration from The Citadel Graduate College.

Drayton began coaching for the Bulldogs immediately after graduating. As a recruiter, Drayton brought in Andre Roberts, now a wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills. Drayton eventually moved on to other coaching roles and completed an internship with the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.

In 2014, Drayton returned to his alma mater as assistant head coach for the Bulldogs, moving on two years later in what he called a “bittersweet” moment after being recruited as an assistant special teams coach by the Colts. That all, of course, led to him to where he is today: enjoying a new promotion with the Packers.

Cam Turner, ’10, Arizona Cardinals

Coach Cam Turner, Citadel Class of 2010. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals.

Coach Cam Turner is the quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals, a promotion from assistant quarterbacks coach announced in January 2021.

“Turner already has worked closely with quarterback Kyler Murray, so his promotion from assistant quarterbacks coach was not unexpected,” wrote NBC Sports reporter Charean Williams.

Turner joined the Cardinals in early 2018, as an offensive assistant. Prior to that, Turner spent three years coaching with the Carolina Panthers, according to his biography on the Cardinals website.

Some of Turner’s top accomplishments listed on the website:

  • Turner worked with QB Kyler Murray, the 2019 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl alternate. The former Heisman Trophy winner set franchise rookie records for wins by QB (5), passing yards (3,722), TD passes (20), completions (349), attempts (542), 300-yard games (5) and games with multiple TD passes (8). Murray also established a franchise record for rushing yards by a QB (544) on his way to becoming just the sixth quarterback in NFL history, and second rookie, with at least 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in a season.
  • In 2017, Panthers QB Cam Newton had 28 total TDs (22 passing, six rushing), increasing his career total to 212 TDs through of the end of that season, the third-most in NFL history through a quarterback’s first seven seasons. In 2016, Turner helped WR Kelvin Benjamin to a team-leading seven TD receptions while playing in all 16 games in his return to action after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2015.

Turner was a wide receiver and quarterback when playing for the Bulldogs. He graduated from The Citadel in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

Andre Roberts, ’10, Buffalo Bills

Andre Roberts, the Citadel Class of 2010. Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bills.

Perhaps the most widely known Citadel alumnus working in the NFL is Andre Roberts, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. He joined the Bills in 2019 after spending the previous season with the New York Jets.

Prior to the Jets, Roberts played for the Atlanta Falcons, the Detroit Lions and spent 2014-15 as a member of the Washington Redskins, and 2010-14 with the Arizona Cardinals, according to his biography on the Bills’ website.

Some of his accomplishments as a NFL player include:

  • Named to the 2020 Pro Bowl in addition to being named to the 2020 Second-Team All Pro team. He finished the season ranked second in the NFL with 961 kickoff return yards and fifth in the NFL with 286 punt return yards.
  • Since entering the league in 2010, he is currently ranked 9th in the NFL with 1,763 punt return yards.
  • Named to the 2019 Pro Bowl as an alternate after returning 53 kicks for 887 yards.

Roberts graduated from The Citadel in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. He was inducted into The Citadel Hall of Fame in 2019. Roberts closed out his Citadel career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (265), receiving yards (3,743) and receiving touchdowns (37). He had a breakout season as a junior, setting the school record with 95 receptions for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns. He is the only player to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, doing so as a sophomore and junior. Roberts’ career included 17 100-yard receiving games, including seven during his record-setting sophomore campaign.

Read a story about Roberts in The Citadel Magazine, from when he was still with the Jets.

Andre Roberts poses for a photo for The Citadel Magazine while with the New York Jets.

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Citadel Graduate College’s Lt. Col. Brandon Pitcher, leading infantry battalion https://today.citadel.edu/citadel-graduate-colleges-lt-col-brandon-pitcher-leading-infantry-battalion/ Fri, 29 Jan 2021 14:48:25 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=21572 The 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, SC National Guard, honored U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph B. Bulwinkle, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion outgoing commander, and welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brandon T. Pitcher, during the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion change of command. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly D. Calkins, SC National GuardThe 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, SC National Guard, honored U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph B. Bulwinkle, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion outgoing commander, and welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brandon T. Pitcher, during the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion change of command. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly D. Calkins, SC National GuardA College Park Middle teacher has climbed the ranks to now lead an infantry battalion in the National Guard in the upstate.]]> The 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, SC National Guard, honored U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph B. Bulwinkle, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion outgoing commander, and welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brandon T. Pitcher, during the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion change of command. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly D. Calkins, SC National GuardThe 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, SC National Guard, honored U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph B. Bulwinkle, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion outgoing commander, and welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brandon T. Pitcher, during the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion change of command. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly D. Calkins, SC National Guard

Photo above: The 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, SC National Guard, honored U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph B. Bulwinkle, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion outgoing commander, and welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brandon T. Pitcher, during the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion change of command. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly D. Calkins, SC National Guard.

As seen in The Post and Courier

Note: Pitcher earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from The Citadel Graduate College

A College Park Middle teacher has climbed the ranks to now lead an infantry battalion in the National Guard in the upstate.

On Jan. 9, the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, South Carolina National Guard, honored U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph B. Bulwinkle, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion outgoing commander.

The battalion also welcomed U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brandon T. Pitcher, during the 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion change of command held at McCrady Training Center in Eastover.

Bulwinkle relinquished his command to Pitcher after nearly five-year post as commander.

Pitcher is a seventh and eighth-grade science teacher at College Park Middle. This is his first year at the school. He has served in the National Guard for 25 years.

Pitcher said this milestone achievement is “huge” and something he has been working toward during his career with the National Guard.

“This is a big deal for me,” he said, adding, “To be chosen is quite an honor.”

The Change of Command went into effect this month.

According to his bio, Pitcher is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the Citadel College of Graduate Studies. Pitcher has served as a teacher and school administrator for more than 29 years in the Berkeley County School District and Dorchester School District Two; he retired as Oakbrook Middle’s principal last year and desired to head back to the classroom, and came to College Park Middle.

Pitcher attended the Palmetto Military Academy Officer Candidate School, Class 49 and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1998. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Infantry Captains Career Course, the Combined Arms Exercise course, the Human Resources Management Qualification Course, and is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College.

Pitcher’s previous military assignments include: Deputy Commander, 218th Regiment (Leadership); Executive Officer, 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB); S1, 218th MEB; S3, 1-118th Infantry Battalion; S1, S3 Air, 4-118th Infantry Battalion; Commander, Company A, 1-118th Infantry (Deployed); Executive Officer Detachment 1, HHC, 1-118th Infantry; Executive Officer, Company A, 1-118th Infantry; and Platoon Leader, Company B, 1-118th Infantry.

Pitcher’s military awards include: the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device, NATO Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and Expert Infantry Badge.

He is a member of the National Guard Association of South Carolina, the National Guard Association of the United States, the National Infantry Association, Sumter Guards, Washington Light Infantry, and the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Pitcher lives in Summerville with his wife, Susan, and their daughters, Brettan, and Graycen, and son, Colton.

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Excellence in Leadership: Lt. Sarah Zorn https://today.citadel.edu/excellence-in-leadership-lt-sarah-zorn/ Tue, 08 Dec 2020 17:19:21 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=20611 Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)Army leaders have strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serve as role models. Lt. Zorn has been recognized for her selfless care within the ‘Thunderbolt’ community.]]> Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)Photo By Capt. Ian Sandall | JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade)

As seen on DVIDSHub
Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington
By Sgt. Casey Hustin, 17th Field Artillery Brigade

Photo above: Sarah Zorn is promoted to 1st. Lt. Dec. 3, 2020 at the ‘Black Knight’ Company Operations Facility. (US Army photo by Capt. Ian Sandall, 17th Field Artillery Brigade) 

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. — An Army Leader is anyone who by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals— 1st. Lt. Sarah Zorn, who for the past six months has accomplished that and more within the 5th battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, has her own idea of what makes a great Leader.

“You have to be competent; you have to be confident; you have to care—and a little common sense doesn’t hurt,” said 1st Lt. Sarah Zorn, an operations officer with Bravo Battery. “I feel like that philosophy kind of defines my leadership approach and who I want to be as a lieutenant.”

Zorn demonstrated her innate ability to pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization both in and outside the chain of command of the ‘Black Knight’ platoon.

“Lt. Zorn has filled the role as the headquarters platoon leader,” said Capt. Grayson Williams, Company Commander with B-Btry., 5th Bn., 3rd FAR. “She really just wants to see others succeed in her platoon. She just goes the extra mile to make sure that the platoon succeeds. Her ability to provide that insight and always the desire to learn has been instrumental in the success for the battery so far.”

From making history as the first female regimental commander at the Citadel for 2,300 cadets, to becoming a platoon leader of 20 soldiers, Lt. Zorn stays focused on doing the job at hand and doing it right.

“I think that transition from big picture to a little bit smaller picture really fundamentally is all the same,” said Zorn. “So—I come into work every day and I tell myself I’m just going to do the next right thing—whether it be the next right thing for soldiers, the next right thing for the battery—the next right thing for the team.”

Army leaders have strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serve as role models. Lt. Zorn has been recognized for her selfless care within the ‘Thunderbolt’ community.

“I’d like to highlight just how much genuine care she has for soldiers,” said Williams. “I know she has taken time out of her weekends to work on care packages for families with new babies in the battery. Lt. Zorn just wants to see the whole battery succeed, and really she shows this commitment as she volunteers her own time to really provide and deliver what the battery is asking for.”

Zorn said, “I would say to anyone who’s considering this or maybe anyone who is brand new and who is doubting themselves—this (the Army) is one of the most rewarding careers that you could ever have.”

The most successful Army Leaders, like Lt. Zorn, recognize that great organizations are built upon the mutual trust and confidence of our greatest assets—our people—who come together to accomplish peacetime and wartime missions—and so long as we continue to inspire leaders like Lt. Zorn to join us—we cannot fail.

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My ring story: Inspired by my grandfather https://today.citadel.edu/my-ring-story-inspired-by-my-grandfather/ Sat, 26 Sep 2020 10:00:01 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=18978 Cadet Dettrich and grandfatherCadet Dettrich and grandfather"The ring holds me to a higher standard."]]> Cadet Dettrich and grandfatherCadet Dettrich and grandfather

Meet Cadet Matthew Dittrich, Lawrenceville, Georgia, ’21

Who or what inspired you to attend The Citadel?

My grandfather, Louis A. Wilken, Class of 1960, would never miss an opportunity to tell me about one of his many stories about The Citadel. From marching in the heat of Charleston to having his room inspected every Saturday morning, I didn’t see how he could enjoy such a school. Nonetheless, he would wear his band of gold every day with pride.

Then came the time for me to attend college and I thought my plans would never change: I would go to Georgia Tech and join the USAF. But I started to think about the man my grandfather had become by attending the Citadel. I thought about all he taught me, and I knew that is what I wanted for my life.

In what ways has this institution impacted your life?

Before coming here, I thought leadership was just about getting the job done. I never considered about the obligations that a leader has to his or her people. Now, I realize it is about taking care of the people first and mission comes second.

“We wear the ring” is a repeated phrase amongst Alumni. What does it mean?

To me, it reminds me that I am part of a larger group myself. A group of alumni that hold themselves to a higher standard and have chosen to be leaders in their communities and their country.

What is inscribed on the inside of your ring and what is the significance?

“Part of the Journey is the End.” I put this in my ring to remind myself that The Citadel will always be a part of my life, but the time is coming to move on and use what I have learned and experienced for the rest of my life.

The Citadel is a crucible for life: like everything that goes into a crucible, it must eventually come out.  

Cadet Matthew Dittrich, Regimental Academic Officer, double-majoring in Physics and Mathematics, ’21

When you finally look down at the band on your finger, what memories will come to mind?

I think about the times my grandfather sat me down and told me stories and taught me lessons. I will think about how I can now relate to each story, and how even after 60 years, this school is still able to teach the same lessons and instill the same values in its Cadets.

What obligations do you feel you have in the future as a member of the Long Grey Line who wears the ring?

The ring holds me to a higher standard. I am not just some college graduate trying to get a job, but I will be a Citadel graduate. I will take the lessons I have learned and use them to lead and mentor others as many people have done for me.

Note: This is one in a series stories intended to show the different journeys members of The Citadel Class of 2021 have undertaken to earn their bands of gold. The Regimental Public Affairs team, Cadet Ruby Bolden, public affairs officer, and Cadet Samantha Walton, public affairs NCO sent a list of questions to participating cadets. These are the resulting stories.

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My ring story: I am stronger https://today.citadel.edu/my-ring-story-i-am-stronger/ Fri, 25 Sep 2020 18:46:40 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=18949 The Citadel Volleyball team takes part in their first practice of the season in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, August 6, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)The Citadel Volleyball team takes part in their first practice of the season in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, August 6, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)"I vividly remember coming for my pre-knob visit and immediately thinking I could never survive at this school."]]> The Citadel Volleyball team takes part in their first practice of the season in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, August 6, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)The Citadel Volleyball team takes part in their first practice of the season in McAlister Field House at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, August 6, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)

Meet Cadet Mellanie King, Southlake, Texas, ’21

Who or what inspired you to attend The Citadel?

Originally, volleyball called me to The Citadel, but it is not what kept me here. For starters, there was no way I was going to another college with that haircut! But in all seriousness, I loved that I was doing something different and knew that when I looked back on my college experience, I knew I made the right decision. This institution challenged me and inspired me to be better every day.  Not only that, but the friends I made here, will continue to be a part of my life even after graduation, and for that I am forever grateful to this school for bringing us together.

What was the most difficult obstacle you conquered that made you feel you earned the honor of wearing the ring?

Cutting my hair. I know it sounds superficial, but my hair used to be a part of my identity, and I think that is the case for a lot of girls. But I understood the purpose of it. The school breaks you down to build you back up again, principled, disciplined, and stronger than ever. (Note: The grooming policy changed in 2018, matching the standards of America’s Armed Forces. Freshmen women are no longer required to cut their hair.)

This photo was taken on my Recognition y with my roommates…honestly couldn’t have gotten through know year without them. Left to right: Ally Ansell, Me, and Sharlissa De Jesus

In what ways has this institution impacted your life?

This institution impacted me most in my faith and perseverance. There were many times I thought, “I can’t do this anymore,” and sure enough there was always something that kept me going. Whether it was my friends, Jesus, my coaches, or simply my will to be there that grew stronger and stronger each and every day that I got through. When I speak about my testimony, a lot of the hardships I faced here are what I speak about.

“We wear the ring” is a repeated phrase amongst Alumni. What does it mean?

I vividly remember coming for my pre-knob visit and immediately thinking I could never survive at this school.

Personally, wearing that ring is a statement to overcoming my self-doubt and distrust in my own head. So, I think it means you worked hard for everything you accomplished here and deserve everything it has to offer. I also think it signifies unity and a sense of comfort knowing that there will always be people that have your back because of the shared experiences.

What is inscribed on the inside of your ring and what is the significance?

Romans 8:18. This verse says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” This is significant because knob year was TOUGH. As I look back, I realize that the suffering that I was enduring, was nothing compared to what is to come from those very sufferings. Not only have I already benefited from those experiences with improvements to the way I view things and approach situations, but I am stronger. I now will be able to wear the ring and that is just another reason to give glory to God for the doors it will open.

What is a song that describes your emotions leading up to Ring Day/Parent’s Weekend and why that song selection?

As cheesy as it sounds, We Are The Champions, by Queen, definitely comes to mind. It makes me think of victory and success, which is exactly what I will be feeling as soon as I am able to say I wear the ring. I will feel like a champion!

These are my teammates on Student Athlete Appreciation Day and our strength coach who was more like a mentor to us. Back row left to right: Sharlissa De Jesus, Alicia Roberts, Sarah Dobrich, Coach, Faith Justice, Megan Fuhr, Emma Strong. Front row left to right: Me, Jen Barbot, Carcia Rodriquez, Maya Elassal.

When you finally look down at the band on your finger, what memories will come to mind?

When I look at my ring, I do not expect to just remember the good, but also the bad. I will remember my company mates, and that awesome feeling after Parents Weekend and Recognition Day, as we all knew that we were becoming stronger in bond.

I will remember the large meetings and the constant struggle with trying to stay awake in classes and during addresses. I will remember the glorious volleyball wins over Furman, Chattanooga, Mercer, and others at home when cadets were cheering us on, but I will also remember the stigma that came with being an athlete here. I can’t forget President Rosa cancelling Presidents address my knob year.

There are too many memories with my friends to reflect upon at once, but those will come up most often. I look forward to the days we can look back and laugh together.

King is captain of the Volleyball Corps this year. She is a Criminal Justice Major, and plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychology after graduation and playing volleyball as long as she is able.

Note: This is one in a series stories intended to show the different journeys members of The Citadel Class of 2021 have undertaken to earn their bands of gold. The Regimental Public Affairs team, Cadet Ruby Bolden, public affairs officer, and Cadet Samantha Walton, public affairs NCO sent a list of questions to participating cadets. These are the resulting stories.

King in action at the net during a match against Mercer in 2018-19.

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My ring story: I would choose The Citadel all over again https://today.citadel.edu/my-ring-story-i-would-choose-the-citadel-all-over-again/ Fri, 25 Sep 2020 10:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=18908 Hill family pictureHill family pictureI come from a big military family of eight and it became a family tradition to attend a military college]]> Hill family pictureHill family picture

Meet Catherine Hill, Charlottesville, Virginia, ’21

Photo above: Cadet Catherine Hill is fourth from the right. “This is when my brother got married in August at The Citadel. It’s the only picture we have of all of us, my family is huge! My mother is Pamela and my father is LTC Ruston Hill. My older sister is 2nd LT Alexandra Gibbs and her husband is 1st LT Aaron Gibbs. My oldest brother is 2nd LT Russ Hill and his wife is Lauren. My fiancé is Ryan Jackson. My little sisters are Sophia and Victoria, and our youngest brother is Caleb.

Who or what inspired you to attend The Citadel?

My entire family inspired me to go to The Citadel.

I come from a big military family of eight and it became a family tradition to attend a military college. My Father, LTC Ruston Hill graduated from The Citadel in 1990, my older sister 2nd LT Alexandra Gibbs graduated from VMI in 2018 and my older brother 2nd LT Russ Hill graduated from The Citadel in 2020. When it was time to apply to college I couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else.

The Citadel had just opened a new nursing program and I received an Army scholarship before I matriculated, I knew I wanted to come here. I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. My mother, Pamela Hill who is a nurse, inspired me more than anyone to graduate from The Citadel with a BSN.  Without the support of my family I wouldn’t be here today.

This is me with my brother, 2nd Lt. Russ Hill taken at the annual Thanksgiving get together when I was a junior and he was a senior. My knob year, he came over to Echo and picked me up like this, then it became a tradition to take this picture in the quad each year.

What was the most difficult obstacle you conquered that made you feel you earned the honor of wearing the ring?

In short I would say that throughout my time here I have learned the importance of always doing the right thing, even when it wasn’t the popular decision to make. I can honestly say that at the end of the day, I know that I have always tried my best to do the right thing by my classmates and the knobs that I watched over while being an HA CPL, SGT, and officer.

What is inscribed on the inside of your ring and what is the significance?

Inside my ring is a Bible quote, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed,” (1 Peter 3:14). It’s significance to me refers to the moments that were the hardest to make decisions to stand up for what is right.

Note: You might remember Cadet Catherine Hill from her freshman year. She was featured in one of the college’s first Our Mighty Citadel stories. You can watch it at the bottom of this story. Seems like it was just yesterday, Catherine. Congratulations!

What is a song that describes your emotions leading up to Ring Day/Parent’s Weekend and why that song selection?

The song that comes to my mind is “5 More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery. The song talks about time flies and how we wish we could pause and have 5 more minutes to take it all in and be in the moment.

Why do you think it is important that cadets and/or people in general understand the symbolism and weight that the ring holds?

It is important because we chose to take “the road less traveled.” Anyone who has graduated from The Citadel will tell you that it wasn’t easy. Every year brought new challenges and we had to become more resilient and better leaders.

We wear the ring” is a repeated phrase amongst Alumni. What does it mean?

When we came to The Citadel we were just 18 year old young adults who had no clue what the next 4 years were going to hold for us. Here we learned the importance of Honor, Duty, and Respect. We learned how to follow and we learned how to lead. I don’t think you will find a single senior here that will tell you that they think they are the same person they were when they matriculated. We have learned so much here and will continue to carry our Citadel legacy for the rest of our lives.

What obligations do you feel you have in the future as a member of the Long Gray Line?

I am honored to be connected to a long line of alumni that I have shared similar experiences with. You just don’t get this experience and connection with people anywhere else. If i could go back in time I would make the decision to come here all over again.

I feel that I am obligated to uphold a standard as a nurse and an officer in the Army. We didn’t go through four years of The Citadel to throw away all that we have learned while we were here. It is our job as future graduates to take what we have learned here and apply it to our daily lives as we graduate and become adults.

Hill is 2nd Battalion human affairs officer, a nursing major and will commission as an officer in the U.S. Army upon graduating.

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My ring story: an active duty Marine’s journey https://today.citadel.edu/my-ring-story-an-active-duty-marines-journey/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 17:17:44 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=18863 Staff Sergeant Lyndsay Danielle Pires, Beaufort, South Carolina, ’21Staff Sergeant Lyndsay Danielle Pires, Beaufort, South Carolina, ’21"My time here at The Citadel has been crucial to my personal leadership development."]]> Staff Sergeant Lyndsay Danielle Pires, Beaufort, South Carolina, ’21Staff Sergeant Lyndsay Danielle Pires, Beaufort, South Carolina, ’21

Meet Staff Sgt. Lyndsay Danielle Pires, MECEP, ’21, Beaufort, South Carolina

Photo above: Staff Sgt. Lyndsay Danielle Pires, Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program active duty student, ’21, with son JJ

Who or what inspired you to attend The Citadel?

In addition to wanting to live in the Charleston area, The Citadel appealed to me for its prestigious reputation and alumni. This institution stands out for its unique educational experience, and opportunities within the Cadet and Veteran community to lead and learn from others within your four years here.

What was the most difficult obstacle you conquered that made you feel you earned the honor of wearing the Citadel Graduate College band of gold?

Being a dual major, a single mother, and an active duty Marine is demanding, but being entrusted with the responsibility to help mentor the future military leaders of America is just as heavy. The small part I had in these young men and women’s lives makes me feel most honored to wear the ring.

In what ways has this institution impacted your life?

My time here at The Citadel has been crucial to my personal leadership development. Not only has college given me the necessary critical thinking skills needed to succeed moving forward as a commissioned officer, but also the exposure and training within the Navy ROTC program has allowed me to network and continue to thrive in a military environment.

When you put your ring on your finger, what memories about The Citadel will you be thinking about?

Putting the ring on is the culmination of four years of opportunity. The opportunity to develop as an individual and a Marine, the opportunity to earn a valuable education, the opportunity to spend quality time raising my son, and most importantly, the opportunity to serve next to, and learn from some of the greatest men and women this country has to offer.

Like ranks in the military, the ring is a representation of past achievements and future responsibilities. In addition to the affiliation of honor and history within this great institution, the ring symbolizes that you are an individual of commendable moral character.

You are connected to thousands of alumni, not only through your Citadel experience but through the ring. How does that make you feel?

Empowered. I’m grateful to all those who paved the way before me, and hopeful for all those who will follow.

What is inscribed on the inside of your ring and what is the significance?

Next to being a mom, being a Marine is the most meaningful work I’ve ever done. The inside of my ring says both Semper Fidelis, signifying my commitment and gratitude to the Marine Corps – and JJ, my sons name and my ultimate reason why.

SSgt Pires is a Criminal Justice and English double major and an active duty Marine enrolled in the MECEP program. She will commission as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation.

Citadel Class of 2021 MECEP student, Staff Sgt. Lindsay Danielle Pires with her son, JJ.
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My ring story: Self discipline and accountability https://today.citadel.edu/my-ring-story-self-discipline-and-accountability/ https://today.citadel.edu/my-ring-story-self-discipline-and-accountability/#comments Wed, 23 Sep 2020 21:15:33 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=18804 Regina-Amber-Mills-and-other-cadets-2Regina-Amber-Mills-and-other-cadets-2To “wear the ring” means that The Citadel is a unique and shared experience...that we have earned our right to be in the Long Grey Line.]]> Regina-Amber-Mills-and-other-cadets-2Regina-Amber-Mills-and-other-cadets-2

Meet Regina Amber Miles, Aiken, South Carolina, ’21

Photo above: Cadets in order of appearance are Thorne, Miles, Engel and Reen. This picture was taken right after they graduated from Marine Officer Candidate School.

Who or what inspired you to attend The Citadel?

I read Pat Conroy’s Lords of Discipline and In the Company of Men, by Nancy Mace, and that was what initially intrigued me. I also knew people who went here. But, the real selling point was when I attended a pre-knob overnight and just had this overwhelming feeling that this is where I belonged.

What was the most difficult obstacle you conquered that made you feel you earned the honor of wearing the ring?

I’d say just having the endurance to uphold your commitment to this school, no matter what personal hardships you’re going through, is reason enough to wear the ring. It can be very tempting to give into an easier alternative, especially after knob year, but this institution was not made to be easy or to become easier; that in itself is the whole point of The Citadel.

No one can better themselves by being complacent. There should never be a point in anyone’s life where they can say they “have made it.” One should always seek self-improvement whether they are a private or a general. That is the mindset The Citadel instills within us.

In what ways has this institution impacted your life?

This institution forces you to grow up in some ways, and I mean that in the best way possible. Self discipline and accountability are drilled into our heads from the start. If we fail, it is completely on us. We have to take responsibility for it, learn from it, and move on.

Why do you think it is important that cadets and/or people in general understand the symbolism and weight that the ring holds?

I don’t think that people outside of the Citadel – other than the alumni, will ever truly understand the magnitude of what the ring means to us because they have not experienced what we have endured. The ring symbolizes four years of pure sacrifice, I hope they understand that, at least.

What is inscribed on the inside of your ring and what is the significance?

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt. I live my life by this quote. Essentially, it just means your worth does not come from others nor should you let it be influenced by others.

What is a song that describes your emotions leading up to Ring Day?

“Humble Beginnings by Bazzi.” The chorus reflects how I imagine I’ll feel when I get my ring. We have been looking forward to this day for so long and it’s going to feel surreal when we have finally earned it: “Can’t believe that we made it, can’t believe that we made it. We was broke, we was breakin’…now I’m here and I’m stayin’…”

“We wear the ring” is a repeated phrase amongst Alumni. What does it mean?

It’s a really moving concept, honestly.

To “wear the ring” means that The Citadel is a unique and shared experience. The Ring also means that we have earned our right to be alumni in the Long Grey Line when we graduate. Historically speaking, every cadet does not undergo the exact same Citadel experience, but we are all connected in having been part of the Corps of Cadets. We will always have each other’s backs because we have that mutual respect.

Miles is a part of the mascot cadet handing team. She is the senior dog handler and team captain. Miles will commission as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation. She was included in this local news story about the mascot handlers.

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