Women in ROTC exceed their own expectations

Amanda Kozma

Freshman fashion merchandising major Diana Ley, sophomore nursing major Nina Noskowiak and freshman nursing major Leslie Cox are all members of the Army ROTC program. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Freshman Diana Ley came to Kent State for the fashion program – she never expected to find her real passion in the ROTC building.

Ley is a fashion merchandising major who decided to take a few leadership classes in the Army ROTC program.

“It’s not true that girly girls can’t be in the military,” Ley said. “Ever since I was little I wanted to be in the military, but the dream kind of faded away as I got older.”

Although the military is dominated by men, the Army ROTC programs provide just as many opportunities for women. There are several scholarships available for female cadets, and some women said they were surprised to discover their own strengths in the ROTC program.

While attending orientation at Kent State, Ley said her mother reminded her of how passionate she used to be about joining the military, and she didn’t hesitate to give it a chance.

“It’s not going to hurt me to just give the program a try,” Ley said.

Ley said she knows she is physically capable of joining the military and helping others, and that is why she chose to do it. Although Ley has not made any formal commitment to the military, she participates in all training events for the Army ROTC program.

“Students in the ROTC program have a really positive attitude, and it’s just a good atmosphere to work in,” Ley said. “The teachers are incredibly encouraging and very sincere; that’s why I love it.”

“Her attitude is great,” said Sgt. Wesley Gilmore, a military science instructor. “It’s really inspiring to see a girl with no commitment to the military participate in training just because she wants to.”

Ley admitted she walked into the first day of class scared because she had no prior knowledge of the Army, but now she loves it.

She wasn’t the only who was nervous about starting military classes. Sophomore nursing major Nina Noskowiak said she was intimidated by all the men in the ROTC program, but quickly found that everyone was supportive.

“I realized that if I put my mind to something, I can do it,” Noskowiak said.

Freshman nursing major Leslie Cox said she got used to being one of the few women and it wasn’t so daunting after she proved herself.

“A lot of the time when I try to complete a task, I’m surprised that I can finish it,” Cox said.

Although men and women have different strengths, the tasks and expectations for training are the same and it’s just about finding the will power to try, she said. Cox said she is just glad she decided to join the ROTC program because it has given her the opportunity to try different things that she never would have done otherwise.

Ley said she thinks the military classes will help her in the future, whether she continues in the military or the fashion industry, because it teaches leadership and how to work well with others.

Noskowiak agreed the classes helped her with everyday life and the program encouraged her to step up into a leadership position in her sorority. She said it was helpful to have the opportunity to take a military leadership course without a commitment so she could try it and find out if she really liked it.

“Definitely try the stuff that you’re afraid of,” Ley said. “You never know when you’re going to love it.”

Contact ROTC reporter Amanda Kozma at [email protected].