Graduating ROTC Cadets at Branch Night.
Dec 22, 2022
For soon to be commissioned and graduating ROTC cadets, Branch Night is the culmination of all they have worked for over the years.
Branch Night is the evening in which a graduating class of cadets finds out which branch of the Army they will serve in after commissioning.
Branch Night on Dec. 3 was everything four Florida Southern senior ROTC cadets wanted.
Senior cadets Anthony Alvarez, Mariely Sanchez, Michael Schildberg, and Zach McCullough each got their assignments ahead of their commencement in 2023.
Both Alvarez and Sanchez are heading into Field Artillery, with Sanchez also receiving orders for the Adjunct General branch. McCullough is headed for Air Defense Artillery and Schildberg received orders for the Armor and Military Intelligence branches.
Each cadet has their own story about why they got involved with Florida Southern’s ROTC program.
For Alvarez, he is a first-generation student and the first of his family to go into the military.
Alvarez, who should graduate in the Spring with a degree in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Data Analytics, said FSC was a no-brainer decision.
“When I visited, I had heard nothing but stellar remarks about the ROTC program,” he said. “No other college provided all of the accommodations I was looking for like FSC.”
Schildberg’s career path has been one he has been on since the eighth grade.
He said Florida Southern was recommended to him by his mother Brenda (class of 1989) because of the small class sizes, close student-professor relationships, and the study-abroad opportunities.
Schildberg also gave a nod to former FSC recruiting officer Nara Tourgerman and his admissions advisor Anna Hopkins.
“They inspired me to attend Florida Southern with their kindness and willingness to always assist me, which I feel is emblematic of the culture of FSC as a whole,” Schildberg said.
Schildberg is slated to graduate with degrees in History and Political Science with a minor in Military Science and Leadership. He cites his grandfather, a retired Navy veteran, as a key influence in his life and for being one of the main reasons he wanted to go into the military.
Sanchez also gave thanks to Tourgeman, and like Alvarez she is a first-generation college student and soon-to-be member of the military.
“I honestly didn’t think growing up that I would’ve ended up serving for the United States military, but I was inspired by FSC’s ROTC recruiter my senior year of high school, Mrs. Nara Tourgeman,” Sanchez said. “She played a big role into how I chose Florida Southern. The beautiful campus and the small class sizes were a plus of course.”
Sanchez said that receiving Field Artillery as her branch assignment was exciting and she is very grateful to have the opportunity to be trusted in such a complex and challenging field for the military.
Memories of running through the woods playing soldier with his friends are some of what drew McCullough into choosing to serve in the military.
McCullough is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in Business Finance and said that the Barney Barnett School of Business & Free Enterprise, as well as the FSC ROTC program, are what drew him to transferring from Hillsborough Community College to start his junior year in Lakeland.
“The lessons I've learned being part of the Moccasin Battalion will stay with me through not just my military career, but when one day I put my degree to good use as well,” McCullough said.
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