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Mighty Marni Makes Military Mark

Kendricks repelled down 64-foot wall during camp.

Marni Kendricks, assistant dean for undergraduate academics in the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, recently represented the university’s Army ROTC Program at the U.S. Army Summer Cadet Training Leadership Symposium in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Kendricks was among 40 people from across the nation, identified as “persons of influence” or representing “centers of influence,” to spend a few days with the cadets and cadre to learn more about how the Army is training the next generation of military officers. Participants have opportunities to endorse or recommend this program to potential future officers and leaders.

With challenges facing the military, the U.S. Army is serious about recruiting the best and brightest to lead. Military leaders are particularly interested in increasing the number of officers with engineering and technical backgrounds.
“I had the pleasure of spending a few days with provosts, deans, chancellors, athletics directors and associates from all across the U.S. representing a variety of Army ROTC universities,” Kendricks said. “We interacted with senior military officers, professors of military science and cadets in summer training. They invited the academics to participate in several activities to experience some of the Army training firsthand.”

As part of her training experience, Kendricks practiced loading a magazine and shooting enemy threats on an electronic rifle range.

“We participated in a computer-simulated attack and a virtual training activity in heavy protective gear,” she said. “I will never forget rappelling from a 64-foot tower and going through the full-scale ropes course.”

She quickly developed a great deal of trust and confidence in the professionals who were teaching those events.
“As I ended my high-adrenaline week with a few bruises and scrapes, I thought about the power of a program that could coach even a bunch of nutty professors through those challenges,” Kendricks said. “It was obvious the U.S. military has the ability and experience to transform fit, focused, young, capable 22-year-olds into great leaders to serve our country in a critical role.”

The Ole Miss unit is proud of how well Kendricks performed at Fort Knox, said Scott Caldwell, UM Army ROTC recruiting operations officer. “She represented both the engineering program and the University of Mississippi well during all of the challenging events,” he said.

UM has about 100 active Army ROTC cadets in its program and is expecting seven National Scholarship Award winners as part of the incoming freshman class. In addition to these, the unit anticipates an incoming freshman class of about 30 students who will be competing for Campus Based Scholarships or Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty Scholarships.

Written by Edwin Smith
Story and photo courtesy UM Communications

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