For the Shifflet and McCoy sisters the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) is a family affair.
Monica and Natalie Shifflet ‘17 are twin sisters from San Diego who have extended family as current and past members of the Navy. Colleen McCoy ‘17 is the third of four sisters to attend MIT and join NROTC. “My decision to join NROTC was really influenced by my family,” said McCoy. “My two older sisters were in the program and they enjoyed it, so I thought I might like it as well.”
Now they have found a second family with NROTC. “NROTC is a close community,” said Monica. “There is respect for your fellow midshipmen. Also, we expect the best out of each other and push each other to be better.”
McCoy added, “Our battalion really drives in the importance of mentorship and looking out for each other, so while everyone is working to succeed themselves, we also really care about everyone else in the battalion. Each class is pretty close with each other, and the upperclassmen are expected to be mentors and role models for the underclassmen, so it creates a whole network of support.”
“With ROTC, I get outside of that MIT bubble a little more,” said Monica. “World events are crucial to where our life will be once we graduate, so knowing what is going on around the world is important.” Her sister, Natalie, echoed this sentiment. “It keeps me thinking about how things are affecting the world at large, which helps me break out of the MIT bubble.”
Both McCoy and the Shifflets expressed that the added time commitment is a challenge, but NROTC has given them many time management and organizational skills that have helped them manage their academic loads and extracurriculars at MIT. McCoy, Course 2, is involved with the MIT Running Club, Cru, leads bible studies in Simmons, and plays cajon, the box drum, in worship band. Monica, Course 3, and Natalie, Course 22, are members of sorority Kappa Alpha Theta and the MIT Varsity Softball team.
“It’s hard to balance MIT academics, ROTC, and a varsity sport,” said Natalie. “I have to plan ahead to try to take my schedule easier during softball season, and I have to make sure I work with my professors to deal with any conflicts.”
The leadership development emphasized by ROTC provides a gratifying and educational experience. McCoy has enjoyed being able to mentor freshman and explore her leadership style as a squad leader. “The most rewarding part has been being able to help incoming midshipmen adjust to NROTC and college,” expressed Natalie. Similarly, Monica said, “The most rewarding thing is seeing the people that you are leading succeed.”
McCoy has found her training to be another thread linking her to her sisters. “While we never expected all of us to do NROTC at MIT it really has kept us very close throughout college.”
“NROTC is a community where we expect each other to be present and engaged.” Natalie continued, “We also have a good support system and check up on one another.” For these three MIT women that support system is one large and sturdy family tree.
The views of these NROTC cadets are their personal opinions and do not represent those of the Dept of Defense, Navy, or NROTC.