“If it wasn’t for AFROTC I wouldn’t be taking risks or taking every one of the opportunities I have been presented.”
Dayannara Muñoz ’17 took her first big leap in joining the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC). “It was a very ‘random’ decision. During freshman orientation I passed by the AFROTC booth and signed my name on the paper asking for more information. I always wanted to serve my country and give back for all of the opportunities I was given. Also, I want to have a career where I am constantly challenged, learning, and helping others.”
Muñoz originally matriculated to WPI, but was drawn to opportunities at MIT that would allow her to fulfill her passion for research and working on projects. She transferred after her sophomore year and said of the transition, “I was in classes where everyone knew each other because they’d been taking classes together for the past two years, so it was difficult for me to immerse myself into the student body.” However, she wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone by leaving her hometown, and has now integrated into the community at MIT, largely with the help of her AFROTC support network.
In everything she does, Muñoz is already finding her AFROTC experiences and lessons beneficial and applicable. “AFROTC has taught me a lot about leadership and being confident, which I have brought with me to all of the activities I do outside of school. If it wasn’t for AFROTC, I wouldn't be taking risks or taking every one of the opportunities I have been presented. I credit AFROTC for a lot of the achievement I’ve had in my activities and academics.”
Muñoz practices her leadership skills by working in her hometown further as a fitness class instructor on weekends. “The fitness class is about 15 people, and we do a lot of fast-paced calisthenics and body weight workouts. It’s really fun and the people enjoy it, (even though they hate it during the class),” she added.
During school breaks, she returns to Worcester to volunteer teaching chemistry classes five days a week for six hours at a time. “It’s extremely fun,” Muñoz expressed. “The students are hilarious and make it so worthwhile.”
This past summer Muñoz had her most rewarding AFROTC experience yet as a Cadet Training Assistant for Field Training, the equivalent to boot camp. “I was really put outside of my comfort zone because I was expected to yell, be really loud, and correct cadets who were only a year younger than I was. It was challenging, but it was extremely rewarding because I met some of the greatest people and learned so much from the cadets I was training.”
While Muñoz navigates the many opportunities before her, she knows she has been prepared to push her limits and relish each new experience. “AFROTC has taught me to make the most of everything I do and always put in 100% effort.”
The views of these AFROTC cadets are their personal opinions and do not represent those of the Dept of Defense, Air Force, or AFROTC.