Gillett Native Earns NROTC Scholarship

Gillett Native Earns NROTC Scholarship

Anna G. Bogdan, a former Poolee with Recruiting Substation Horseheads, is awarded the $180,000 Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship by Maj Christopher Kaprielian, commanding officer of Recruiting Station Buffalo. Bogdan is currently seeking certifications to be a volunteer fire fighter in her spare time. Photo by Sgt Christopher O'Quin.

GILLETT, Pa. (June 1, 2015) – As teenagers, few people know what they want to do for their future with the passion and conviction of Anna Bogdan, a Gillett, Penn., native and high school senior.

Bogdan harnessed this passion and has earned the opportunity to be a leader, a leader of those who win our win nation's battles, a Marine officer.

She is one of four high school seniors in the Western New York area to be awarded the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship this year, a highly coveted and competitive means to pay for some of the most expensive schools in the nation, with up to $180,000 awarded.

"When I was 14 years old, I knew I wanted to go into the military," said Bogdan. "The Marines really stood out for me. I thought my parents wouldn't be on board at first, so I snuck into the recruiting office at the Arnot Mall to speak to a recruiter and that was what put me on the path today."

When she visited their office, she was too young to enlist, so she did her research and visited weekly to participate in physical training sessions with the Marines and future recruits. In 2014 Bogdan became a high school senior and joined the delayed entry program, wherein high school seniors commit to enlisting into the Marine Corps upon graduation from high school.

While in DEP, she attained the billet of guide, which put her in charge of the future recruits, often referred to as "Poolees", during weekly functions and physical training.

It was her leadership skills that caught the eye of her recruiter, Sgt Gould, who helped convince her to apply.

"Every year we help the command submit applications for the scholarship and I knew she was perfectly suited for it," said Sgt Andrew Gould, her recruiter with RSS Horseheads, Recruiting Station Buffalo and Edinboro, Penn. native. "I suggested she apply for it, which she was hesitant to do at first."

Part of the process required to earn the scholarship involved interviews with members of the Marine Corps who screen hundreds of high school students for qualities an officer would need.

"When I interviewed her, I knew she was nothing like the 600 plus applicants I've interviewed for the scholarship as an officer selection officer," said Capt Nikolas DeMaria, OSO for Officer Selection Team Syracuse, RS Buffalo. "She shows ingenuity, is hard working, flexible and has matured faster than her peers."

Some of the things that distinguished her from her peers include her training to become a volunteer firefighter, jazz and orchestral piano playing, and achieving a 3.9 grade point average.

She was recently accepted into Penn State, which is only a few hours from home, a welcome change for her parents.

"I am just ecstatic," said Faith Bogdan, Anna's mother. "When I was told she'd earned the scholarship I could barely contain myself. It was exceptionally hard keeping it a secret until her awards ceremony."

Bogdan was awarded the scholarship with no prior knowledge she was accepted. The surprise ceremony on March 28, with her family and Marine family came as a total shock and only filled her with more overwhelming glee.

"It's been a crazy experience," added Bogdan. "I never thought I could compete for something like this. I did have my heart set on going the enlisted route. But now I see a really good opportunity to prove myself further. "

One day, Bogdan will be leading Marines both younger and older than her. She will need to rely on her older enlisted Marine's experience and wisdom to make the decisions and she will need to rely on her young enlisted Marines' youthful energy and innovation to carry out her orders. These next four to six years will be crucial in developing her leadership abilities.

Many years from now she could be providing support for humanitarian assistance operations, advising commanding officers on missions in hostile territory or shaking hands with foreign officials during a key leader engagement overseas. Whatever career choice she makes, the Corps future and her part to play in it, is just beginning.

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