Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets is one of the University’s most illustrious organizations. In February, they appointed a new commander, a junior from Schulenberg. Her name is Alyssa Michalke, and she’s kind of a big deal. She’s the first woman to be named commander in the Corps’ 139-year history. They only started allowing women to join in 1974.
On getting the news about her new role:
“I was a little surprised. In the past there have been sergeant majors in my position who have gone on to be Corps Commander, but it was never a given, and so when I heard the news I was a little surprised, a little shocked…definitely excited, but also a little anxious just to get started, and just ready for next year.”
On the Corps of Cadets:
“It’s really the heartbeat of Texas A&M. The Corps is the oldest tradition here at Texas A&M University…. It’s a challenging organization–one that helps you develop young men and women into great and exceptional leaders for our military, and for our nation and for our world. It’s just been a challenging experience, but one that I do not regret and one that I know has made a lasting impact on my life.”
On the public response to her appointment:
“There’s been a few negative comments, but for every one negative comment I get, I get 10 or 15 emails, text messages or phone calls, saying ‘Hey congratulations, looking forward to what you’re going to do next year.’ So the overwhelming amount of support from all Aggies, both current and past, has been amazing.”
On meeting women who have been in the Corps in the past:
“They came up to me with tears in their eyes, saying… ‘We’re so proud of you, congratulations.’ They say, ‘We knew this day would come eventually,’ they just didn’t know when. It just means a lot to give back to them for all the work they put in 20, 30, 40 years ago….. They went through extremely tough times. They faced probably 20 times more adversity than I ever did…I was in awe of what they went through, and they still made it.”
Alyssa Michalke studies ocean engineering. When she graduates, she hope to either design oil platforms in the ocean or work on renewable resource projects in Europe.