posted on: Thursday February 18, 2010
Meghan Conway ’12 / News Staff
For Liz McNamara ’11, being a student while active in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps [ROTC] Program means experiencing the best of both worlds at Providence College. McNamara feels ROTC and her involvement in many different activities at the College has made her more than well rounded.
As if a double major in political science and theatre is not demanding enough for an ROTC scholarship student, McNamara still finds time to pursue crew, acting, and a job in the library as a student commons assistant. As a junior, ROTC requires McNamara to complete daily workouts, weekly training sessions, field training exercises once a semester, and perform color guard.
“ROTC is a lot of work, but it’s really great,” said McNamara. “I’m pretty busy, but when I have free time I love to go to the movies—that never gets old.”
McNamara, a resident of North Providence, R.I., knew since high school that ROTC was something she wanted to do. Although her father is in the Army, she says he never pushed her to join the military.
“I think my dad almost had a heart attack when I told him I was joining ROTC,” said McNamara. “It was the last thing he expected and he never pressured me to join the program. It was a decision I made on my own.”
The strong ROTC program was a major reason she chose to attend Providence College, but the overall community feeling and warm atmosphere is what helped her make her final decision to become a friar.
“Growing up so close to this school, I never really thought of it as an option,” said McNamara. “Luckily my parents encouraged me to check it out and as soon as I saw the campus I knew it was the right place for me. Everyone was so welcoming, and on top of that the ROTC Program is top notch.”
McNamara said one of her favorite ROTC moments was having Black Hawk helicopters land on Hendricken Field and taking part in the ROTC field training exercises. She said she was proud to be part of an event that showed Providence College students what the Army is all about.
“It’s hard to put into words how I feel about ROTC,” said McNamara. “There’s just something cool about walking around campus with my uniform on and seeing someone else in their uniform. We can be yards and yards apart, but there will still be a connection there.”
She also loves the formal events such as the Veteran’s Day Ceremony, because everyone is in Class A uniforms and looking their sharpest.
“Just knowing that I’m involved in something that is bigger than myself feels great,” said McNamara.
As a four-year scholarship ROTC student, McNamara must serve in the Army for a minimum of four years after graduation. The evaluation of her performance this year will determine where she ends up in the Army next year. However, between her intense commitment to ROTC and her love of performing, McNamara has had trouble deciding which path she’ll ultimately choose to take.
“I’m anxious to find out where I’ll be in two years, but I’m excited too,” said McNamara. “My first choice is to be full time Army and Military Law, but since that is really competitive, my back up plans are part-time Army and part-time acting. It’s all up in the air for me now.”
The productions McNamara has performed in are Waiting for Lefty, Romeo and Juliet, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, and she is currently in the company of Little Women.
“The Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film is filled with wonderful people; I love it and I love acting,” said McNamara.
McNamara feels lucky to be a part of such diverse activities at the College.
“It’s interesting because colleges in general have the tendency to be very free-thinking and they encourage you to think outside the box, whereas the Army is an entirely different animal because it’s very conservative and very rigid,” said McNamara. “So for me the most interesting part of being a student and in ROTC at the same time means to literally live in two completely separate worlds, which makes me feel well balanced to say the least.”