CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Commissioning more than 170 cadets since 1951, the Islander Army ROTC at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has continued to honor its mission – developing the future leaders of our military and this great nation.
On Aug. 4, five Islander cadets stood proudly at their commissioning ceremony, as they made the transition from United States Army Cadet to Second Lieutenant. The participants included Junsung Cho, Kristopher Marrou, Stephanie Parlamas, Stephanie Shutak and George Ann B. Voss. Cho, Shutak and Parlamas will graduate in the summer 2017 Islander commencement ceremony on Aug. 5, while Marrou and Voss are recent Islander alums.
The commissioning ceremony, attended by family, friends and fellow military comrades, included the tradition of pinning lieutenants’ bars by the soldiers loved ones and the Silver Dollar Salute, an Army tradition in which newly commissioned second lieutenants present a silver dollar to the first enlisted soldier who salutes them. Retired Colonel Matthew Elledge was the ceremony’s guest speaker. During his talk, he told the cadets of his unlikely path to military service and stressed four principles to success – trust, a clear vision, communication and leadership.
Shutak, graduating this semester with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, beamed with pride and emotion as four different family members pinned her lieutenants’ bars – a moment she says signifies the unwavering support from her family through her collegiate and military journey.
“My mom and dad pinned my left side. They’re my greatest influences and the people who have always pushed me to be greater than I was,” said Shutak. “Pinning my right side was my sister and my fiancé, who have been there for me in the best and worst times. I cherish each one of them greatly.”
Shutak contributes her drive and success in both nursing and in the ROTC program to her family. Her mom retired after 30 years in the Army Nurse Corps, while her father served both in Army and Navy and has been a nurse for 20 years. Her sister is in the Army Military Police Corps and her brother is a Biomedical Equipment Specialist in the Army. Shutak has officially entered what she jokingly calls, “the family business.” Following her graduation, Shutak will report to her first duty station as an Active Duty Army Nurse in the Army Nurse Corps.
Voss graduated “Most Outstanding ROTC Senior” in May 2017 with Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“My mom, Elizabeth Voss, and my mentor, Scott Richardson, pinned me today,” said Voss. “My mother raised a soldier. Her strength as a single mother made me who I am today. My mentor, Scott, put challenges in the proper context. He developed my ability to start thinking like an officer.”
During her time as an Islander, Voss was a member of the Student Nurses Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Golden Key International Honor Society, Student Veterans Organization, Student Support Services, and Community Outreach Retention Engagement.
“ROTC provided me with the opportunities to put steel into my character,” said Voss. “The additional challenges of ROTC made me a strong student. I always gave 100 percent of my efforts because I never forgot the patient population I would soon be serving as an Army nurse.”
Junsung Cho is graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Cho worked diligently to complete basic training while becoming a naturalized United States citizen and combat medic. Post-graduation, he will report to Fort Sam Houston to attend a Basic Officer Leadership Course. Thereafter, he plans to serve his first duty station with the Texas National Guard.
Kristopher Marrou graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems in May 2017. While enrolled in the Islander ROTC program, Marrou participated in the Cadet Club, Color Guard, and Drill Team and plans to report to Fort Gordon to attend a Signal Corps Basic Officer Leader Course. Thereafter, he plans to serve his first duty station with the Texas National Guard.
Stephanie Parlamas is the sixth person in her immediate family to graduate with a degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and will receive a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management. She was recently chosen by the College of Business as an Outstanding Graduate. Parlamas earned a full-ride scholarship from the ROTC for her undergraduate studies and plans to eventually pursue an MBA from the Island University. Upon graduation, she will report to her first duty station as the Executive Officer, 328th HR Company; in San Antonio.
To learn more about the Islander Army ROTC, go to http://rotc.tamucc.edu/.