Being a Woman in ROTC: Madison Demos '22

This week I had the privilege of talking to Madison Demos, a first-year student at DePauw University who is part of ROTC, which stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps. She talked to me about why she decided to take this path and how she feels about being the only woman.

Her Campus: What is ROTC, and what do you guys do here at DePauw?

Madison Demos: ROTC is a program offered at DePauw to train college students to become cadets in the U.S. Armed Forces. This program consists of regular workouts and a quarter credit class. The workouts are offered 5 times a week; how many times you have to go depends on your physical fitness and age. We go to class every Wednesday afternoon. The class also has a lab that can be either after the class on Wednesdays or on Saturdays. The class and lab get progressively harder and more intense with every year.

HC: Why did you decide to join?

MD: When I was a sophomore in high school, my neighbor came back from deployment for the first time since enlisting in the Navy. What stood out to me was that he seemed a completely different man, and I mean that in the best way possible. He was very mature, seemed to have a grip on his life, and seemed to have found himself. After he visited, I realized that I want that same feeling for me and that the military could give me that. So when I was applying to college, I looked into what school could be the starting point of my military career. DePauw was the only one that offered an ROTC program, so naturally, I came here.

HC: Do you feel like the program here is preparing you for the military adequately?

MD: I feel like ROTC at DePauw is preparing me very well for my future career. I look up to the older cadets and hope I come out like them.

HC: How do you feel about being the only girl?

MD: At first, I was nervous, but not enough to change my mind. When I met the guys, I stopped feeling awkward. They were all very inclusive and motivational. They are very supportive and want what’s best for everyone.

HC: Do you think you are being treated differently because of your gender?

MD: Not really—I have not been discriminated against or anything like that. I feel like people are very respectful to me. There is not a lot of females in the program, so in order to attract more, everyone is very supportive and always there for you to help you or answer any questions.

HC: What’s your favorite thing?

MD: I love the workouts. I have never been in better shape, and it’s a good way to keep me on my toes. It motivates me to stay active and healthy. I especially enjoy the morning workouts because I can feel more alert for class later. 

HC: What would you say to someone who is considering joining?

MD: I would say that they should definitely join, because you get a lot out of it personally and it helps train you to think quickly on your feet in different situations in everyday life. I would recommend everyone to give it a shot because it is interesting and helps you prepare for your future career. Through ROTC I discovered my purpose in life: saving lives and helping people.