Alyssa Michalke, Texas A&M’s First Female to Lead as Corps Commander

Talk about girl power! Class of 2016 Corps member Alyssa Michalke has been selected to lead as Texas A&M’s first female Corps Commander. The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets is made up of more than 2,450 students whose purpose is to “develop well-educated leaders of character who embody the values of honor, courage, integrity, discipline and selfless service” (more information on the Corps of Cadets).

Alyssa, majoring in Ocean Engineering, has always been a driven individual. When Alyssa was younger, her father, Rodney Michalke, told her captivating stories of working on offshore rigs that made Alyssa want to work in offshore oil production. Whether it is in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of Northern Europe, Alyssa is working hard to achieve her goal. She has and continues to dedicate a good chunk of her time to her classes, and it doesn’t go unrecognized. She wears a silver star on her uniform, which represents that she maintains a 3.5+ GPA.

Her biggest accomplishments include an array of things. Back in high school, Alyssa made All-State for basketball and trumpet her senior year. More recently, during her sophomore year of college she served as the Guidon Bearer for her outfit, which is arguably rare for a female. She most certainly seems to be one for paving paths and breaking barriers. This year (her junior year), Alyssa is serving as the Sergeant Major for the Corps. We already know her most recent accomplishment, which is being selected to lead as Corps Commander for next year.

AM: “I never even dreamed I’d be here, but it’s a great opportunity that I’m looking forward to. There were so many qualified guys and girls who went for the position, and I’ll be serving with them next year, so I’m eager to see how we push and challenge each other to develop.”

Many have made comments that because the Corps is only made up of about 15% of females, the women in the organization are suppressed. Alyssa is living proof that the Corps strives to present equal values between both sexes.

AM: “I hope to change everyone’s perspective on women in the Corps and be an inspiration and motivation for all young people, no matter their race, gender, or sex. A surprising amount of females do hold leadership positions in the Corps, and even though we make up a small portion, our voices are heard.”

In holding the position of Corps Commander, Alyssa’s agenda sits on four main goals:

  1. Accomplish the Corps overall vision statement (mentioned in the first paragraph of this article)
  2. Continue making strides in academics. Overall, the Corp's grades have gradually increased every semester since Alyssa has been a student at Texas A&M, and she is determined to make sure the pattern will continue.
  3. The Corps will be split in two next year due to renovations on the North-half of the Quad. Half of the Corps will be located in the Commons, and the other half will be located in the South-half of the Quad.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               AM: “With that comes a lot of logistical and operational challenges. I’m looking forward to the situation and seeing how it’s going to play out because this split will last about two years. I think it will challenge myself and the Corps to grow and develop a better Corps in general.”
  4. Quite a few changes were implemented this year to help the Corps run better as a whole. Alyssa plans on continuing with these changes so that the Corps remains consistent, and the unification achieved this year is not digressed.

For all you goal driven ladies, here’s some advice from Alyssa:

AM: “Always one-up yourself. Don’t concern yourself with other people, but maintain respect for everyone. It’s all about being yourself. If you go to bed every night, and you’re not better than the way you were yesterday or the day before, then you’ve wasted a day.”

She considers her most rewarding experience of being in the Corps the people she gets to work with, claiming that they are “cut from the same cloth.” Even though she serves as their leader, she believes that she learns as much from them as they do from her.

Overall, Alyssa’s most memorable experience while being in the Corps is one that sent chills down my spine. During the spring of 2013, Alyssa lost two close buddies to a drunk driver driving the wrong way on Highway 6. Instead of spending Spring Break relaxing, Alyssa spent that time attending their funerals and being a pallbearer.

AM: “I remember the Silver Taps was that April, and it was thundering and raining, so we held it in G. Rollie White, and I didn’t want to go and reopen the wounds I had just closed. That night came around, and right before we had to start getting ready, I remember just sitting there in silence, and I heard God talking to me and saying that I needed to go do this.”

Attending that Silver Taps was a decision she’s glad she went through with.

AM: “I remember seeing, out of the corner of my eye, everyone in the stands who had come… Having them there really connected me to the Aggie Spirit, and it made me feel more in tune with everyone… We were all just a big family.”

They spent the rest of the emotionally draining night praying and talking until 1 in the morning. That night changed Alyssa’s perspective on a lot of things.

AM: “I stopped being so angry and finally realized that they were in a better place. It’s not my place to judge why God allows certain things to happen.”

She laughed and smiled as she recollected a memory of a time when she and her late friends were all at Chilis, and they got kicked out for being too loud and staying too long.

Alyssa’s role models are undeniably her parents who she accredits much of her motivation to.

Her father is the person who inspires her to be outdoorsy and get out there.

AM: “Since I was little, [my dad would] always take me out to the farm, hunting, fishing, or working cattle. With sports, he was always my coach, and all of this made me look up to him. He’s well respected in my community, and he always talks to everybody. No matter if they’re 30 years older or younger than him, he can always talk to anyone.”

To the dismay of many, her father was involved in an accident while working maintenance for a school. The accident caused a pinch in his spine, causing him to be paralyzed from the waist down.

AM: “That didn’t let anything stop him. He worked his butt off at rehab, and now he can walk with forearm crutches. They told him he’d never be able to walk again, and now, he still goes hunting and fishing as much as I do. He won’t let anything stand in his way.”

Her mother, on the other hand, is the person who inspires her to push herself academically and professionally.

AM: “[My mom] dealt with the accident so well. My dad’s therapy was in Houston, which is a good 2 to 2.5 hour drive from where we live, and she’d leave work early every Friday to pick him up and bring him back to watch my basketball games, softball games, golf tournaments, or whatever it was that was going on. She’d then take him back to Houston late on Sunday nights, then go to work early on Monday morning.”

Alyssa’s mom’s involvement and determination in every aspect of her life inspires Alyssa and makes her a proud daughter.

AM: “For her to stay strong through it all… I don’t know how she did it. There was such a hostile environment in my family after my dad’s accident, and my mom was the constant glue that held my family together.”

In the end, Alyssa attributes all of her successes and experiences to her faith.

AM: “I’ve always felt like God puts me in whatever place I need to be. Ultimately, he has a plan for me, and it’s not always what I want. It’s up to me to just trust him, because he’s putting me in a place to where I become a better person.”