After more than three years in the Vanderbilt ROTC program, senior nursing majors Amanda Barfield and Jessica Sanders were named as two of the top twelve nurses in their organization across the country.
In the annual rankings released by the ROTC’s cadet command branch earlier in the fall, Barfield was named the second-best in the nation.
Sanders was the twelfth of the more than 250 cadet nurses ranked on their GPA, leadership skills and physical fitness scores from their first three years of ROTC training.
While both cadets were surprised at their rankings, they knew from their previous records and training they knew they were going to do well.
Both students attribute much of their success to their training and mentoring at Vanderbilt’s ROTC program, which accepts students from six other Nashville colleges.
“I don’t have a military background, so ROTC was a new adventure for me,” she said in an email. “The military has been a surprisingly good fit and the leadership training I have received will help me regardless of my future career.”
The studying and physical training the program requires is what led Barfield to her success, she said.
Their performances at Warrior Forge, a leadership development camp and competition ROTC students must go to in Washington state, were the ones they said were crucial to their rankings. Sanders was fourth in her regiment in the competition as a squad leaders, and Barfield said she did well there too.
“They basically say ‘Okay, here’s your mission. You have this equipment to use – go,” Sanders said. “[As a squad leader] have to put together and execute a plan with twelve other members in your squad.”
Once Barfield graduates in the spring, she will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Tennessee National Guard and will be looking for a civilian nursing job. Though nothing has come of her ranking so far, Barfield hopes it will give her an edge while finding a job. Sanders will be commissioned in the Army as a second lieutenant after graduation.