OFF&RUNNING Two years, two second-place finishes and one final destination. That’s what Navy Ensigns Brandy Kinnunen, Eng ’18, and Donovan Lyon, Health Sci ’19, have in common. BY GUY FI ORI TA
The Marquette alumni both finished second in the nation among all graduating NROTC midshipmen in their respective years based on their GPA, physical fitness scores, naval science knowledge and leadership skills. Both say studying at a Jesuit university gave them an advantage in their military careers. “The role of an officer combines leadership and service,” says Kinnunen. “Marquette gave me those tools.” Their rankings earned them a wide-open choice of their first duty stations, and both selected the USS Ross based in Rota, Spain. Kinnunen, who has been on board the guided-missile destroyer for a year working toward her Surface Warfare qualification, chose Spain
because she liked the idea of working in Europe while being “forward deployed” near strategically vital regions. “Being a division officer consists of more administrative work than I imagined, but I couldn’t have asked for a better ship for my first tour.” Lyon chose the Ross in part because of its mission as a ballistic missile defense vessel. “Plus having ENS Kinnunen onboard helps. She’s an excellent role model, and it’ll be wonderful having a familiar face in Spain.” Kinnunen, too, looks forward to having a fellow Marquette graduate onboard and offers this advice: “Ask questions, even if they seem really basic and realize you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. Just be sure to learn from them.”
KNOW A YOUNG GRAD ON THE GO?
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Marquette Magazine Fall 2019 Issue