The warm June sun shines upon the water as Claudia Weiskittel waits patiently for her fishing pole to begin to bob up and down. The relaxing aroma of the sea creeps up the noses of both Claudia and her dear friend. This small yet precious moment is one of the things that Claudia values most. “The little time that you have to relax and be with loved ones is nice,” Claudia said.
Although Claudia loves fishing, relaxing at home, hiking, and spending time at the beach, most of her time and energy is put into serving others. Claudia is a Biomedical Science major and a member of ROTC at Marist College. “I have always been interested in medicine,” said Claudia. “I have always wanted to help people-which my career now is more Army rather than medicine that I am going into.” Nevertheless, the idea of helping others is always on Claudia’s agenda.
‘LEARNING WITH HER AND FROM HER’—Claudia's interest in being a part of ROTC stemmed from her learning about the Marist ROTC program in her high school, Valley Central High School in Montgomery, NY. Other students from Valley Central High School partook in the Marist ROTC program and they came back to talk about their experiences. Family relations also come into play.
Claudia Weiskittel's Childhood Image
"We are like a family. Everyone always says that—I know anyone can say that, but it really is true."
“My dad was in the Navy so I have always respected him for that,” Claudia said. She jokes, “Even though I’m going into the Army field not Navy so I’m sure he wasn't as thrilled about that.”
After Claudia’s first semester of her freshman year, she got offered a contract with the Army and a scholarship. Additionally, being involved is this program has become a way of life for Claudia.
Claudia Weiskitte has an immense drive to help others, as a senior member of Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at Marist. After the first semester of her freshman year, Claudia was offered a contract with the Army and a scholarship. Claudia thrives in the environment of ROTC as it has helped her to become the leader that she is. Claudia will graduate this May and commission as a second Lieutenant in the Army—and from there, she has been assessed to go active duty.
The majority of Claudia’s friends are cadets from ROTC. “I’ve met other people from other ROTC programs and the one here at Marist is really unique,” she explains. Claudia has established an immense bond with every cadet that she has met.
“We are like a family. Everyone always says that—I know anyone can say that, but it really is true,” said Claudia. “If any cadet in the program including myself is going through a problem, every cadet is supportive whether it be something bad or a celebration like if someone gets offered a contract or it’s their birthday.”
Claudia elaborates, “Personally, ROTC has helped me. I used to be really shy and quiet and it helped to develop me into a leader both in the army and in the civilian world too.” It is ‘the drive’ that keeps Claudia going. Claudia explains her motivation is based on coming out of college and doing something worthwhile.
Claudia’s fellow ROTC senior Lucas Eliasson has grown with Claudia in their four years in college together. Lucas describes Claudia, “Claudia is a peer, but also a leader and a role model.” Lucas explains that because him and Claudia are the only two seniors who have been with the ROTC program for all four years at Marist, as they have become very close friends.
Lucas, among other people in ROTC, refer to Claudia with the nickname “Skittles” as it is a play on her last name Weiskittel. “Every year I have had the privilege of both learning with her, and from her,” Lucas said. “There have been some very tough times that me and Skittles have spent together, and whenever something happens anyone that she is responsible for is always taken care of without ever thinking about herself.”
‘COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD’—Sergeant First Class (SFC) Kareem Yates oversees the ROTC program at Marist. “As our only female senior in the group, she has been a tremendous addition to the program,” he said. “She has displayed leadership traits that are only learned after years of military service.”
Claudia will graduate this May and will also commission as a second Lieutenant in the Army this May. “From there I have been assessed to go active duty which is what I wanted so that’s good,” said Claudia. “I owe at least four years active duty. Hoping to do more.” Claudia will be going in transportation corp so she will be a logistics officer and has to complete four months of training in Fort Lee Virginia starting in July. She is looking forward to her training this summer. Claudia further discusses her plans, “And from there I will go to my first duty station- which I don’t know where yet I wish I could tell you.”
“It could be anywhere in the world,” Claudia said with an eager grin. SFC Kareem Yates adds, “I truly believe she will succeed and go far in the military. She’s determined, and I look forward to reading about her in the future.”