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Mary Parrinello: a student in uniform

Mary Parrinello is a junior in Millersville University's ROTC program. (Photo courtesy to Nina Plaksin.)

Simren Shah

Associate Features Editor

Millersville University’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) is a program that allows aspiring military personnel to train while earning their degree. Mary Parrinello, a junior in the program, recently signed a four-year contract for service after she completes college.

To join ROTC, students just need to register for the class. It is once a week and worth one credit. However, this changes as students advance through their years. During sophomore year, class is one hour, twice a week. Juniors and seniors take a traditional three-credit class.

In addition, physical training sessions occur three times a week, and there is also a weekly leadership lab. Joining ROTC does not guarantee a military contract, but if a student does well, they will usually be offered a contract around their junior year.

ROTC also includes field training. This weekend, ROTC students are travelling to the Fort Indiantown Gap base in Lebanon. “We’ll do land navigation, we’ll shoot on the range, and stuff like that. We’ll get some in-training experience,” said Parrinello. Between junior and senior year, ROTC students go to Advanced Camp in Fort Knox Kentucky for a month and a half.

“You go with people from all over the country. It’s a pretty big thing. There’s 11 different regiments. There’s thousands of people that go to it, because you have to do that training in order to commission,” said Parrinello.
Parrinello manages to be in the ROTC while also double majoring in Spanish and International Studies, working as a Resident Assistant and cheerleading. Parinello informed that in the ROTC program, academics and sports are prioritized.


“If you have a game, if you have practice, you would go to that over ROTC,” said Parinello.

Parrinello said that being involved in sports and other extracurriculars can help land desired jobs. “Doing those sports gives you more points. We advocate for it,” said Parrinello. Extracurricular activities help graduates be competitive against their peers to get into the branches that they want. However, physical fitness scores and grade point averages are the two biggest criteria.

Parrinello plans to be a lawyer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. She will be allowed an educational break to attend law school after graduating from Millersville.

Parrinello joined ROTC because “I’ve always wanted to be in the army. When I found ROTC and the opportunities that it gives you, it’s definitely worth it.”

Parrinello aspires to travel overseas for her career. “I like to help people and I think that’s one way I can do it whether it’s helping people from our country or not because the army is international,” said Parrinello.

During senior year, she will find out whether she will be given active duty or not.

Many ROTC members choose to join on scholarships in exchange for signing longer contracts, but Parrinello is not in the program on a scholarship.

Parrinello has not only committed to attending college, but she has also signed up to protect and defend the United States of America.

She is one of Millersville’s students in uniform.