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Why I Serve: Midshipmen's Hard Work Made Academy Attractive

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2004 – "I wanted to be a part of that honor (and) tradition and a part of young people who wanted to serve their country, work together and cared for each other so much," said Midshipman First Class Maia Molina-Schaefer about her impression of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Midshipman First Class Maia Molina-Schaefer, far right, is the first woman in Naval Academy history to compete in and win the annual brigade boxing championship. She said the pride and honor students exhibited around the academy when she attended a rowing camp there as ahigh school student convinced her to apply to attend. Also pictured with Molina-Schaefer, from the left, are Cadet First Class Jessica C. Tomazic, U.S. Military Academy; Cadet First Class Cindy Nieves, U.S. Air Force Academy; and Cadet First Class Lily Zepeda, U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Photo by Rudi Williams

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"It astounded me that people my age, at such a young age, were working so hard to serve their country and doing it with such hard work," she noted.

Molina-Schaefer is the first woman in U.S. Naval Academy history to compete in and win the annual brigade boxing championship. She was one of four Hispanic women highlighted as an upcoming leader in the Hispanic community during a Washington symposium recently.

She said her trek to the academy, in Annapolis, Md., was inspired while she was in high school after being recruited for a rowing team. While attending rowing classes and walking around the academy's campus, she said, she was in awe of all the midshipmen, both men and women, walking with such pride and honor.

In her life after the academy, Molina-Schaefer hopes to become an intelligence officer and eventually a military attach with the Marine Corps ground forces. "I want to work in foreign embassies and not only represent my service but my country as well internationally," she said.

Molina-Schaefer said in high school she was convinced that she was destined to become a professional musician and entertainer. But that all changed after she became involved with the rowing team, acting as a coxswain, the person who steers the rowing shell and calls out the rhythm for the crew.

"A week at the Naval Academy rowing camp convinced me that the Naval Academy was my college choice," noted Molina-Schaefer. Today she is the public affairs and communications director of the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference, 6th Battalion adjutant, and a member of the Women's Glee Club and the Latin American Studies Club.

"To date, the Naval Academy has been my greatest achievement in life," she said.

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U.S. Naval Academy
Why I Serve

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