In this year’s graduating class of ROTC cadets across the country, Charlotte Levine ’17 ranks in the top 10.
“Charlotte has a tremendous intellect but her most impressive trait is definitely her work ethic,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Kazukietas, military science instructor for Cornell ROTC. “She has maintained such a high level of motivation and discipline in not only her academic studies, but has also managed to capture leadership lessons and use them to develop and lead younger generations of cadets.”
Levine has risen in the ranks at Cornell ROTC and will serve as cadet battalion commander next semester, when she will lead training exercises and be responsible for the 80 cadets in Cornell’s program.
A history and government major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Levine said she came to Cornell thinking she would earn an undergrad degree then head straight to law school focusing on environmental law.
But a freshman-year class, “Conversations about Inequality,” and a visit to the Cornell ROTC office, changed her path. Along with other benefits, Levine said ROTC provides the camaraderie and competition she missed from participating in high school sports and the structure to help her focus her efforts.
The top 10 honor is based on criteria including grade point average, strong performance on the Army Physical Fitness Test, college athletic participation and performance during college ROTC training and Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, according to an ROTC press release.
Along with Advanced Camp, Levine also spent a summer in Turkey in a one-month ROTC immersion program, which included a week at the Turkish equivalent of West Point, where she went through its commando training program.
On campus, she’s involved in Cornell Outdoor Education, teaching hiking and backcountry skills, and she’s been a guide for the Outdoor Odyssey program for freshmen during Orientation. She’s also the president of Von Cramm Co-op.
She’s enjoyed taking “random classes all over the map,” she said, including Alien Empire, an introduction to entomology class, Latin and various government classes from foreign policy to inequality.
The top 10 honor allows Levine to choose the U.S. Army branch in which she will serve after graduation; she’s chosen armor, a branch just recently opened to women.
“This will be just the second class of ROTC cadets for which females have access to these armor and infantry positions,” she said. “I’m really up to that challenge.”
Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.