SRU cadets receive branch assignments and 11 will be commissioned at May 6 ceremony


Cadet taking the oath

Eleven cadets from Slippery Rock University’s Army ROTC program will be commissioned as officers at a private ceremony, May 6, at the Smith Student Center.

May 3, 2022

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Thirteen senior cadets from the U.S. Army ROTC program at Slippery Rock University received their branch assignments and they will soon be commissioned as officers with the rank of second lieutenant, including 11 who will participate in SRU's commissioning ceremony, May 6, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

"From our freshman year until now, this is what we've been working toward," said Nathan Marchand, a senior management major from Hermitage. "When we enter the program, we have these little goals that we try to reach every semester, but the end goal is to commission and become a second lieutenant. All the hard work for four years leads up to this point, and now we're getting to celebrate our achievements."

Marchand won't have much time to reflect on his time at SRU, as he, like many of the senior cadets opting for active duty, will next attend a Basic Officer Leader Course before being assigned to a unit. Marchand was selected for the Military Intelligence branch of the Army and he will report to Fort Huachuca in Arizona, May 31, where he will attend BOLC until late September, before a likely post assignment at Camp Zama in Japan.



"With military intelligence, you have top-secret clearances and there are a lot of opportunities, so after my four years (of service obligation), I could stay in the Army or I could go work for the government," Marchand said. "Going into military intelligence will open up as many doors as possible for me."

Victoria Stachelrodt, a senior dance major from Franklin, and Jacob Mikluscak, a senior safety management major from Uniontown, are the two senior cadets who will be commissioned later this summer once they've completed their requirements. Stachelrodt's branch assignment will be National Guard, Adjutant General Corps, and Mikluscak will be assigned to National Guard, Infantry.

Stachelrodt is one of the only dance majors at SRU in recent memory to also be cadet. Stachelrodt enlisted in the Army as medic before enrolling at SRU and joining the ROTC program two years ago.

"You grow a closer with people in ROTC than you do necessarily with people in your major because of what you go through together," Stachelrodt said. "I don't run around in the middle of the woods with my dance friends."

Stachelrodt comes from a military family. Her parents, Randall and Panetta, met while they were on active duty in the U.S. Navy. Her mother served four years and then became a physical therapist while her father joined the Army and served more than 35 years before retiring as a chief warrant officer three. Also, Stachelrodt's sister, Evette, is currently a specialist in the National Guard.



Stachelrodt plans to continue developing her dance background as a choreographer and teacher, but she ultimately wants to become a judge advocate general, which essentially is a lawyer in the Army. After commissioning, she will be serving her National Guard commitment of one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer, and she plans to study for the LSAT exam and enroll in law school.

There are three components to a commissioning ceremony: the cadets are sworn in as officers with an oath of enlistment, they receive their new insignia of rank as second lieutenants and then they accept their first salute from a noncommissioned officer.

"The commissioning ceremony is a culminating event for our cadets and we're honored to be able to send them off to their next stage in life," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Martin, professor of military science and head of SRU's ROTC program. "They are already leaders here at SRU and they're going to be great leaders as Army officers. We wish them well and we are grateful for their contributions to our program."

For the oath of enlistment, cadets are sworn in by a commissioned officer or warrant officer of their choosing, often family members who are enlisted. Marchand selected his uncle, Lt. Col. Ben Kavanagh, to read him his oath, while Stachelrodt will have her father administer her oath.

"My dad is so proud, so it will be a big deal for him," Stachelrodt said. "He's been very involved in my military career and my swearing in ceremony is going to be the last thing he does as an officer. It's going to be very emotional, and I'll probably end up crying."

For most cadets, they have family members pin on their bars, indicating their insignia of rank. Stachelrodt's immediate family will pin on her bars, while Marchand will have his parents, Richard and Erin, do the honors. Richard is an SRU professor of mathematics and statistics and department chair, and Marchand said he enjoyed being able to visit his father on campus.

"Not everybody has as close a relationship with their parents (as I do), and it's just going to be really cool that we can all share together one of the biggest accomplishments of my life up to this point," Marchand said.

Completing the commissioning ceremony will be the first salute, a tradition between a non-commissioned officer who has influenced the newly commissioned officer. The NCO is called to post and salutes the new officer, who returns the gesture and also hands him or her a silver dollar through a handshake of appreciation.

Marchand will be saluted by his grandfather, Tom Kavanagh, who was a specialist in the National Guard, while Stachelrodt's sister will offer the salute, but perhaps to Evette's chagrin because of a friendly sibling rivalry.

"I'm only having my little sister do it because she told me that she would never salute me as an officer," Stachelrodt said. "We've always had this competition between us, but it's all good and fun and there are no hard feelings, but I'm excited to have her do it."

The 11 cadets participating the May 6 ceremony have received their branch assignments. Cadets are assessed into one of 17 branches of the Army based on their preferences and where they rank on the Army Cadet Command's Order of Merit List, which consists of more than 5,000 senior ROTC cadets at colleges and universities across the country. 

The following are the cadets who will be commissioned May 6, with their branch assignments:

  • Donald Boley, a corporate security major from Carlisle, assigned to active duty, Engineer.
  • Maya French, a political science major from Portersville, assigned to active duty, Ordnance.
  • Andrew Gaudish, a criminal justice major from Slippery Rock, assigned to active duty, Infantry.
  • Nicole Hughes, an early childhood education major from Glassport, assigned to National Guard, Field Artillery.
  • Shane Johnson, a marketing major from Edinboro, assigned to National Guard, Quartermaster.
  • Marchand, assigned to active duty, Military Intelligence.
  • Brandon Martell, an interdisciplinary programs major from Sharon, assigned to active duty, Signal Corps.
  • Justin Matteo, a homeland security major from Drums, assigned to active duty, Aviation.
  • Nathan Morgan, a safety management major from New Columbia, assigned to active duty, Aviation.
  • Jared Titley, a homeland security major from Butler, assigned to National Guard, Signal Corps.
  • Jamie Wintruba, a homeland security major from West Mifflin, assigned to active duty, Ordnance.

The cadets will also be recognized for their commissioning during SRU's commencement ceremony, May 7. For more information about SRU's Army ROTC program,  visit the Military Science Department webpage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854  |