By George Mauzy
Army ROTC cadet Connie Theobald has been awarded the Women in Defense Horizons Foundation scholarship, a $2,000 award that goes to just five students nationwide. The honor makes her Ohio University's first nationally competitive award winner this year.
The scholarship, first given in 1990, recognizes women with outstanding academic and professional credentials who are pursuing careers in U.S. national security and defense and demonstrate financial need.
Theobald, a senior linguistics major from Ukiah, Calif., has a 3.98 GPA. She speaks Arabic and is studying Mandarin Chinese to prepare her for a career as a military intelligence officer.
Theobald said she will use the scholarship money to pay for necessities, such as rent, gas and textbooks.
"Being able to pay for college and our household needs is a huge factor, so I was both proud and relieved to get this award because it will make life easier for us," said Theobald, whose husband, Jeremy, is a senior political science major. They have a 3-year-old son, Jacob.
Ann Brown, director of Ohio University's Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, said she thought of Theobald the moment she learned of the award.
"Connie was uniquely positioned for this award because of her background with languages and the Army," Brown said. "I was pleased when she received it because she is a hard-working person who earned it with her persistence, strength and great determination."
An ROTC cadet for a little more than a year, Theobald is one of the Bobcat Battalion's most accomplished members.
She recently received "distinguished military graduate" status, which is reserved for senior cadets who rank in the top 20 percent on the Army's National Order of Merit list. The list ranks each of the nation's more than 4,000 senior cadets according to their academic excellence, Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) scores and extracurricular activities.
"Connie is a great addition to our program, although she came to us later in her college career," said Army ROTC Commander Bill Hauschild. "She is an incredible student who has made a major impact from the start."
Theobald said her recent accomplishments are a credit to Ohio University's ROTC program, which emphasizes excellence in physical and military training and academics. This year, the ROTC program became the only one of the nation's 272 to exceed Army cadet command averages in all recorded LDAC training events for eight consecutive years.
"They train us really hard, but the program is so good," she said. "Our military science instructors really care about us and are setting us up for future success."
Theobald keeps a much different schedule than the average undergraduate student.
Aside from her roles as a student, mother and wife, she serves as the Bobcat Battalion's cadet academic officer. Her duties include managing a study table program for the cadets, finding tutors for those who need academic assistance and overseeing the ROTC mentoring program.
After graduation, Theobald will continue her Army career as a military intelligence officer.
"Sometimes I don't know how I do it. It would be overwhelming if I thought about it," she said. "However, I can see the end of the journey now."
Last academic year, Ohio University students won a record 75 nationally competitive awards.