The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina
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Sarah Katchen

Corps Grad ’14

Sarah KatchenI am from Galesburg, Illinois (a small place in central Illinois), and I graduated with a bachelor’s in biology. While at The Citadel, I was a member of the Honor College and November Company, and I had the privilege of playing soccer as well. I am currently a first-year medical student at the Medical University of South Carolina as well as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. My goal is to become a family practice physician and a flight surgeon.

What about your time at The Citadel had the most positive impact on your career or life?
This is a tough question, as there were really a lot of things that had a positive impact on my life during my time at The Citadel. I think, like most life experiences, that one can either get the most from a situation or make it a terrible experience based on how they look at it. I was blessed with great mentors and a tough, but fair squad sergeant that really helped me through The Citadel.

An experience that really sticks out in my mind happened my senior year. I earned/received the rank of Regimental Religious Officer, which I had mixed feelings about. I did not like the thought of moving to second battalion or being on regimental staff. Yet, the entire process of rank boards (especially regimental rank board) and becoming part of a staff that oversees the entire Corps of Cadets was an eye-opening experience. I learned how to present myself to senior officers, take care of my own staff, communicate with many people, and improvise when things go wrong — I could really keep going about my experience on regimental staff. I had the privilege to have Chaplain Joel Harris as my boss and he is/was a great mentor. He walked me through leading a group of religious officers. Being on staff gave me a real head start when I got out into the real world. The experience showed me that I could be a competent leader and that I had certain leadership qualities that I needed to improve upon.

How do you think your experience at The Citadel got you to where you are now?
The Citadel contributed to my goal of being a doctor by helping to build my confidence. I was taught how to march a platoon, to clean a rifle, and many other activities that instilled confidence in my abilities. These are all activities that I would not have experienced at a regular college. The Citadel challenged me academically (especially organic chemistry), physically and mentally. The school put a lot on my plate, and I had to find a way to manage. The school provided a high-stress environment, yet allowed me to make mistakes safely. This is one of the most valuable assets that The Citadel offers.

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