Shadowing the National Defense University President

Shadowing the National Defense University President

After a long-awaited couple of weeks, the day finally came around where I was scheduled to shadow the President of the National Defense University, Major General Gregg Martin. I received an estimated schedule of his activities just a day prior and his day looked absolutely packed. I woke up excited, but to be perfectly honest, I did not know what to expect. As I strolled into the office, my first impressions were that his staff was incredibly friendly and helpful but their calm demeanor did not hide the fact that my day shadowing Major General Martin started as soon as I walked through the office doors. I was kept on my toes with all the activities beginning to roll in. Major General Martin’s entourage moved from a huge National Defense University symposium to one small meeting after another, until we eventually covered all the halls in NDU. I attempted to keep an accurate track of time but I was too busy trying to soak it all in. The day certainly did not disappoint.


I imagined myself to be a literal ‘shadow’ to the President of NDU, a quiet, unknown observer in the background. Major General Martin, however, had other plans. He introduced me to everyone he met with and asked me questions, explained the ‘why’ behind his activities, and guided me throughout his day. He was extremely helpful and engaging and, throughout his meetings, I found something to be increasingly evident: he is very passionate about his job and completely committed to education. I admired the dedication he put into every event scheduled during his day, fully invested in every activity. I aspire to have his passion for my career endeavors and to love every single day of work as he does.


Looking back, I was unsure of the purpose of this ‘Shadow the President’ program. Major General Martin is, after all, such a busy man and I imagine having him (and his whole office for that matter) interact with an intern for an entire day can be quite an inconvenience. As the day drew to a close, however, I realized that this program was an incredible learning experience. I am, first and foremost, an intern at CHDS, but I am ultimately part of this amazing environment at NDU and I got the full experience of it during this jam-packed day. It is also an experience in leadership and a fantastic motivator for my future plans. This seemingly unfit pairing of intern and president eventually made sense because it greatly enhanced my willingness to strive to be better and to achieve great things with my professional career. Sure, I may be an intern now, but I am gaining knowledge and experience I could not get any other way or at any other place. All of these fantastic opportunities at my internship site allow me to expand my knowledge and figure out my career path after graduation. Some days seem tough as an intern, but others are incredibly rewarding; this was definitely the latter.


Pictures of this day to come soon!

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