Above All

Above All

Caitlin Ascherl spent six and a half weeks in sunny San Antonio, Tex., this summer – but it wasn’t all about fun and sun. The first year biology major spent the time with 56 other like-minded women in basic military training for the Air Force. Ascherl was selected to be an element leader, along with three other women, each in charge of about 12 people. A dorm chief supervised the entire contingent, and after three days, that person was “fired” and Ascherl was promoted, taking on a huge responsibility. “If anyone did something wrong it was my fault. I learned to deal with diverse situations, with women from all across the nation as well as some women from overseas,” explains Ascherl, who supervised women between the ages of 17-34. “We started out different, and as individuals, but grew together as a team.”

Ascherl’s day began at 4:45 a.m. with physical training. During her time there she went through a gas chamber, learned to shoot an M16 rifle, and lived as if in a combat zone, all without the comforts of television, phones, or junk food. “The greatest feeling was when we graduated and got to see our families for the first time in six and a half weeks, when we were promoted from trainees to Airmen.”

Ascherl is engaged in life on Saint Mary’s campus as well, participating in the women’s liturgical choir. She’s also a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Notre Dame. She enjoys her biology classes and she plans to be a doctor in the Air Force. Ascherl says she feels that Saint Mary’s gives her the opportunity to participate and experience more than she would have had she gone to another school. “Saint Mary’s caters to the needs of the students. Each professor knows me and cares. And caring is the biggest part.”