Renaissance Woman


Stefanie WolosekIf you saw Private First Class Stefanie Wolosek walking around campus, you would never guess she has a goal of becoming a career Army officer. The 5-foot, 5-inch blonde is not what you would call the most intimidating figure at UW-Stevens Point.
 
However, when you put her in a military uniform with a gun on her shoulder, you can easily spot her as the front man—err, woman—of the UW-Stevens Point  ROTC Color Guard, proudly leading the way for the flags during special occasions and athletics events.
 
Wolosek is a renaissance woman of sorts. Homeschooled for eight years, the Stevens Point native graduated a year early from Pacelli High School in 2011. Three months before graduation, Wolosek enlisted in the Army National Guard on a spur-of-the-moment decision.
 
“I saw a postcard for a free T-shirt and the next thing I knew, I was talking to a recruiter,” said Wolosek. Two weeks later, she enlisted. “It was something I had to do—it was a perfect fit.”
 
As a member of the National Guard, Wolosek attends drill activities in Merrill where her company completes community service projects such as cleaning up storm damage and grooming nature trails.
 
•Point of Pride•
UWSP cadets attend a national-level four-week Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, Wash., every summer. Of the nine UWSP cadets who attended LDAC in 2012, two earned highest possible ratings, three earned the prestigious RECONDO award, and all nine cadets passed the course and will be eligible to commission as a second lieutenant in U.S. Army.
When Wolosek started her freshman year at UWSP, it took her just one week before deciding to become involved in the ROTC program. She was unable to become an officially-contracted cadet, but did earn a three-year scholarship based on physical fitness and a board interview. Wolosek spent the entire school year volunteering for various activities to build her ROTC résumé.
 
Her first real test came at the Ranger Challenge, a physical event held at Fort McCoy where cadets face tests in firing and assembling M-16s, building a one-rope bridge, completing an obstacle course, and many other physically demanding events. 
 
“Some cadets underestimate me, and I like to prove them wrong,” said Wolosek who was the only female to participate on the UWSP ROTC team this year and the only female that participated on any nine-person team at the Ranger Challenge.
 
“Wolosek is an exceptionally enthusiastic member of the program,” said Maj. (Ret.) Robert Kehoe, assistant professor of military science. “She’s our youngest cadet, but one of our most physically fit.”
 
Wolosek, a sociology major, said joining the military was the best decision she’s ever made. “Through each event, I have learned so much about what it means to be a cadet, and most of all, what it means to be a leader in the Army.”
 
She may be small in stature, but she’s not afraid of much and hopes to be deployed in the future. “It’s a big part of the Army experience. It’s what I signed up for.”
 
Wolosek has interests outside of ROTC, including church mission trips to Peru, but it all comes back to her military training. “Nearly everything I have learned through ROTC I am able to apply to my civilian life, and strengthen myself as a person, both morally and physically.”