20 March 2015
MIDN 2C Tyler Weiss
STATE COLLEGE, PA—The 20th Annual Notre Dame Naval Leadership Conference is an opportunity I am grateful I took. Being able to hear a weekend of renowned speakers, both officer and enlisted, benefited me in multiple aspects as a future leader in our Navy.
The Penn State Midshipmen arrived Thursday night in South Bend, Indiana. After checking in, we were able to interact with the other 170 Midshipmen from various schools: Penn State, Villanova, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, RPI, Rochester, and Purdue just to name a few. We were separated into groups where we continued meeting new people through a series of icebreakers like the egg drop, whisper down the lane, and blind drawing.
Over the next few days we were graciously able to hear many decorated leaders including the director of the NSA, Admiral Michael Rogers and Vice CNO Admiral Michelle Howard. In between speakers, we again broke into groups where we reflected on the speaker’s message, and what some of the takeaways we thought were most important. When it came to breakfast, lunch and dinner, certain midshipmen were chosen to dine with the speakers where they could further interact and pick their brain for more knowledge. I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Rear Admiral Scott Stearney, CO of Navy Warfare Development Command. The conference wrapped up with the keynote speaker at our dinner, Admiral Michelle Howard. I was not aware of who exactly I was listening to until I learned she was the woman who coordinated the rescue of Captain Phillips. Listening to her tell that story and all of the components that went into the solution was by far my favorite part of the conference.
This conference was the experience of a lifetime. Not many people will have the honor to listen to such renowned speakers like we did. The knowledge and leadership tips imparted on me throughout the conference are things I will keep with me as I continue to grow as a leader.