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A Career in the Military

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Clarkson’s tagline is “defy convention.” Mickala S. Henson ’07 (AE) has been doing just that throughout her life. As one of the few female Army ROTC cadets in college, she rose to graduate at the top cadet. Today, she is training to become one of the Army’s small number of female helicopter pilots. Mickala Henson: A Career in the Military

Henson has known since she was young that she wanted to fly helicopters. “When I was in fifth grade, the Vietnam Moving Wall came to our town. At the start of the opening ceremony, as a helicopter flew overhead, tears came to my father’s eyes. My dad was a Vietnam veteran and that was the first and last time I ever saw him cry. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a helicopter pilot someday.”

Henson graduated from Clarkson’s ROTC program as the “Distinguished Military Graduate” – the top of her class. She received the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement and was one of only four cadets nationally to receive the Cadet Medal of Honor award. She was also a member for two years of the Ranger Challenge, a competition among ROTC units from several schools. Henson was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in May 2007, upon graduating from Clarkson. A Waverly, N.Y. , native, she was stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala., for flight school.

In March 2008, Henson was among 19 individuals honored by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) during the 2008 Independent Sector Alumni Hall of Distinction Awards Ceremony and Legislative Reception. The Alumni Hall of Distinction was created in 2000 to recognize New York’s Independent Sector graduates who make contributions to society through their careers and community involvement. That year, CICU recognized courageous alumni who were actively serving in the U.S. military or were veterans.

Henson says that hard work has brought her the success, which got her where she is today. “I’ve always tried my hardest,” says Henson. “When you always do your best, no matter what the task is, you put yourself in the best position for whatever may come next. I always try to excel in all my undertakings. I also try to get involved as much as possible to expand my horizons. In college, I took a wide variety of courses and got involved in extracurricular activities. being knowledgeable and well-rounded will always be beneficial no matter where a career path may lead.”