Silicon Valley Chapter
Silicon Valley, California
Military Officers Association of America
Chair: Paul Barrish, USN (Ret)
Phone: (408) 356-7531
SVC MOAA SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS FOR 2016
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT CADET BUGAJ
Santa Clara University Army ROTC Bronco Battalion Cadet Mitchel Bugaj was presented a $1,500 scholarship May 19th at the Biltmore Hotel chapter luncheon to honor his achievements and potential as a commissioned officer and highly competent troop leader.
“For more than a few generations, nobody in my family has served in the military,” Cadet Bugaj wrote to scholarship committee members. “My grandfather was one of the higher up executives at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and he said on several occasions that, especially being surrounded by veterans at work, he wished that he had served. Conversations like this piqued my curiosity, but after giving this decision the attention it deserved, the lifestyle and ethos just seemed to fit.”
Beginning with his freshman year, he selected the B.S. Physics study major with minors in Mathematics and Computer Science and at the same time entered the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). He explained that, “Mechanical engineering students typically become mechanical engineers and the same applies really for aerospace, civil, electrical, materials, and computer engineers. People with a Bachelor Degree in physics tend to end up in all of these places. I looked forward to the flexibility that a physics degree could afford me both in graduate studies or a career in industry.”
Mitchel has been serving as a squad leader Cadet Squad Leader and is responsible for providing an example to freshmen and sophomore cadets which they can follow; providing constant direct level leadership to underclassmen cadets; tracking squad accountability; and looking out for the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of those in his squad.
Following graduation he would like to serve on active duty as a pilot and then after between 4 and 12 years move to the Army Reserve while attending graduate schooling for physics, specifically to obtain a MS degree in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Once commissioned he would like to deploy at least once, work in and contribute to one of the larger scientific efforts of the decade following his military commitment, and specifically perhaps designing and building something that would eventually go into space.
Cadet Bugaj has been more than busy on campus, registered for 18 units which include the courses Advanced Optics Lab, Quantum Mechanics II, Data Structures, plus Military Science class and lab. He has completed a total of 182 units and with a 3.438 GPA, roughly a B+.
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT CADET ARIAS
San Jose State University Air Force ROTC Detachment 045 Cadet Brandon Arias was presented a $1,500 scholarship May 19th during the chapter’s luncheon meeting in Santa Clara, honoring a young man with promise to persevere, succeed, and serve the nation on active duty.
“My plans after graduation are to enter the US Air Force, earn a pilot slot, and go off to undergraduate pilot training,” he wrote in an application questionnaire. “I plan on making a successful career out of the Air Force, becoming a fighter pilot, which gives me a lot of different career opportunities. I hope to eventually serve as a test pilot where I can use both piloting and engineering skills to help shape the future of our Air Force.”
During the spring term on campus, Cadet Arias served as a Flight Commander, with duties to direct and oversee the training of a flight of 1st year cadets. “It is my job to make sure that these cadets learn the basics of military protocol and foster the development of their leadership and teamwork skills by assigning tasks and leadership positions,” he noted. He was required to evaluate cadet performance throughout the training period.
“I chose Aerospace Engineering as my study major because I have always had an interest in aircraft,” he explained. “As a kid I always wondered what makes an airplane fly. Now I get to study just that. I also enjoy learning how to apply math and scientific knowledge in order to solve problems.”
The spring academic course load was challenging, taking 15 units. His classes included Aerostructures (AE114), Circuit Analysis (EE98), Intro to Materials (MATE25), and Engineering Reports (ENGR 100W). He has completed 82 units to date with an impressive 3.681 grade point average (GPA), which is about a B+.
“My hometown is Castro Valley, California, where I have lived for most of my life.” Brandon disclosed with obvious excitement. “My father was my biggest influence. He always pushed me to work hard and pursue my dreams. He also got me interested in working with my hands and solving problems. My father was also proud to be an American and instilled that same pride into me. The pride that I have for my country and for those who have fought and given so much is what makes me want to serve.”