Though they waited decades to enlist, Auburn women help sustain a long and storied tradition of military service at home and around the world through a wide range of professions and duties. Around the globe, no matter where they are, they all still call Auburn home.
MIKAYLA STEWART ’15
From Thailand to Korea and the Philippines, U.S. Army platoon leader Mikayla Stewart ‘15 defends her country abroad through medical assistance to those in need.
“We treat real soldiers and will treat any casualties that may come,” Stewart says. “[It could be] something as simple as stitching a finger, to someone that needs to be medevac’d for surgery. I love the medical field and everything that our organization does, and I want to expand that knowledge by becoming a pilot. It will challenge me to learn something out of the ordinary that is not strictly medical.
“Under the Auburn ROTC program, you meet a lot of people. Even to this day, I still meet people wherever I’m stationed at and know whether they are from Auburn. The small community goes a long way when you go across the country or outside the country.”
MORGAN DIAL ’18
“I’d never thought I’d join,” says U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Morgan Dial. “I didn’t join because I was a great patriot; I joined because of the great opportunity. I became a big patriot after being on the job, which is the opposite for most people.”
Until her honorable discharge after four active years and four years in reserve, Dial was a mass communication specialist who covered public affairs, journalism and graphic design rolled into one department and at times, position. Dial took photos of the field medics within the Navy and participated in the Continuing Promise humanitarian mission throughout 10 different South American countries. She and her team spent 10 days in each, providing medical assistance in the form of medical glasses, medicines and minor surgeries. The mission also built playgrounds and repaired hospitals.
Now married and living in Auburn, Dial is pursuing a degree in public relations.
Overseeing more than 4,300 soldiers and completing three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan has been a walk of faith for Lt. Col Roshun Steele, professor of military science at Auburn University.
“I started JROTC in high school, [but] to be honest I didn’t want to enlist but just go to college and just enjoy the college experience,” says Steele. “Once I got into ROTC I started liking it, saying, ‘Hey, this ain’t bad.’ I joined and, fortunately, everything has been going well.”
Steele remains grateful for the opportunities the military offered her, even the ones she never expected.
“Someone saw something in me,” Steele says. “Sometimes you don’t see things in yourself and you’re placed in those positions and people expect you to excel. I’ve always been that type of person to let my work speak for me. I tell my cadets, ‘Let your work speak for you. People will respect you as long as you know your job and your craft.’”
MARY CARAZA ’08
Mary Caraza ’08, the first woman to graduate from nursing school while in ROTC, served active duty in the U.S. Army for four years, obtaining the rank of captain before her end of service.
Compared to civilian nurses, military nurses work shifts at Army hospitals in specific areas. Caraza worked in the ER for a time at Ft. Gordon, Ga.
“The biggest difference was that we don’t get deployed. Civilian nurses come in, work their shift and go home. I come in, work my shift and come back later.” Caraza worked a mass casualty event when a couple hundred soldiers were injured from an electrical storm that blew through camp. Through it all, Caraza’s mental fortitude kept her going.
“No matter what kind of craziness goes on in the ER, I know that I am trained for this. I know I can do it, even if it’s hard, and I’m not going to stop.”