I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago with my parents and my older sister. Upon graduation, I will be the first member of my immediate family in the military. My sister graduated from Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, about three hours from our home. My mom works part time and my dad works for Alcatel-Lucent. I came from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois. There, I swam and played soccer, and I was the president of the school’s student-run a cappella club.
When I was younger, I wanted to serve in the military. Men and women have died so that I may live the life I do, so I wanted to give a portion of my life so that children in our country may continue to live however they wish to live. However, I did not fully agree with all the missions of the military services I knew about, so I knew I would never join the Army, Navy, or Air Force. I gave up on the idea until the beginning of my junior year when a good friend mentioned the Coast Guard Academy. This was the perfect solution for me; I could serve my country and be a part of a service that was dedicated to protecting and saving lives. Even at that point, it wasn’t an easy decision to join the military, but I made the decision to accept my appointment and every day I am honored to be here.
Even though I grew up in the Midwest, I’ve always loved marine life and had a passion for everything that has anything to do with the ocean. I enjoy learning about biology, and I am one of those crazy people who get excited for dissection day. If you have any questions about me or the Academy, feel free to email me anytime at Kendra.H.Smith@uscga.edu.