Many Cornell students hoping to move on to law school boast varied and interesting resumes for their applications. But Isaac Todd ’11 will have an unusual and unique credential on his: he is ranked No. 7 out of more than 5,000 Army ROTC cadets nationwide, the Army’s public affairs office announced Nov. 16.
Cadets are ranked on the “Order of Merit List” each year based on a weighted system that considers each cadet’s grade point average, physical fitness level and performance at the Leadership Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The higher cadets are ranked on the list, the more likely they are to receive their choice specialty within the Army.
“They allowed him to pick and choose what career field he wanted in the Army,” Lt. Col. Steven Alexander, professor of military science, said of the impact of Todd’s ranking.
A higher-ranked cadet also has a better chance of being selected for a limited number of active duty officer positions.
While many cadets choose positions in which they will see combat, Todd has other plans. In order to fulfill his post-ROTC service, Todd said he hopes to join the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the legal branch of the U.S. armed forces. Todd said that it is the diversity of the casework that attracts him to JAG.
“Not only is there military-specific law that you’d have to work with, but also, any time that a soldier is in trouble with the law it would be a JAG lawyer representing them,” Todd said. “You get into a variety of different types of law, which is interesting.”
Todd also holds several other leadership positions on campus.
He serves as the vice president of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, is a residential advisor on West Campus and is the executive chairman of the University Peer Review Board. He also participates in the Cornell Forensics Society, the social fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, the University Hearing and Review Board and Model United Nations.
“Isaac’s worked incredibly hard to build this resume, this body of work,” Alexander said.
According to Alexander, Todd’s extensive participation in extracurricular activities at Cornell “helped round him out as a person.”
Alexander added that the chance to participate in a wide range of activities on campus is one reason students may choose Cornell over similar ROTC programs at military colleges like West Point or Annapolis.
“[Students] choose to do ROTC here at Cornell for a reason, and that’s because of all the great opportunities that Cornell affords them,” he said.
Students might choose Cornell’s ROTC over another school’s, but the program’s national focus brings students out of their individual universities to a common ground.
Each summer, cadets who are rising seniors come together at the Leadership Development and Assessment Course, held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. They participate in fitness and written tests and a variety of team- and platoon-based exercises over a period of 32 days, according to the Army ROTC website.
This summer, Todd ranked second in leadership out of his regiment at LDAC.
“[LDAC] kind of progresses from an individual level to a team-based thing,” Todd said.
That teamwork starts early at Barton Hall, when ROTC juniors begin thinking about the following summer’s activities. Todd attributed much of his success at the course to Cornell’s tactic of matching the senior and junior ROTC classes so that the juniors learn from the seniors’ experiences.
“Working with other cadets has been a huge benefit,” Todd said. He also described the “rewarding” aspect of teaching younger cadets about what they should expect from LDAC.
Alexander attributed Todd’s achievements to his leadership-ready personality.
“Isaac’s got a unique way of bringing diverse groups of individuals together and focusing them on a common goal,” Alexander said.
Original Author: Maggie Henry