Officer Candidate Merino to commission this May

By Alexa Low

QUMedia has followed senior Jess Merino through her application process for Officer Candidate School. You’ve read how she performed over the summer, and now she will commission this May.

She spent her 2019 summer in Quantico, Virginia so she could spend her future as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

“At the end of that summer, I earned the title of Marine and it was probably the proudest moment of my life and I don’t think anything else will top that,” Merino said.

Her platoon started with 63 women and ended with just 36.

“This is probably one of the biggest accomplishments to date in my life.”

She isn’t the first in her family whose career involves serving others.

Her grandfather was in the Navy, her father and brother are firefighters, and her other brother works for a classified government agency.

From an early age, being a member of the Marine Corps was Merino’s dream career.

However, an officer title comes with a great deal of leadership. Her basketball career has prepared her for this role.

“She’s very much a team player and very passionate about what she does and wants everyone to be their best,” Jeni Garber, women’s basketball coach, said. “She’s always taken an interest in leadership since her freshman year and has built on it all throughout her four years.”

During the commissioning ceremony, she will receive her second lieutenant insignia pin.

Commissioning from officer candidate school means Merino will receive officer status when she re-enters the Marines.

Post graduation, Merino will return to Quantico for six months of training which will determine where she will be stationed.

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