ROTC cadet Sara Derr in uniform

Have you ever worked out with 100 other people? Freshman Sara Derr does twice a week. “Going for runs with that many people, everyone’s cheering you on,” says the ROTC cadet.

Training to serve in the U.S. Air Force, she’s carrying on a family legacy: her mother served in the Air Force for seven years, her father in the Navy for five. As a member of the Arnold Air Society, a professional honorary service organization, she volunteers at Seattle Children’s Hospital and serves food at Pike Place community dinners. Over Christmas, they held a special service to lay wreaths on the veteran’s graves.

With three academic scholarships, Derr is studying chemistry, biology, and studio media. Her creative outlet is art: photographing weddings, portraits, or snapping photos for SPU’s student newspaper, The Falcon. And those 100 other cadets she trains with? They’ve become like family. For Derr, joining the Air Force is her way of giving back. “It’s just being ready and available for when my country needs me.”

Sara Derr posing in her ROTC cadet uniform

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