When senior cadet Mitchell Braun graduates and commissions into the U.S. Army, he will do so as one of the top ranked Army cadets in the nation.

Braun, who will earn a degree in environmental science from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with minors in leadership and green engineering, is No. 10 on the Army’s National Order of Merit list of 6,000 graduating ROTC students. He is the highest-ranked cadet at Virginia Tech and its Army ROTC.

U.S. Army Cadet Command ranks cadets across the country based on academics, physical training scores, and service in leadership positions. The list determines preference given to cadets for their military career field and duty assignments.

Braun will join the Army on active duty as a second lieutenant  engineer officer and will attend Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

“I hope to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the many environmental firms associated with them around the country and world,” he said. “My goal is to study the environment and help find solutions to many of the environmental problems the Army and other organizations are facing. I hope to decrease our environmental impact and work to provide a better future for our soldiers and citizens.”

Braun’s father retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel after 22 years of service. His father’s stories about Army life and all the lessons it taught inspired him to also serve.

The Army “provides countless ways for its members to develop as leaders and teaches valuable lessons that can be applied throughout a person’s lifetime,” Braun said. “You also get to meet and work with great people all over the world and in many different environments. The opportunities and life experiences are endless.”

Written by Shay Barnhart