The Elon sophomore will begin the program that includes extensive physical, tactical and leadership training, this summer en route to become an officer in the Marine Corps following graduation.
This summer, Allison Aramburu ’23 will begin the extensive process of becoming an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, becoming one of the few Elon students and perhaps the first female student ever selected for physically and mentally challenging program.
For Aramburu, an international and global studies major and a Periclean Scholar, her selection of the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School is the fulfillment of a dream that combines multiple passions in her life.
“I have always loved fitness, and I have always loved working out,” said Aramburu, who is from College Station, Texas. “It brings me so much pleasure. And I have always seen myself as a natural born leader.”
This summer, Aramburu will participate in a five-phase, 10-week training program at Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia. Among the training events will be combat conditioning, obstacle course, close order drilling, academic classes and discussions, a leadership reaction course, a fire team assault course, stamina course and endurance course, small unit leadership evaluation and daily platoon staff evaluation.
Aramburu said she is excited for elements such as the obstacle course, and for the opportunity to immerse herself in her training. She’s also looking forward to meeting other women in the program, many of whom she has already connected with through social media.
“It’s a small group of us, and we all try to stay friendly and help each other out,” Aramburu said. “They are from all across the country, but they are like me, with similar interests and goals.”
While many new Marines are following a family tradition of service in the branch, Aramburu will become the first Marine in her family. She first began the process to qualify and be selected for Officer Candidates School in January 2019, and was initially selected as an alternate. That did not deter her from continuing her grueling physical training, which included daily physical training.
“I have never worked so hard for anything,” Aramburu said.
In October, she learned she had been selected. “My jaw dropped, and I was kind of silent as I processed it,” Aramburu said.
She sent a video of herself reading her acceptance letter to her parents, who were initially in shock, but then surprise shifted to pride. “They are really proud,” she said.
Aramburu chose Elon for her education because of its international and global studies program, and also because it would mean a return to North Carolina, as she previously lived near Asheville. She knew that the program would assist her as she pursued a career with an international focus.
Not looking ahead at the start of her time in the Marine Corps, Aramburu is planning to serve in counterintelligence or as a foreign service office.
“It is so significant to me to have the opportunity to join such a small and elite group of women,” she said. “I feel like I am breaking a lot of glass ceilings.”