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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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May 23, 2024
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Meet Michalke, the first woman to lead the Corps

Photo by Shelby Knowles
Alyssa Michalke will officially take on the position as Corps Commander at the 2014 Final Review.
Photo by Shelby Knowles Alyssa Michalke will officially take on the position as Corps Commander at the 2014 Final Review.  

For Alyssa Michalke, the first female Corps commander in 139 years, this last week has been a whirlwind.
Michalke, an ocean engineering junior and current Corps sergeant major, said taking the role means helping to write a new chapter in A&M’s history.
“In the back of my mind I knew if I did this it would be almost the final chapter in the book,” Michalke said. “This is one of the final chapters in the book of women’s history here at A&M and in the Corps.”
Coincidentally aligning with the 40th academic year since women were integrated into the Corps, Michalke’s appointment came just days before this weekend’s anniversary celebration.
“When I met all these women in the fall, they asked ‘Hey are you going to apply for commander? You have got to apply, you are it, you are it,’” Michalke said.
When she came to A&M, she said joining the Corps was a tough decision because she wasn’t sure how she would like the military lifestyle.
“But I quickly adapted to it and I learned that it’s a challenge, but it’s one that is going to make me a lot stronger of a person, a lot better person as a leader and as an individual,” Michalke said. “It’s been a great experience so far and hopefully next year holds a lot of the same.
When she started at Texas A&M three years ago, she said she never expected she would become the commander, but said it has been an exciting blessing.
“Freshman year I really looked up to the [commanding officer] of my outfit, and I was like, ‘That’s what I want to be one day, that’s what I want to do, I want to lead the cadets, I want to be a first sergeant, I want to be a commanding officer,’” Michalke said.
Finding out her new position was nerve wracking and humbling, Michalke said. she was called into the office of Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez, Corps commandant, to sit down with him, his assistants and current Corps Commander David Trigg. At this point, Ramirez told Michalke he had some news for her.
“And my heart just stopped and I said ‘Oh no, he’s going to tell me bad news,’” Michalke said.
Michalke said her heart skipped a beat when she heard Ramirez say she would be the next Corps commander.
“And I tried to say something but I was just like — my jaw was dropped and I couldn’t get any words to come out,” Michalke said, smiling.
Michalke said her friends and mentors inspired her to become first the sergeant major and now the commander. She said she was originally nervous and unsure about applying for the two positions, but getting support from Trigg and Corps Chief of Staff Noah Anderson meant a lot to her. The two pushed her to apply for commander after a heart-to-heart conversation.
“I’ve just been so blessed here, and this wasn’t something I ever expected,” Michalke said.
She said her parents were also big influences in her life, and always pushed her to do well both academically and physically.
“My mom always pushed me to do well in school,” Michalke said. “She was valedictorian of her high school, national merit scholar. She had like a 3.9999 GPA at A&M. I think she had one B in her entire time at A&M.”
She said her dad, on the other hand, pushed her to be her best physically in basketball and at hunting and fishing, which are some of her favorite down-time activities.
“I’ve been playing basketball since I was four years old,” Michalke said. “I just the physicality of it, the intensity, in your face, and I can even be kind of a trash talker at times. I’m super competitive and anyone you meet, anyone that knows me will tell you I’m super competitive.”
Next year will hold several challenges for Michalke. Among the most visible will be the Corps dormitory transition into the Commons as the Quad undergoes a series of renovations.
“It’s going to be a whole new ball game next year, and that’s something I’m a little concerned about, but I’ll stay here all summer and really evaluate it with the commandant and his staff and hopefully we’ll be good to go for next year,” Michalke said. She said experimentation will be a part of figuring out what is best for the split.
She said she looks forward to serving as commander and for whatever awaits her after A&M as well.
“I’m looking at the offshore oil industry and either going into offshore platform design or subsea systems,” Michalke said. “Not really sure yet because I haven’t had my senior level classes yet, but I’m looking at an internship this summer with a subsea company just to see more of that side of that company, but I know I for sure want to go into offshore oil.”

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