Print    Close This Window
FHS senior commits to service, leadership and college with NROTC scholarship
Over the years, service and leadership have been important to Owen Darnell. Now, the Fairview High School senior has earned a special opportunity to pursue both, along with a college degree, thanks to a four-year national scholarship.
Recently, Darnell was awarded a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship. The highly selective national scholarship offered by the United States Navy allows incoming college students to complete their bachelor’s degree while preparing to serve as a commissioned officer in the Navy or Marine Corps. Darnell chose to pursue serving in the Marine Corps.
“For me, not only is college important, but being able to pay for it is just as important,” Darnell explained. “I thought [the NROTC scholarship] was the best of both worlds. I get to go to college. I get to go to the military. I’ll have it all paid for. I thought it would be kind of crazy if I didn’t take up the opportunity.” 

The scholarship provides up to $180,000 for students to help cover room and board or tuition at an eligible NROTC college or university. Darnell chose the scholarship to help pay for his tuition at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, one of two Ohio schools offering an NROTC program.

“Because I have another merit scholarship to Miami, we’ve kind of been doing the math,” Darnell said. “It’s looking like the NROTC scholarship will cover about $56,000 toward tuition at Miami.” 

Darnell intends to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in cybersecurity. 

“Mechanical engineering is very math-oriented, and I’ve always enjoyed engineering,” Darnell said. “I felt like the mindset of mechanical engineering would go well with the military. The cybersecurity aspect came in recently after I took computer science this year. I just saw there was a pretty big rise in the number of people needed to do this, especially the military. They’re going to need people.”
Darnell will also take classes required for his ROTC training at Miami. 

“You have to take specific classes, like leadership classes and specific math classes,” Darnell said. “For your final evaluation for the Marine Corps, you go to OCS or Officer Candidate School. OCS is really there to see if you learned enough, and if you don’t, you don’t make the cut.”

Darnell’s passion for service and leadership started approximately ten years ago as a member of the Greater Cleveland Young Marines. The Young Marines provided opportunities for Darnell to develop leadership and communication skills and meet peers from across the country.  

During the summer of 2023, he was selected to attend the Young Marines National Leadership Academy—Advanced Leadership School. The program aims for individuals to build discipline, leadership, and teamwork skills. Darnell finished sixth out of 50 students in the national program.

“It’s a big deal,” Darnell said. “I don’t like to say things are a big deal, but it’s a big deal in the Young Marines community.”
Looking forward to his future, Darnell is excited to use his education, ROTC experience, and future military service to help achieve his goals.

“My long-term goal is to eventually work for NASA on rocket ship parts,” Darnell explained. “The computer science, mechanical engineering, and military kind of all culminate into this hopefully great resume that will set me into it. I hope I’ll finally be able to work for NASA like I’ve always wanted to.”