Savanna Clendining ‘17 is setting her sights high.
While many of her fellow graduates are settling into their new careers or graduate studies, Clendining is taking to the skies—literally. With a parachute strapped to her back, a strong will, and an insatiable appetite for adventure, Clendining will be soaring thousands of feet in the air and descending into her new position in the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, U.S.A.
When asked if fear will tug on her like the ropes of her parachute, she responded with bold honesty:
“I’m afraid, but I just ignore the fear and keep going anyways.”
Clendining’s adventure began before she joined the Le Moyne family. Although an excellent student at Odyssey Academy in Rochester, NY, her desire for more pushed her to take a daring plunge and enlist with the National Guard at age 17.
After undergoing boot camp, she learned broadcast journalism at Advanced Individual Training at Fort George G. Meade, MD. Creating news packages and learning radio production as part of her enlistment, Clendining enrolled at Le Moyne to continue her studies as a communications major—a natural fit.
While remaining a National Guard servicemember, Clendining realized—once again—that she wanted to do something beyond herself. She joined Le Moyne’s partnership with Syracuse University and became an Army ROTC cadet in the spring of her sophomore year.
Despite working part-time and being a full-time student, National Guard servicemember, and ROTC cadet, Clendining managed to pack in a full undergraduate experience. She played on the rugby team, edited the Le Moyne Makes Movies production, Luddite, and participated in events hosted by the Student Veterans Association. As an ROTC cadet, she participated in Military Science and Leadership classes and completed labs with fellow cadets—starting missions, doing drills, and learning tactical movements.
She also traveled to Djibouti to participate in the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) Program, training in tandem with the Djiboutian military. Being her first trip overseas, her time in Djibouti instilled in Clendining a desire not only to see the rest of the world, but also to find a way to have a meaningful impact on the people she encounters, bringing what she has learned in the classroom into the field. After returning to the United States, Clendining changed her Army assignment preference from broadcast journalism to medical services, hoping to reach people in a more personal and immediate way.
After graduating summa cum laude this spring, Clendining is ready to jump into her next step in her career as a military officer. This summer she will train in medical services, and then fly to Italy after Christmas to join the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, an airborne unit based in Vicenza, Italy, after successfully graduating from the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA.
Thereafter, Clendining says she plans to pursue opportunities that, while they may require a lot of courage, are truly fulfilling.
“When I think about other paths, what I think about is this: Is what I’m doing helping the world? I’m trying to find the path that will make it so that happens. I don’t know what I’ll find, but it’s hopefully something that will answer that calling.”
With the Sky as the Limit, Savanna Clendining ‘17 Soars to Greater Heights
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