Class of 2020 member Mary Cerbone

June 19th, 2020 | In Focus, News

PV: What does service and leadership mean to you as you start your career as an Army officer?
Mary Cerbone: “Service and leadership mean a dedication to the values of the United States. To me, it means striving to be a better person every day and knowing that I owe it to my subordinates, my peers and this country, to be the best possible version of myself.”

PV: Any one person you’d like to mention who helped your success/guided you the most at West Point?
MC: “Dr. Robert Person, my academic mentor and first SOSH instructor, has been the biggest motivating presence during my cadet career.
“He believed that I could accomplish more than I thought possible and encouraged me to apply for broadening experiences and internships. He supported my decision to write a thesis and pursue a graduate degree scholarship, both of which are my most notable achievements as a cadet.
“Dr. Person represents the best of West Point’s faculty, which prides itself on pushing cadets to reach their limits and follow their dreams.”

PV: You earned the Fulbright Taiwan scholarship … how excited were you to achieve that scholarship and what do you hope to achieve with it?
MC: “Receiving the opportunity to study for two years in Taiwan is beyond belief, and I am extremely excited to continue pursuing my academic interests in China’s political economy in an immersive environment.
“Taiwan is such an exceptional place to study the politics of China because of their unique place in the world, and I look forward to continuing my studies through the Fulbright program.
“I hope to further develop my Chinese language skills during my time abroad and gain a perspective into Asian society and politics that will enhance my role as an intelligence officer in the Army. ”

PV: You branched military intelligence … why did you choose to serve in MI?
MC: “I find the mission of the intelligence community very noble and appealing. I first became interested in the branch because of the many instructors from the MI branch that I looked up to, and after interning at the Defense Intelligence Agency during one of my cadet summers, I knew that I wanted to be an intelligence officer.
“The dedication of the people I worked with at the DIA to their role in supporting the U.S. Military’s mission was very inspiring and solidified my choice to pursue MI as my branch.”

PV: When your class got back, you had classes on educating future platoon leaders on the COVID-19 environment … thoughts about having to be even more flexible in close quarters in a unit environment due to COVID-19?
MC: “As officers, we will need to lead through many different challenges, and training on the COVID-19 environment can only add to our preparedness. The challenges brought by COVID-19 only highlight the necessity for the Army to maintain flexibility and adapt to rapid and unexpected changes.
“As future leaders, we will need to be able to maintain unit readiness even in situations of great uncertainty and do the best we can with the resources given.”