Regan Steen chosen to head Norwich University regiment

Regan Steen is the new Cadet Colonel for the 2014-2015 school year. She will head the Norwich University Corps of Cadets.

Regan Steen is the new Cadet Colonel for the 2014-2015 school year. She will head the Norwich University Corps of Cadets.

Home schooled until high school and raised on the outskirts of Detroit, Regan Steen would have never guessed three years ago she would be in charge of the entire regiment of cadets at the oldest private senior military college in the country.

But during the course of three years, Steen, a contracted Army ROTC four-year scholarship recipient, has earned various awards, accomplishments, certifications, and observations that have left her with a vision for the future of the corps.

Now she will be the top corps leader: The regiment is commanded by a single individual that has control over the policies and the disciplinary system throughout the entire corps.

With a prestigious background blended with the determination and steadfastness of her work ethic, the corps should find itself in good hands. She has various ideas that she is intending to implement next fall. These ideas will improve upon the previous successful ideas, and work to regulate the negative aspects of the corps, she said.

“I’ve been a CAM (Corps Academic Mentor), I was a Corporal in headquarters, obviously I was a rook, and now I’ve been a Command Sergeant Major in a rook battalion,” said Steen, 20, a bio-chemistry major from Eastpointe, Mich. “I’ve been in a lot of different places in the corps, so I’ve gotten to see it from a lot of different angles.”

The ability to balance school, ROTC, and corps obligations can be a rigorous task for any individual. Steen has not only been able to balance the bare minimum of obligations, but has a laundry list of titles and accomplishments that are a testament to her unfaltering determination.

Maintaining a 3.97 GPA, Steen has been a perennial Deans List honoree, won a University Scholar Award, and the DeMovick Family Scholarship. She was a panelist at the 2013 Norwich University Undergraduate Research Symposium, and is also the current chair of Junior Honor Committee, a member of the Norwich University Honors Program, Junior Ring Committee, and the American Chemical Society.

Combating the multiple issues the corps faces is going to be a new challenge that Steen is eager to tackle. One consistent issue is that upper-class cadets sometimes fail to hold up the standards. Examples include not properly shaving, skipping formations, not wearing proper unit patches, or being in the wrong uniform altogether.

There is an infraction report, which was implemented earlier this year in which names, rank, unit and the discrepancy listed are sent out to all of the battalions to handle the disciplinary issues accordingly.

Observing that most of the names listed are repeat offenders, Steen is trying to make a plan so that repeat offenders must sit down with their immediate leaders and discuss why they are constantly on the list. Determined to make the corps run better, she wants harsher punishments, and not just DAFs (Disciplinary Action Forms).

“I think a lot of people look at upperclassmen like ‘leave them alone’ but there’s those few people who continually miss formation, and those who don’t shave. A very small number of cadets cause problems for the entire corps. We have open ranks because of those few. There’s a very small portion of those upperclassmen that choose not to shave or choose not to wear the patches on their uniform and stuff, so it forces everyone else in the corps to have issues. So if we can identify who those people are and take care of them early on, everyone else in the corps should have an easier time,” Steen said.

Steen hopes to change the way upperclassmen are overlooked due to other cadets in various leadership positions not correcting the issue when it is seen.

“There are people who are walking around and obviously someone sees them at formation and they haven’t shaven or in the wrong uniform and no one says something, or people walking around with their hands in their pockets and no one says anything. It’s just a lot of people not wanting to be ‘the one’ to say something. It’s not an easy problem to fix, but it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Steen said. “We all chose to be in the corps. It’s pretty simple stuff, and people are just too lazy to say anything, which is frustrating.”

Upper-class cadets generally get overlooked for training because the freshmen recruits get most of the training attention. In order to prevent this from happening next year, a possible plan would be to use times such as Tuesday afternoon training and Friday afternoon training to schedule upperclass training events.

Possible venues for training include Paine Mountain, the paintball course on Paine, and other campus area that cadets will actually want to show up to. Steen is also looking to incorporate community service into the regimen of being a part of the corps.

Policy letters have always been a way of creating a more uniformed corps, making it easier to discipline cadets who pull the “I didn’t know” card. These policies can be made by battalion commanders or the regimental commander, but must be approved by the regimental commander.

“I want to fix things that will make the corps better for everyone, and I’m going to do it in a fair way. A lot of people have the perception that if you’re at the top, you get special treatment and stuff. I’m going to make sure it’s fair for everyone so we’re making the entire corps better and not just penalizing one part of the corps and not the other,” Steen said. “I’ll be fair.”

Steen plans to change the idea of the commanders just getting a say in the policy letters. However, she recognizes that policy letters sometimes have different consequences than originally projected because there is no input from the lower levels.

“With whatever policy I put out, I want to have justification behind it, and also before I put out a policy understand how it will affect people and what policies people want. Obviously there are going to be some policies people don’t want,” Steen said.

“But this year I want to put together groups of people to address issues we’ve had and bring in leaders from this year and next year and even pull in upperclassmen privates, and talk about from the perspective from someone in a line company how to resolve that issue from leaders so it’s not just from someone who wouldn’t be affected by the policy as much as deciding the policy. Actually have a good understanding of it.”

Some programs implemented this year, like remedial PT, will be kept but improved. There has also been a visual improvement the past three years in accountability and professionalism throughout the corps, she said.

“I like when there’s something that needs to be done. The accomplishment of getting something done and getting it done right is motivation to me,” Steen said. “When I know I could’ve done something better and I don’t do it, it disappoints me.”

Next year Steen will have lots to do – and is determined to complete all of her initiatives.

Comments

  1. Sr Col (BG) Kit Wongskhaluang, Royal Thai Army, NU'84 says:

    God bless you, Ms Steen. I was on the hill for my 25th in the year 2009 and will be there for my 30th in this coming September. I have to admit that I have seen a lot of good changes over the past 25 years since I left in May 1984. There are more organized system for the Freshmen, but seen some points that can be improved for the whole Corps of Cadets. Actually, I wrote what I saw to be improved to a few folks on the Hill ( Administrators and Cadets Leaders) last year. I’ve seen some changes, but totally agreed with you on the standardization of the whole Corps. I can share the items with you if you like by contacting me on the email shown. I will be back on the Hill during our Homecoming Weekend and will try (very hard ) to have more than 2 weeks vacation for I can be there for the Patents Weekend for my 2 kids too. But it will be very small chance. My wife would spend more time in Northfield more than me. Oh, by the way, my son just got elected to be in the Honor Committee. He is a Sophomore. And my daughter is a Freshman. They are both in the Corps and selected to follow my Maroon and Gold Line of Honor. My daughter is also the first native Thai female ever attend the US Military Colleges. Yes there are many Thai- American female, but she is our first native none speaking English ..LOL ( She speaks like a bird now) . Looks forward to meeting you and be back on the Hill again

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