Jennifer Malherek, EMBA ’18, Navy
Duties: Surface Warfare Officer
Military Duration: U.S. Navy, 2010 – Present
Special Qualifications: Nuclear Engineering
Inspiration to join the military:
I come from a long tradition of military service: my great grandparents, grandparents, mom, dad and brother all served. I never really wanted to join the military until 9/11 happened. I was in eighth grade and we were living outside Washington, D.C., so I knew a lot of people that were affected by that attack. Then the London attack happened in 2005 while one of my best friends was flying over the city. I felt like I was being called to do something bigger than myself.I come from a long tradition of military service: my great grandparents, grandparents, mom, dad and brother.
Decision to pursue an ND degree:
I was considering transitioning out of the Navy, so I thought I’d return to my alma mater (ND ’10) to network, re-establish connections and figure out the civilian world. I enrolled in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program and during some of the self-reflection that takes place in the early leadership courses, decided I wanted to stay in the Navy. I didn’t anticipate classes like Change Management and some of the other “touchy feely” classes to be so beneficial to my job, but they really were.
Decision to choose Mendoza:
I knew the program and the quality of the education they provide based on my undergraduate experience, and I had a lot of mentors that I kept in touch with. One in particular, Corey Angst (professor, Information Technology, Analytics and Operations) really helped me out. I was getting ready to graduate and there were some complications with my commissioning in the Navy. I told Corey about it, he made some calls and the very next day he had two job offers for me, one with Deloitte in Chicago. I ended up joining the Navy and not going to Deloitte, but that experience and his mentorship was mind blowing for me. There was no other place I wanted to go.
Similarities between the military and ND:
I love this question because there are so many parallels between the core values of Notre Dame and the Navy, in particular. Being in the military in general is a call to serve, similar to a calling to serve God. Also, the tradition that you have at Notre Dame really parallels the tradition of the military. Lastly, Notre Dame is a family; we’re rooted and we’re proud. You become part of the Notre Dame family from the first day you get there. It’s an identity you never lose. It’s the same way in the military. In both institutions you feel that sense of community and family. It’s a really unique bond. It’s awesome, actually.
Right now I’m going through Department Head School. Once I wrap up my training, I’ll be stationed on the USS Ross in Rota, Spain, on a U.S. Navy destroyer. I signed a contract to bring me through Department Head tours for a total of three years. After that, I’m not sure what my long range plans look like. But I do feel like I’ve been blessed with a great graduate school experience and taken the steps in my present life to set me up for success for wherever the future leads.