Cadet Selected for Highly Competitive U.S. Navy Service Assignment
LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 7, 2021—Christina Skaggs ’22, an English major from Manassas, Virginia, has been selected for a highly competitive service assignment in the U.S. Navy. Skaggs is one of less than 10 Class of ’22 Naval ROTC midshipmen across the nation selected to serve as a Surface Warfare Information Professional Officer (SWO-IP).
An especially competitive role, the typical midshipman selected for SWO-IP holds a degree in computer science or cybersecurity, making Skaggs’s selection as an English major especially notable.
When Skaggs submitted her job preferences, SWO-IP was on her list, but she saw it as a kind of filler. “I put it on my preferences not even thinking they would select me for it,” she said. She was “shocked” when her service assignment was announced this past Saturday. Afterward, Lt. Daniel Franceschina, NROTC instructor, offered encouragement and advice to Skaggs.
As she recounted, “He told me, ‘I know you’re a little confused, but I think one of the reasons they picked you is that you are able to read information and [analyze] it from your practices as an English major. The [selection committee] saw that and liked it because it’s an important part of the IP community.’”
In this role, Skaggs will be reading and analyzing a large volume of complex, confidential material and then communicating it to the cybersecurity technicians under her supervision.
“It was such an honor to be selected for this, especially when I found out I was one of only [approximately] five,” Skaggs said. “It’s so easy to doubt yourself; you just don’t think you’re [at that level]. Then when they pick you for a role among the best, it’s an incredible feeling—to know that all your hard work has helped you achieve your dreams and goals of serving the U.S. Navy.”
After graduating and commissioning, Skaggs will serve two years as a Surface Warfare Officer. She will then attend IP School, where she will learn about cybersecurity and how to manage, organize, and maintain confidential and top-secret information. Afterwards, she will be assigned to a service area as a SWO-IP.
Skaggs is very excited to learn and “take on this great opportunity,” she said. “It is an honor to serve my country in this selective field. I never even considered I would get it, but to know they believe I’ll do a good job—it is such an honor.”
Lt. Col. Michelle Iten, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE