December 14, 2018
Brandon Rozanski was working on his Molecular Biology lab report on a recent Saturday night when he was startled by the loud knocking on his door. Before he could react, one of his roommates burst into the room.
“You’re all over Facebook — you were just named the #6 ROTC cadet in the nation!”
What? Say again? He couldn’t wrap his head around it.
Then Rozanski watched the video announcement by Major General John Evans on Facebook and the reality began to set in. His heart thumped in his chest. He couldn’t shake the ear-to-ear smile stretching across his face.
Rozanski, a senior Biology major from Severn, Md., had earned the ranking out of 5,527 senior cadets on the Army’s order-of-merit list for his grade-point-average, strong performance on the Army Physical Fitness Test, college athletic participation and performance during college ROTC training and Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Ky.
“Brandon has been a model cadet in his time at McDaniel, achieving top grades, maintaining physical fitness and showing nothing but commitment to the Green Terror Battalion,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lucas Yoho, professor of Military Science at McDaniel. “We know Brandon will succeed in all endeavors and expect him to soon be an Army doctor providing critical care to our warfighters and their families. Hooah!”
There’s no doubt that Rozanski’s recognition is well earned. His 3.98 GPA is extraordinary. He’s the Green Terror Battalion cadet commander and finished in the top three in his platoon at Advanced Camp last summer. He’s the vice president of Beta Beta Beta biological honor society.
A drill sergeant at Cadet Initial Entry Training gave him advice he’s followed every day since: “Whenever you’re given an opportunity, say ‘yes.’”
“I’ve followed that advice and try always to embrace the possibility of finding a solution to every problem, to have a curious mind and truly be a lifelong learner,” Rozanski said.
Indeed. Cadet Rozanski ventured abroad to Nepal through the Army’s Cultural Understanding & Leadership Program to learn modern Japanese martial arts from Nepalese rangers, to study the culture and help rebuild an elementary school devastated by the 2015 earthquake. He even took time to play a little soccer with the schoolchildren.
An aspiring orthopedic surgeon, Rozanski went after and was accepted for internships at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Shock Trauma, where he still volunteers.
“At Fort Stewart I was able to experience everything from orthopedic surgery to anesthesiology, all under the guidance of physicians who have been deployed,” Rozanski said. “The internship was very hands on, allowing me to scrub in, observe and assist with surgery every day.”
Of course there’s also the side of Rozanski that had so much fun volunteering at the holiday party McDaniel hosted for the Westminster Boys & Girls Club, he signed up to regularly volunteer at the club. An active member of intramural soccer and football clubs, he’s starting a golf club to introduce other McDaniel students to the sport.
Rozanski also works with the non-profit charity Truckin4Troops, which travels all around the country to support wounded warriors and pay homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Being named #6 cadet in the nation is a really big deal — but Rozanski zeroed in on something else the general said.
“Major General Evans said that I will become an Army doctor — not hoped to be or planned to be or wanted to be, but that I will come back on active duty as an Army doctor, ‘a future Army Doctor in our Medical Corps,’” Rozanski said, that smile still beaming.
It’s both a goal and dream Rozanski has had since he was a freshman in high school. It was sparked by tragedy that nearly struck his family. His dad at that time was hospitalized after needing immediate surgery to remove a blood clot. As his family awaited the second surgery, he was awakened at 1:30 a.m. by his mom who had just received a call from the doctor saying his dad probably wouldn’t make it through the morning.
They immediately drove to the hospital only to find his dad sleeping peacefully with no medical staff around him. Just as they began to wonder what was going on, the nurse had entered the room and explained to his hysterical mother that the doctor had called the wrong family.
In the pre-dawn light of that hospital room, Rozanski envisioned his future.
“Right away I knew I wanted to become physician. One who would never let this story happen to another family. One who pays attention to detail because any small mistake can result in tragedy,” he said, adding that as wrenching as the error had been for him and his mom, he thought too of the family that probably would not make it to their loved one’s bedside in time. “As a physician it’s imperative to never stop fighting the good fight, to give every patient quality care without exception, to remember that you treat the patient not the case.”
Quick to credit his success to those who have helped shape him, Rozanski said his experience at McDaniel gave him the tools to be successful.
“Everyone here has contributed something new to what I am,” he said. “I’ve learned to be a critical thinker who wants to learn and grow and understand other people. At McDaniel everyone’s opinion matters.”
“My biggest takeaway is a holistic perspective — that the world is bigger than one person and it is important to aspire to be part of something bigger than yourself.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Brandon Rozanski has been accepted to and will begin medical school in the fall at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.