Choosing Her Influence
PROVO, Utah – Dec 01, 2020 – Brigham Young University ROTC student Kenna Brown, from Centerville, Utah, is one of only twenty-one women cadets in the BYU Army ROTC program. After watching military heroes during her childhood, Brown aspired to become an Army nurse, and she is committed to serving and healing others as they did.
Growing up, Brown felt a strong connection to the military. “As a child, I would see members of the military in movies and hear stories of people coming home from deployments. When I saw these, I felt nothing but respect,” she says. “I admired those selfless people who were willing to sacrifice for their country. I wanted to follow their examples and serve in that capacity.”
Brown began to follow the examples of these military heroes at a young age by working as a certified nurse assistant (CNA). She cared for sick and elderly patients who were in need of hospice care. “I helped people who were often at their lowest of lows—suffering, sick, and broken. I fell in love with the ability to have a positive effect on these people, to care for them in a way that would promote healing,” she says.
While serving in Uruguay as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2017 to 2018, Brown felt as though she was fulfilling her calling in life as she had countless experiences witnessing healing in the lives of the broken and sick. She realized that by serving others, she could exemplify the military heroes who selflessly served before her to provide rights and freedoms. “I could not think of a better way to honor my military heroes, or to guarantee those same rights and freedoms for the future generations, than to serve and work in the army to heal those who receive injuries while serving our country,” she says.
After her mission and as a BYU nursing major, Brown met with an ROTC recruiter and committed to join the Army ROTC. Though family members were initially skeptical of her decision, they now fully support her as a first-generation military member. “I didn’t have anyone in my family to go ahead of me or show me the ropes, but I feel empowered, knowing that I am making a difference in my family,” she says. “I’m proud to be representing them and our name.”
Beginning the ROTC program brought Brown many opportunities for growth. “I was thrown into leadership roles that I had no idea how to fill. Instead of having a few years to prepare, I had to adapt and learn how to lead my fellow cadets in the moment,” she says. “Adapting has been an extremely challenging and often vulnerable experience, but I have grown and learned considerably. I am developing skills that I never imagined and also learning how to deal with high-stress and high-intensity situations.”
Using skills she has learned, Brown wants to make a powerful and positive influence on others. “Through the BYU Army ROTC program, I have learned that what you do in life matters. You can choose what kind of influence you want to be. Both the ROTC program and BYU teach an overarching lesson of service, and that is a lesson that lasts a lifetime,” she says.
After graduating in April 2022, Brown aspires to pursue an Army career as a nurse in order to continue to make a difference in the lives of those who need healing. Eventually Brown plans to become a nurse anesthetist and hopes that the legacy she can leave behind is a better world for future generations.
The BYU Army ROTC program has prepared Brown to succeed, no matter what obstacle may come her way. With her military heroes in mind, Brown hopes to continue to make a difference. “I want to take what I’ve learned here at BYU and go out into the world and show what I’m capable of.”
Media Contact: Chad Little: (801) 422-1512
Writer: Emily Atwood