Coming out of BSU made me a better overall person, it helped me to build character, develop mental strength, it allowed me a lot of opportunities and I appreciate that and the community of people who helped me.
As Brianna Strecker, ’13, prepares for U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Training School at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, the Bridgewater State University alumna recently shared how being a Bear helped shape her future.
For as long as she can remember, Strecker has wanted to live a life of purpose, to be part of a community, something bigger than herself. Which is what she was looking for when exploring college options back in high school and how she landed at BSU.
“I was searching for a school that had a good sense of community, of school spirit, and when I got to campus there was something about the atmosphere, the people and the space, that I felt connected to right away,” Strecker said.
Strecker majored in criminal justice and was a standout softball player while at BSU. Upon graduating, she began her career coaching softball.
The Waterford, Connecticut, native even coached at Bridgewater for a year before moving onto Tufts University where she served as an assistant coach. During her tenure at Tufts, the team took home two national championships.
From there, Strecker received and accepted an offer to coach softball at the United States Military Academy at West Point. That decision would take her on a new, unexpected path.
“I didn’t know anything about the military or that I wanted to be in the military,” she said.
But after spending time at West Point and witnessing first-hand the sense of pride the cadets possessed, Strecker found herself gravitating toward a new career.
“I started to fall in love with it and what it represented…it sounds corny but saluting the (American) flag before every game, there was so much honor and emotion in those moments, I knew I had to be a part of it,” she said.
The support Bridgewater State offered, including guidance from mentors like Michael Donovan, assistant men’s basketball coach and athletic home events manager, helped Strecker along the way to better define her strengths and focus on what she wanted.
Donovan is not surprised to hear of Strecker’s decision to enlist.
“She came in and attacked Bridgewater,” Donovan said. “She’s one of the most natural leaders I’ve ever been around. I don’t have any doubts she will wear stars on her shoulder one day, she’s that capable, she’s just rock solid.”
As Strecker embarks on the next leg of her journey, the alumna is most excited about being part of a team where she will serve as platoon leader and bring the experiences she gained at BSU with her.
“Being part of a team is important to me and that’s how it felt to be at Bridgewater,” Strecker said. “Coming out of BSU made me a better overall person, it helped me to build character, develop mental strength, it allowed me a lot of opportunities and I appreciate that and the community of people who helped me.”
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