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Third-generation sailor discovers career path through CCRI's nursing program

Wyatt PolasekJan. 8, 2020

Fate has brought Brandee Trotter down many different roads in life, some more winding than others.

From snow-covered mountains in Utah and military bases in Japan to the cozy confines of CCRI’s Newport County Campus, the 24-year-old first-generation college student is pursuing her passion to become a neonatal nurse, a dream she’s had since witnessing the birth of her youngest niece.

Her journey began in the small town of Roy, roughly 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, the youngest of four children in her family and the daughter and granddaughter of former hospital corpsmen.

Though Trotter never envisioned herself as the military type, she decided after high school she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps, but the wait list for boot camp to become a hospital corpsman was too long. Rather than take time off and risk losing interest, she signed up to become an Interior Communications Electrician in May of 2013 less than a week after graduating.

Four months later, Trotter entered basic training. Her initial plan was to serve for four years – “a stepping stone,” as she put it – but joining the Navy opened many doors. While developing new relationships and exploring paths she never knew existed in high school, she spent the next six years fixing and repairing her ship’s communications equipment, everything from telephones and monitors to alarm systems and routers. The journey brought her all over the world, including the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Washington, and Japan.

“The military forced me out of my shell. Not only do I not recognize myself now, I don’t think I knew who I was before,” Trotter.

“I truly found myself in the Navy.”

She found love, too. While stationed in Japan, Trotter met her soon-to-be wife, Jay, a sailor from Gautier, MS. The two hit it off instantly and married in Virginia Beach this past December.

Fate continued to play a role in Trotter’s journey, even after her honorable discharge in July. When her wife was assigned to shore duty at Naval Station Newport, the two relocated to Middletown, where Trotter discovered CCRI and its nursing program while researching potential colleges.

With a campus conveniently located near her new home, jumpstarting her career as a neonatal nurse at CCRI made perfect sense. The college’s “veteran-friendly” staff helped her maximize the benefits of her GI Bill® and offered guidance as Trotter reacclimated to the civilian lifestyle six years removed from the classroom.

“While I was still in the military, I kept saying I wanted to be a nurse, but it didn’t always seem within reach,” Trotter said. “Now it does.”

Fate brought her this far. The rest is up to her. Motivated to pursue her dream job, Trotter has found her path to success at CCRI and will apply to the nursing program in February. Her journey, like the view on the open seas, is nothing short of amazing.

“My goal is achievable,” she said. “I’m glad I joined the Navy and I’m glad I took the time I needed to make sure I was ready to pursue my career. My school work has all my focus and CCRI has helped make the transition seamless. I’m grateful for this opportunity. 

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