Sophie Callahan '20 Returns to Share USAF Experience

Michelle H. Daino
Since graduating from Mount Saint Mary Academy in 2020, Sophie Callahan experienced six weeks of rigorous Basic Cadet Training, declared an Applied Mathematics and Data Science double major, and jumped out of a plane five times solo as a student at the United States Air Force Academy (USAF) in Colorado.

The Cadet Third Class (second year) returned on the morning of Tuesday, December 14, to inspire students and to share with the community how the Mount has prepared her for her endeavors. She also attended a swimming meet later that day to support her fellow Mounties, as she was once an avid swimmer.

When she graduated, she planned to focus on engineering, but opted to switch to her double major instead. She credits the foundation in mathematical skills influenced by Mrs. (Lori) Frazier (former math teacher), Mr. (Steven) Muratore (math teacher) and Mrs. (Jacqueline) Muratore (former math teacher and current Assistant Directress of Faculty, Curriculum, and Planning).

“I knew that, academically, I was ahead of others, that’s how the Mount prepared me,” said Sophie. “It’s hard to describe it, but I knew I was given the tools that I needed.”

“You are going to do amazing things in this world,” said Mrs. Muratore when she saw Sophie for the first time in years. “We are so proud of you.”

When the Martinsville native graduates the USAF in 2024, she will be commissioned as a Lieutenant.

“I will be in the top 10 percent of the Air Force at 22 years old,” she said. In that position, Sophie will be given her first major assignment. She is ready for the weight of that role and the strong leadership she must possess. She is especially proud to have the responsibility of representing her country.

Mount sophomore, Sekai Lynton-Jones ’24, asked Sophie what one word she would use to describe her USAF experience so far.

“Inspiring,” said Sophie. “I have the security that I can major in anything I want because I can be anything I want in the Air Force. The life lessons that are taken from this experience make you a better person.”

“When I got to Basic Cadet Training, I was blindsided by it, but I was surprised at what I was able to do. There were 30 people from Training that I have lived with for a year and a half … they are like family to me,” shared Sophie.

Last summer, Sophie attained crucial survival skills while living in the woods for two 95-degree days with only a map and a compass, strings and tarp for shelter, and carrying 30-pound sacks and no cell phones. This was the same summer that she jumped out of an airplane five times (twice in one day). Each jump had a 10-second free-fall and she was in the air for 5-6 minutes thereafter. She faced the experience with little trepidation and great exhilaration.

Next summer, Sophie looks forward to obtaining operational Air Force experience (she hopes to be sent to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas). She will also operate Basic Cadet Training.

“People come to the USAF from all different backgrounds – some have family ties that they have been pushed to be a part of it because that has always been a part of their lives. Others come from athletic backgrounds, some come from homelessness. This diversity is so important, and we are all offered lifechanging opportunities.”
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