People in The News

Raymond Woman Enjoys Best of Both Worlds With College ROTC
By Leslie O’Donnell   8-9-18

Summer vacation from college might include a job at the lake, an internship at a high tech firm, or just a collection of lazy days in the sun.

For Katarina Vogel of Raymond, it encompassed a two-month stay in Morocco, an opportunity to learn Arabic, and a Navy cruise from Hawaii to San Diego.

Vogel, the 20-year-old daughter of Doug and Christina Vogel of Raymond, will enter her junior year at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., at the end of August. She is majoring in international relations, with minors in journalism and Arabic, a theme that follows the direction of her life plans. She is also a Marine in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), with the rank of Midshipman Second Class, and expects to be commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps when she graduates.

Vogel is eagerly looking ahead to a career in the Marines and hopes for a job as a public affairs officer, preferably in the Middle East, upon commissioning. She said the Marines previously operated FET – Female Engagement Teams, sending female Marines to interact with women and children in countries where it was not culturally acceptable for them to interact with men. While the program is not currently operational, Vogel hopes it will be reinstated.

“I think that’s the best way to have females on the front lines – they can collect intel and do humanitarian work,” she said.

“I hope to spend at least 20 years in the Marine Corps – if not active duty, at least in the Reserves, and then go into journalism or teaching,” she said.

A military career was not an unusual choice for Vogel, whose father was career Navy. She grew up saying she was going to be career Navy as well, but shortly before college, she decided the Marines was the right path for her. She is the first Marine in her family and is also the first female in her family to serve in the military. And she will be the first commissioned officer as well.

“I’m really close to my father and I’ve always wanted to travel,” she said. “I really respect my dad’s leadership and presence, and grew up wanting to join the Navy. But when I was 18, I switched to the Marines.  This 5 foot 2, 115-pound bubbly girl never thought she could be a Marine, but it turned out to be the best branch (of the service) for me.

“It took some adjustment for my parents that I chose to be a Marine,” she added, noting she is the middle child of three. “But my parents are proud of me.”

Vogel is a graduate of Great Bay Charter School in Exeter and played soccer for Raymond High School. She received a full ROTC scholarship to Rochester.

“I love being in ROTC,” she said. “I don’t know how I would function and stay focused without it. I had a support system from the moment I stepped on campus. Almost all of us overload on classes, and it’s nice to be with people who are like-minded. It’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t feel like that because I enjoy it.”

In her ROTC program, the Marines train with the Navy. Her group of about 65 includes 16 Marines, four of whom are female. Next summer she will attend OCS – Officer Candidate School – at Quantico.

This fall she will take classes in terrorism, intermediate Arabic, a journalism class in reporting and writing, ship systems and dance.

And it was her ROTC involvement that led her to her summer trip to Morocco. She said the U.S. Department of Defense offers a program called Project GO (Global Officer), open to all ROTC branches and geared to improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers.

“I wanted to travel, and you have to travel for an international relations major,” Vogel explained, adding she wasn’t sure how she would be able to pay for a year abroad. She applied and was accepted into Project GO, and that took care of her travel requirement – and opened up a new world, especially for a young woman who had never left the United States.

She had to write three essays for the Morocco application, and by the time she was finished with writing, she was convinced of the importance of learning Arabic.

She was part of a program of 10 ROTC members, and after undergoing orientation at the University of Maryland, they flew to Morocco and stayed with families in the city of Meknes. “The first night I was at my host family’s house, after I had already lost my wallet, I stepped outside stunned,” she recalled, noting she knew no Arabic at the time. “But we kept so busy that we didn’t realize how much we were learning.”

Now, after two months in Morocco, she can have conversations in Arabic, and can read and write the language. “We were in class four hours a day, with three or four additional hours of homework,” she said. “We had language partners who were our age, and we traveled every weekend – we saw all the highlights. We went to the desert, hiked the highest mountain in the Arab world. And I loved it.”

Although Project Go is a military-sponsored program, the participants were there as civilians. What she enjoyed most, Vogel said, was interacting with the locals. Vogel did not wear a hijab, and said about half the women she saw wore western clothes. “I fell in love with the language and the culture,” she said. “In an alternative life, I’d see myself staying there.”

The biggest difference she noticed? Almost everyone was fluent in at least two languages – Arabic, which has several dialects, and French. She said many Moroccans also speak English and Spanish. “I wish we studied more languages in the United States,” she said. “Now I’m a huge advocate for studying abroad and learning multiple languages.”

Her new fluency in Arabic allowed her to enroll in intermediate Arabic this fall. “I’m incredibly lucky,” she said. “I knew that going to Morocco would be like seeing a new color for the first time.”

But her summer learning did not stop last week when she returned home. On Aug. 1 she flew to Hawaii, to board a Navy LPD amphibious transport dock ship as part of her ROTC training. Marines work on the ship, and she will be partnered with an enlisted Marine for the voyage to San Diego.

“The goal is to see how the fleet operates,” she said, noting that as a future officer, she will be leading enlisted Marines, and will need to understand their lives and work. “I’m excited to be on the ship and be actively military again.”

Vogel said she likes planning and structure, and while she is constantly training for military service, in other ways she is a typical college student. She will return to campus early to be part of New Student Orientation, hopes to hike Machu Pichu in Peru over Christmas break, and participates in a dance performance group, women’s club soccer and UR SEGway (Survivor Empowerment Group), whose purpose is to spread awareness about sexual assault and make the campus a better environment for survivors.

Vogel is a strong advocate of ROTC, noting it allows students to have a full college experience as well as a military one. “It’s the best of both worlds,” she said, explaining that ROTC gives her job experience in leadership positions. And while her ROTC peers constitute a strong support group, her involvement in her dance group gives her a different set of peer support.

“Joining the dance group was very helpful,” she said. “It gave me support from a group of girls, and that’s very important.”

She credits her family and her life in Raymond as making it possible for her to thrive in varied environments. “I am able to go out and have all of these incredible experiences and pursue the life that I have wanted since I was a child because of how I was raised by my parents and my town,” she said. “My whole family has been active in the Raymond community for as long as I can remember through town politics, the Dudley-Tucker Library Summer Reading Program, Arts in the Park, soccer, the Miss Raymond Pageants, Boy Scouts, working in town at Hannaford’s, and various other volunteering events.

“All of these experiences and others in our town have made it possible for the girl who stood on the Junior Miss Raymond stage in 2009, saying she wanted to join the military during her onstage question, to be a young woman now training to earn a commission in the United States Marine Corps and getting opportunities she would never have otherwise had,” concluded Vogel.



Doug and Katarinatte


University of Rochester junior Katarina Vogel is pictured in Asilah, a city on the beach near Tangier that is known for its art.


Doug and Katarinatte


Katarina Vogel snaps a selfie with a very friendly camel as they rode into the Sahara this summer.


Doug and Katarinatte


Katarina Vogel is pictured in front of Hassan II Mosque, the largest Mosque in Casablanca, the second largest in Africa, and the fifth largest in the world.


Doug and Katarinatte


It wasn’t all studying. Katarina Vogel climbed to the top of Mount Toubkal which, at over 13,000 feet, is the biggest mountain in Morocco, Northern Africa, and the Arab world.


Doug and Katarinatte


Katarina Vogel poses with her host mother after her last breakfast in Morocco in July.


Doug and Katarinatte


Katarina Vogel, a Marine, poses with her father, Doug Vogel, a Navy veteran, at one of her NROTC unit's Drill Competitions last fall.



Katarina Vogel Nominated to U.S. Naval Academy by Senator Ayotte

Ayotte Announces 2016 Service Academy Nominations Jan 5, 2016

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte today announced the names of more than 50 New Hampshire students she has nominated to attend one of the nation's service academies in 2016. Senator Ayotte personally congratulated the nominees at a reception she is hosted in their honor on January 7th in Concord.

"I'm proud to nominate these outstanding New Hampshire students to be considered for admission to our nation's military service academies," said Senator Ayotte. "These students exemplify the values of service, dedication, and leadership that are integral to our nation's Armed Forces. From their exceptional academic achievements to their many impressive extracurricular pursuits, these young men and women represent the very best of New Hampshire, and I wish them luck as they pursue a career of service to our country."


KVogel with Ayotte


To be considered for an appointment to a service academy, applicants must be nominated by a Member of Congress or other authorized nominating source.

The following is the full list of New Hampshire students who received Senator Ayotte's nomination as candidates to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York:

U.S. Military Academy

Athena Chan - Windham, NH - Windham High School
Gwenyth Fifield - Moultonborough, NH - Moultonborough Academy
Grant Levasseur - Litchfield, NH - Campbell High School
Daniel Watson - North Woodstock, NH - Cumberland International Early College High School
Jarrod Broussard - Manchester, NH - Manchester Memorial High School
Howard Mahoney - North Hampton, NH - Walt Whitman High School
Hadley Johnson - Bow, NH - Bow High School
Cody Twombly - Manchester, NH - Phillips Exeter Academy
Joshuah Chapman - Weare, NH - North Yarmouth Academy
Riley Clark - Merrimack, NH - Merrimack High School

U.S. Naval Academy

Lukas Atwood - Nashua, NH - Bishop Guertin High School
Patrick Moore - Newbury, NH - Kearsarge Regional High School
Eliot Coulter - Chocorua, NH - UNH
John Thompson - Stratham, NH - Phillips Exeter Academy
Pheonyx Stopyra - Merrimack, NH - Merrimack High School
Christopher Cashman - Exeter, NH - Exeter High School
Cole Humber - Nashua, NH - Nashua High School South
Patrick Hennig - Newport, NH - Newport High School
Nathan Holt - Bedford, NH - Bedford High School
Sarah Lowell - Amherst, NH - Souhegan High School
Katarina Vogel - Raymond, NH - Great Bay Charter School
Wesley Sebastian - New Ipswich, NH - Midlothian High School
Anne Dunigan - Brentwood, NH - Phillips Exeter Academy
Richard Rosato - Concord, NH - Bishop Brady High School
Matthew Watrous - Brookline, NH - Hollis Brookline High School
Christian Hirsch - Jaffrey, NH - Conant High School
Jason Dufour - Goffstown, NH - Trinity High School
Lillian Huntoon - Enfield, NH - Kearsarge Regional High School
Lucas Dishart - Exeter, NH - Exeter High School
Alexander Jensen - Windham, NH - Central Catholic High School

U.S. Air Force Academy

Morgan McGirl - Hampton, NH - Winnacunnet High School
Dana Ruchti - Gilmanton, NH - Gilford High School
Bradley George - Epping, NH - Epping High School
Derek Low - Derry, NH - Pinkerton Academy
Reed Lamy - Bedford, NH - Bedford High School
Keala Eichholz - Stratham, NH - Exeter High School
Dakota Clark - Bedford, NH - Bedford High School
Todd Hearn - Farmington, NH - Tri-City Christian Academy
Alexander Larsen, Hampton, NH - Winnacunnet High School
Bryan White - Grantham, NH - Lebanon High School
Hunter Miller - Wolfeboro, NH - Kingswood Regional High School
Zachary Sullivan - Derry, NH - Pinkerton Academy
Tia Gaumont - Merrimack, NH - Merrimack High School
Stuart Graves - Hampstead, NH - Pinkerton Academy
Erinne Curtin - Windham, NH - Windham High School
Bryce Pietrini - Epping, NH - Epping High School
Thor Bartlett - Lincoln, NH - Lin-Wood Public School
Abou Alhassan Essa - Manchester, NH - UNH
Cameron Jackson - Hollis, NH - Hollis Brookline High School
Samantha Gaumer - Campton, NH - Plymouth High School

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Patrick Hume - Windham, NH - Windham High School
Nicholas Shastany - Laconia, NH - Laconia High School
Casey Fisher - Nashua, NH - Bishop Guertin High School
Charlotte Young - New London, NH - Kearsarge Regional High School
Bryan White - Grantham, NH - Lebanon High School
Reed Lamy - Bedford, NH - Bedford High School
Thor Bartlett - Lincoln, NH - Lin-Wood Public School