Name: Benjamin Gabriel Cook (‘97)
Quantico, VA
Profession: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps
Johnston Emphasis: Narrative Studies and Comparative Cultures

When asked how the skills he learned and the ideas he encountered at Johnston integrate into his profession, Ben replied, "It wasn't as much the academic skill sets learned but the importance placed on a common culture, tradition, community, and speaking your mind." Ben observed that, "there is an uncanny resemblance between the Marine Corps and Johnston when looking at those aspects. Only after receiving my commission, did I realize that the Marine Corps is fundamentally an interdisciplinary institution in the way it carries out its duties.

"Most importantly, the confidence and self-awareness initially developed for effective curriculum building, contract writing, and existing in the community, are critical components of leadership in a stressful combat environment. On a daily basis, the interdisciplinary mindset that I gained from Johnston has benefited me greatly. I value the way in which Johnston taught me the importance of remaining open-minded to the ideas and opinions of others and yet still staying true to my own beliefs. The skills I acquired to live, interact, and work with people that I really don't like come in handy frequently in the military."