Veteran Spotlight: Cami Schmalz

by Bailey Earls, Special to the Simpsonian

November is National Veterans and Military Families Month. Simpson College recognizes and supports military personnel and veterans for their service. This week’s spotlight is alumni and graduate student Cami Schmalz.

What are your hometown and high school?

Muscatine, IA, and Muscatine High School.

What branch are you serving in? When did you join?

Army National Guard, I joined in December 2018.

What has your experience been like? Do you have any memories of your experience?

Most of my experience has been in a training environment. I’ve completed Basic Training (BCT) and OCS (Officer Candidate School), but I am still waiting to be sent to BOLC (Basic Officer Leadership Course). COVID-19 has slowed my progress in training to be a Military Intelligence Officer. My favorite thing so far has been the people I’ve met along the way.

Why did you enlist?

I have wanted to join since high school, but I also wanted to continue my education and go to college. I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than myself, and I was up for the challenge. I am still not for sure what I want to do with my life, but I am hoping that through this experience, I will figure that out.

How or why did you choose Simpson?

I never wanted to attend a large university because I didn’t want to be considered another number. I wanted my professors to know me, be able to ask for help, and have access to resources. I really wanted to play soccer in college, so that is why I stuck with looking at DIII schools. I ended up choosing Simpson due to its close proximity to Des Moines, many opportunities, and internships. I planned on attending grad school after training, but my training has been put on pause due to the virus. 

When did you graduate from college?

I graduated in May 2019.

Any advice for those who are considering service?

The military definitely isn’t for everyone, but if someone wants to serve the community, seeks challenges, has a strong commitment, they should go for it. It has been a great experience for me. I have gained professional development, job opportunities, support with my education, and the opportunity to travel.