Attitude, critical thinking skills earn Saucedo the Soldier Scholar Award
When Master Sgt. Jeneen Saucedo first joined the U.S. Army in 1999, she wanted both a challenge and excitement. Having grown up in Southern California in humble surroundings, she had never traveled nor had the opportunity to try different things. Now, during her 16-year career primarily as a detention specialist, she’s been posted in Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM).
“I’m up for the challenge the Army provides,” said Saucedo. “I love it!”
As the first sergeant of the 67th Military Police Company (Detention) in the 508th Military Police Battalion (Detention) at JBLM, Saucedo’s role presents a different type of challenge.
She supervises officers who guard prisoners and detainees at military bases. “It’s the kind of job that no one really likes to do, but the job is important and necessary,” said Saucedo. “Who would volunteer to guard these prisoners? It’s important for officers to maintain a level of professionalism.”
Prisoner hunger strikes and riots are just a couple of the unusual situations to deal with that require specialized training.
Saucedo is also up for the challenge of earning her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Brandman University. With her dedication to excellence and a 3.67 grade point average, Brandman’s campus director at JBLM, Mary Ann Bardoni-Barbe, announced Saucedo as the 2015 recipient of Brandman’s Soldier Scholar Award, an award given every year based on a student’s grade point average, attitude and professionalism.
“Jeneen is a dedicated student committed to completing her degree,” said Bardoni-Barbe. “She is well prepared and other students have complimented her team participation in class. Jeneen is a critical thinker who continues to lead from the front.” The award will be presented on Nov. 18 at the Stone Education Center at JBLM.
The recognition comes as a surprise to Saucedo. “I didn’t think anyone was paying attention,” she said. “Not that I do things for attention, but this is confirmation that people are watching. This award belongs to all of the soldiers who have encouraged me, and helped me with all those little things they do that make a difference.”
In fact, it was one of Saucedo’s supervisors who first ‘highly suggested’ that she finish college and get a four-year degree after she completed her associate’s degree. “I enrolled and wasn’t happy about it,” Saucedo said. “Initially after the first class, I wasn’t planning on going back. But then I couldn’t not go, because I’d already shown myself that I could do it.”
Saucedo expects to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in 2018. Retirement from the Army could come just a couple of years after that, and she wants to have a plan when she makes the transition to civilian life. Saucedo knows she can use her leadership skills to make a positive difference in any organization.
What she may not realize is the difference she’s already making in the U.S. Army, and the example she sets for her team, and other Brandman students.
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