Tay-Sean Kidd’s day starts at 4:30 a.m.
The senior human resource management major begins his day in Naval Science classes at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, he commutes back to Main Campus for afternoon classes.
Kidd will be the lone graduate from the Naval ROTC program this May.
Temple doesn’t have it’s own Naval ROTC program, so Kidd is dual-enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania to complete the Naval Science program.
Before coming to Temple, Kidd considered other schools, like Howard University, where he was offered a full scholarship. Still, he decided on Temple.
“I liked the community aspect,” Kidd said. “I felt like I belonged.”
More specifically, Kidd said he liked the diversity at Temple. Although present at other schools he considered, Kidd said the “power of diversity” was most visible at Temple.
“Whether it be background, socioeconomic status or even what state someone comes from could play a factor,” he said. “The ability to avoid groupthink comes from surrounding yourself with diverse people.”
At Penn, Kidd’s in naval science lab classes. On Main Campus, he works on General Education courses. Kidd sees being on multiple campuses as an advantage, more than anything.
“I got to go to a civilian school and get the perks of a naval program,” he added.
Since his sophomore year in high school, Kidd knew he wanted to join the Navy, and that “service was kind of the next step,” he said.
Kidd’s grandfather served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his father is an active-duty member of the Navy. Kidd wanted to follow in their footsteps, but his goal was a little bit different: for him, school came first.
“The degree was important,” he said. “Neither of my parents did it the traditional way.”
By choosing to go to school before enlisting in the Navy, Kidd set himself up to be the first officer among his family members, a position that requires a four-year degree.
Each semester, he enrolls in 18 to 21 credits in order to keep up with graduation requirements for both schools.
“It’s rigorous, but rewarding,” Kidd said. “Along the way you realize you’ve learned so much, and that it’s made you a tougher person. Challenges aren’t something I dwell on, because this is the career I chose.”
Sophomore economics major Cole Drahus is following the same academic path as Kidd: dual enrollment at Temple and Penn, so he can participate in the Naval Science program.
“Most people from Temple just don’t know about the program,” Drahus said. “Only two or three graduate from it each year.”
Drahus said the two commute to Penn together every day for morning classes. When he has any problems in school or with the dual enrollment program, Drahus said Kidd is one of his “go-to guys.”
Seeing Kidd go through dual enrollment proved to Drahus that although it’s difficult, it is possible to complete the program.
“I wouldn’t have met him without the program,” Drahus said. “[By] driving in with him, you learn something new every day.”
“It takes more than one mentor,” Kidd said. “I help him sometimes. Other times, I let him figure things out on his own.”
About a month after he graduates, Kidd will find out when he leaves for the USS Somerset (LPD-25), his ship assignment in San Diego, California.
Paula Davis can be reached at email@example.com.