Oladokun J. Ekundayo is a cadet of the newly minted Class of 2019. She is from Baltimore, Maryland where she attended The John Carroll School for high school. She was a member of the volleyball, and track team and was a captain of the women's basketball team for two years. Additionally, she was the Drum Major of the school's marching band, a member of the jazz band, pep band, diversity group, speech and debate team, president of the service club, and treasurer of the Athletic Leadership Group.
At VMI, Ms. Ekundayo is pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Computer Engineering. For her excellent academic performance during the first semester, Ms. Ekundayo was invited to join the Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society. She is pursuing a commission in the Air Force where she hopes to be a Cyber Warfare Officer. After her first semester, Ms. Ekundayo received the award for Most Outstanding AS100 Cadet being ranked #1 among her AS100 class. More recently, she was one of two cadets to receive the Air Force ROTC Achievement Award. She is also a member of The Commanders, the Institute’s Jazz Band.
She is extremely excited to finish this semester strong and get started with the next as she will be a Band Company Corporal. Ms. Ekundayo is a determined woman and when asked about what motivates her, she said, "Everything I do is for the success of the people around me as well as the people that will come after me. It's easy to continue to push and smile because I know I am setting new standards of excellence. At the same time I’m building steps for people to reach those standards." For Ms. Ekundayo, NSBE has "built steps for me on my road to success."
Barry James Thaxton Jr. class of 2019 is from Danville, Virginia. In high school he held many leadership positions in JROTC and several sports teams. He was team co-captain in track, football, and on his championship winning basketball team. However, he gained most of his leadership experience in the JROTC where he finished as Cadet Command Sergeant Major and led the drill team to win 4 drill competitions and gain a spot at the “Best of the Best” raider competition held in Chapel Hill, NC.
At VMI, Mr. Thaxton is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. He was recently awarded the Army ROTC Minuteman Scholarship through the VMI Army ROTC program and has plans to become a Corporal for the India Company at VMI. After graduating from VMI, he plans to serve in the Army Reserves and also work as a sports statistician for a college, and hopefully, professional sports team. When asked about what motivates him, he responds, “I have always tried to live by a very important part in the JROTC Creed, ‘I will always conduct myself to bring credit to family, country, school, and the corps of cadets.’ With the help of the VMI NSBE program, I will accomplish the goals I want to accomplish in life.”