Navy gives Nash a shortcut

Jan Garrison

Immediate Scholarship Reservation


November 19, 2021

Sophie Nash is taking a shortcut.

Actually, the Culver Girls Academy senior from Columbus, Indiana, so impressed the Navy personnel reviewing her application for an NROTC scholarship, they are providing her one.

Tuesday afternoon, Cmdr. Paolo J. Singh (above), the commanding officer of the Navy Talent Acquisition Group Heartland presented Nash with a special NROTC scholarship valued at $180,000 that she can take with her to the college of her choice. Singh said his Detroit office, which covers all of Michigan, Indiana, and northwest Ohio, has four to five such Immediate Scholarship Reservations to award each year. The commander’s decision allows students to bypass the entire board review process.

In a brief ceremony outside the Legion Memorial Building, Singh told Nash that after looking over her records and “your terrific interview with us this morning, we know you are driven. We know that you want to serve and that you have lots, not just to gain from the Navy, but to give as well. Everybody should be very proud of you.”

Singh added that “one thing I’ve learned, and I know my fellow sailors here will agree, is that we are who we are because we’re built on the people around us, who have helped us grow and shepherded us to become who we are.”

“And, so with that, I want to thank the family, loved ones, and teachers. I can say that Sophie called you out specifically during the interview this morning. Thank you for everything you have done to support Sophie.”

He also presented Nash with a Navy challenge coin, which is a tradition from the Army Air Corps (now Air Force) and Navy pilots. A former fighter pilot, Singh offered her the first coin of “your collection.”

Nash told the group she asked them to attend the ceremony because “all of you are either my best friends or people that I love. Thank you all for coming. It means a lot, obviously, because you made me who I am.”


Sophie Nash surrounded by family, friends, faculty and staff members.


Nash, who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT, said she was searching for an opportunity to serve and to put all her hard work to use in a tangible, good way. Applying for the ROTC didn’t enter her mind until she talked with 2021 graduates Deven Sukha, Lexie Allen, and Slade Streeter about their reasons for wanting to combine college and the military, either through one of the academies or the ROTC program.

If she had stayed in Columbus, Nash said wouldn’t have thought about the NROTC. “It isn’t a thing back home.” And, she added, it is not a lifestyle that many of her friends – at home or Culver – would choose.

But, to her, “It just sounds exciting. I want to travel the world, I want to help people and I, admittedly, never want to stop moving and the military seems like the perfect place for all of that. I’ll get to explore the world, understand other people – which is something I really want to do – have perspectives of people from other places. It calls to me.”

And, with the Immediate Scholarship Reservation, Nash believes everything has now fallen into place. All she needs is to hear back from her college choices. Duke University is her No. 1.

“I didn’t even know last year what I wanted to with my life." she said. "But after talking to people, I started to figure it out and it feels like the right thing to do.”

“I’m glad I found it.”

More Recent News