When Holly Harrison *09 first applied to the Coast Guard Academy, she was turned down because she didn't meet the eyesight requirements. But she applied again and was accepted after the vision standard for officers was adjusted, opening the way for a distinguished career. In 2003 Lt. Commander Harrison became the first woman to command a Coast Guard ship in a combat zone as the captain of the Aquidneck, a 110-foot cutter deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Later that year she was awarded the Bronze Star medal in recognition of her "meritorious achievement in combat operations, uncommon bravery, unparalleled leadership, and tactical brilliance."

Earning her master's degree in public policy, Harrison said she enjoyed the "diverse perspectives" of her colleagues: "My Princeton experience was really about the people at the Woodrow Wilson School." She currently is a program reviewer in the Office of Budget and Programs at Coast Guard headquarters, and the White House announced June 22 that Harrison has been chosen as one of 13 White House fellows for 2010-11. Fellows are selected on the basis of professional achievement, leadership potential, and commitment to public service. After the fellowship, Harrison figures it will be time to get back to sea -- she hopes there will be a 270-foot cutter awaiting her next tour of duty.

(Photo courtesy Holly Harrison *09)

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