Smith School Alumna Named No. 1 Cadet in the Nation
When Mariya Golotyuk ’10 moved to the United States from Ukraine, she never
expected that less than a decade later she would be recognized as the U.S. Army
Cadet Command’s Cadet of the Year. Golotyuk, who anticipates graduating with her
MBA in 2012, also captured the top spot on the Order of Merit List, which ranks
all Army ROTC seniors across the nation.
Born in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, Golotyuk was selected to join the
Olympic School for Acrobatics: “I did flips and handstands in my sleep and
through most of the day and night,” she said, adding that she competed all over
Eastern Europe and received a Master’s of Sport when she was 12.
“My life changed dramatically when I was 13. I suffered a very bad injury
during acrobatics practice and spent five months in a hospital bed. As
prescribed by the chief surgeon, I was not to participate in acrobatics any
longer,” Golotyuk recalled. “These were very hard times for me, trained as I was
to exercise daily, because I could not engage in any strenuous activity for a
whole year. It was during this year that I returned to school, determined to
train my brain.”
At 14, Golotyuk transferred to the School for Mathematics and Physics. By the
time she was 15, she was able to take part in sports again: “I made the tennis
team and graduated at 17 with a gold medal.”
After graduation, she entered the Technical University of Kiev to study math
and physics, all the while continuing to play tennis, among other sports.
Golotyuk came to the United States to coach tennis at Trinity College in San
Antonio, Texas. She moved to Washington, D.C., to attend the University of
Maryland, originally intending to study engineering. When many of her credits
from her home country wouldn’t transfer she decided to pursue a bachelor’s
degree in accounting with a minor in economics.
“In Ukraine, you get to apply to one school and all you do is study, study,
study. Here, I got to try different subjects – that was the most exciting thing
for me,” Golotyuk said. “I also got to apply the things I was learning to real
life instead of learning only theories. I got to get out and try stuff. … I
think this school is amazing.”
During her time as an undergraduate, she looked into joining the campus ROTC
program but was unable because she wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Her citizenship came
through two months after she graduated in 2010, and Golotyuk immediately came
back to the Smith School and the university to get her MBA at Shady Grove and to
join the ROTC program.
When she graduates this year, Golotyuk will be commissioned as a military
intelligence officer with the Maryland Army National Guard: “At the University
of Maryland, I encourage our cadets to become champions in everything they do –
champions as students, sons or daughters, cadets, volunteers, and so forth. I
can honestly say that Cadet Mariya Golotyuk is a champion in every aspect of her
life,” Lt. Col. Samuel Cook, professor of military science at the university,
said about her accomplishments.
Jessica Smith, Writer and Editor, Office of Marketing