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Erica Leinmiller, '09

Posted: 6/28/2013

Erica Leinmiller, the Head Girl of the Class of 2009, recently graduated with distinguished honors from the United States Naval Academy. She received the Hefflin Prize for Leadership from the Humanities Department and the Pitt Poetry Prize from the English Department. Although she neither anticipated going to a military college nor joining the military, she claims that her involvement with the Holy Spirit Prep Sea Cadets during her high school years helped prepare her for the military life, “The focus on service, commitment, and discipline prepared me mentally for the military mindset.”

Erica is not what you might expect from a disciplined Naval Officer. She enjoys a repertoire of well-rounded interests, including singing, writing, painting and sailing. While at the Academy she sang Alto for the Women’s Glee Club. She was also the president of the Art Club and editor in chief of the Academy’s literary journal, the Labyrinth. “Holy Spirit Prep prepared me well for the academic rigor of college-level courses, making sure I had proper study skills and discipline. Most importantly, it taught me to create relationships with my professors. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Academy, which was greatly influenced by my close relationships with professors in the English and History departments. Mrs. DeFilippi, Dr. Voss, and Mr. Radosta started my love of English, which came to full fruition at the Academy.” She learned to sail during the Academy’s freshman summer training program, also known as ‘Plebe Summer.’ Soon after, Erica joined the Varsity Intercollegiate Sailing team and was named an Academic All-American for Varsity Intercollegiate Sailing in 2012.

Erica was the Director of Academics for the Foreign Affairs Conference, which drew ambassadors, politicians, journalist and students to the Academy. She writes that "In an effort to continue my education and pursue my interests in foreign affairs, I will begin studying for a Masters in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. I am very excited about this opportunity to learn and meet other students from across the globe. After my time at Harvard, I will attend Navy Nuclear Power School in Charleston, and will be assigned to a submarine. The first group of women selected submarines in 2010, so I will have a small sisterhood waiting for me. This is a very challenging community, but I am looking forward to contribution in a concrete, meaningful way to our nation's defense. I hope to be assigned to a fast-attack sub, though women are currently only allowed on "boomers" and SSGNs. I was selected for the submarine community because of my leadership ability and academic standing as well as my desire to join."

Erica is looking forward to marrying Ensign Micah Dose in the summer of 2015. Both of them have selected to spend their five years of required service in submarines. Although they will not be in the same ship, they will most likely be on the same base. They plan on serving the Navy beyond the five-year requirement. We wish Erica the best as she begins graduate work in Harvard and congratulate her and Ben Watson, companymate and fellow alumnus of Holy Spirit Prep, on their graduation from the United States Naval Academy. We look forward to seeing great things from her younger sister, Christina Leinmiller, as she continues her studies in psychology at Georgia Southern University.

Erica in the cockpit of a helicopter.

Erica with her sister, Christina ('11), on graduation day.

Ben Watson ('09) and Erica at the Naval Academy