Mary Cagle (Student)

Mary Cagle, pictured in AFROTC fatigues on the MSU Drill Field.

Coming from a large, supportive family, Mary Cagle knew she wanted to find a university where it feels like home but also offers new experiences. The junior electrical engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama, said Mississippi State has been just the place she needed for the chance to soar.

“Being an electrical engineering major is a lot of work, but I love it. My professors have been really good, and I like the challenge of keeping up with my classes. We are learning the basics of different materials and how to build on those fundamentals,” said Cagle, who’s also a student in MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College.

As a scholarship member of MSU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 425, Cagle is proud to carry on her family’s military tradition at a university with its own rich history. Her grandparents were in the military, and her brother Kevin, an MSU senior computer science major and fellow AFROTC cadet, aspires to be an Air Force pilot. Her other brother Lucas, who holds an MSU bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, currently is pursuing a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering at MSU.

“It’s been pretty nice to have them here,” Cagle said of her siblings. “Getting out of my comfort zone has been easier.”

Cagle said her future goals include entering active duty with the Air Force and working in cyberware operations for a private contractor company. To prepare, she has taken advantage of opportunities to learn, grow and make friends through the Arnold Air Society, an AFROTC service group that serves as a memorial to legendary World War II General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold. In 2017, the university’s Detachment 425 defeated a University of Tennessee, Knoxville peer organization in competition to become the society’s national headquarters.

“The Arnold Air Society is like a family within the AFROTC family because we get to know each other by spending time doing things together. It’s really cool,” Cagle said.

In addition to her Air Force involvement, Cagle has found a sense of family through her participation in MSU’s club Frisbee team, one of many activities offered through University Recreation’s Sports Clubs program.

“I’ve played basketball all of my life, and I used to play Frisbee with my family in high school,” she said. “I went into an interest meeting for the Frisbee team during freshman year at State, and then I decided to join. It’s nice to have other girls to get to know and compete with; we’re like a nice little family.”