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Dreams Take Flight

Air Force ROTC and Civil Air Patrol cadet looks toward an exciting career in aerospace engineering.

Divyne Hutchinson wears a mask and stands in the National Veterans Resource Center
Divyne Hutchinson is a recipient of the Wilder J. Leavitt and Mary P. Morningstar Scholarship for Military-Connected Students, offered through Syracuse University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.

Divyne Hutchinson ’24 has always wanted to fly. The ambitious first-year Syracuse University student has been fascinated by airplanes since she was a child, and after her uncle enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, she was inspired to pursue the same dream.

To get a jumpstart on becoming an aerospace leader, Hutchinson joined the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program as a junior in high school. Open to children and young adults ages 12 through 20, the program develops skills in leadership, aerospace, fitness and character. Hutchinson, who describes herself as shy, says the program taught her to never be afraid of anything. “I was afraid to speak up, but once I joined, all that changed. I participated in activities that I would have never imagined myself doing.”

The Bronx, New York, native got her first glimpse of Syracuse University on the way back from a high school trip to Canada. Perhaps it was the open space to roam and the treelined walkways, but she says the campus made her feel like she was back at St. Kitts in the Caribbean, where she spent some of her childhood. After that visit, chatting with a University representative at her high school, and some research into the aerospace engineering program in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, she knew she wanted to apply.

A Scholarship Opens Up Possibilities

Divyne Hutchinson in uniform
Divyne Hutchinson will earn the commission of second lieutenant in the Air Force when she graduates.

Hutchinson worked extra hard to ensure her grades and test scores would be more than sufficient for admission. To help with the cost of attending, she applied for and received the Wilder J. Leavitt and Mary P. Morningstar Scholarship for Military-Connected Students offered through the University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.

“If it wasn’t for generous donors like Wilder Leavitt and Mary Morningstar, then I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now,” she says. “It takes a lot of financing to achieve your dream, and for donors to continue to give with scholarships like this is a huge help. I know when I reach my goals and I’m at a great place in my life, I am going to give back.”

Hutchinson is now a cadet with the University’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (Air Force ROTC), where upon graduation she’ll earn the commission of second lieutenant in the Air Force in addition to a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering. One of her favorite aspects of Air Force ROTC is the sense of community it provides. “I get to meet people from all different backgrounds as a cadet, and we all learn from each other and help each other,” says Hutchinson. She’s found that there’s a misconception that a student in ROTC is instantly in the military, but she uses that as chance to educate people on the program. The goal is to train students for future service.

Keeping an Eye on the Horizon

As Hutchinson becomes immersed in her coursework, she’s excited about the academic opportunities she’ll have over the next three years. She especially enjoyed her introductory engineering and computer science course with Professor John Dannenhoffer last semester, where she and her classmates got to virtually design, build and test a Mars Rover.

It takes a lot of financing to achieve your dream, and for donors to continue to give with scholarships like this is a huge help.

—Divyne Hutchinson

After graduating, Hutchinson plans to pursue the dream of serving her country. She envisions putting her degree and cadet experience to good use by either becoming a developmental engineer for the Air Force—where she’d design, test and assure the capabilities of systems engineering processes—or perhaps joining the Space Force.

No matter which route she chooses, Hutchinson is confident in the skills she’s gaining from Air Force ROTC and the education she’s receiving, and she knows her Orange connection will be an asset. “Being a part of Syracuse University, I feel welcome anywhere I go, and I’ll be successful in what I want to pursue.”

Lisa Maresca

This story was published on .


Also of Interest

  • Veterans and Military-Connected Students

    Syracuse University ranks among the nation's top schools for veterans, including being named the No. 1 Private School for Veterans by Military Times.

  • Institute for Veterans and Military Families

    The IVMF at Syracuse University is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the post-service lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families to serve those who have served.