Amanda McDonald, a 2004 Baldwyn graduate, enjoys spending time providing healthcare to others, mentoring young leaders, as well as receiving mentorship and guidance.
Currently, McDonald serves as an Army Captain in a Civil Affairs Battalion in Dallas, Texas. There she leads as a Team Chief and the acting Company Commander. Not only has she worked her way up in military ranks, from E1 to O3, but she is also a Registered Nurse at Baylor University Medical Center and is working on a doctorate degree through a hybrid program at Rush University, located in Chicago, Illinois.
McDonald first began serving her country while still a traditional student at Mississippi State University. There she enlisted in the Mississippi Army National Guard, where she served while in college and achieved the rank of second lieutenant, upon graduation, through Mississippi State’s Army ROTC- Bulldog Battalion. She served the Army ROTC Battalion as an instructor as a 2nd Lieutenant.
She then went to Fort Leonard- Wood, Missouri, and completed her officer basic course. McDonald later received the call to be mobilized to go to war, where she served as a Battle Captain with the 1/185th Aviation Battalion in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Deployment to Iraq
“After all my training and experiences, I was called to be deployed to Iraq in 2011 for nine months where I served as a battle captain, as a 1st Lieutenant, of a full spectrum aviation operation,” McDonald explained. “However, while at war I was very interested in attending nursing school and began the application process while in that country.”
Upon returning from Iraq, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to attend nursing school at Jacksonville University and, simultaneously, served as an observer/controller/trainer for a training battalion at Camp Blanding. There she was able to observe, train, and control to prepare troops for deployment. She completed her bachelors of nursing degree in 2013.
After completing nursing school, McDonald was mobilized once again, and was able to return to her home state while working at Camp Shelby and Grenada. She would later also serve at Fort Dix in New Jersey training Soldiers for deployment. While at Fort Dix, New Jersey, she began working on an advanced degree.
In 2014, she was accepted into Rush University’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program that bridges the master’s and doctorate degrees, which she is currently working on. She has plans to complete her doctorate in 2018.
She is the daughter of Peggy McDonald, formerly of Baldwyn and currently of New Albany. Her father is Marvin Newton, of New Albany as well.
“I naturally fall into leadership positions whether in the civilian world or the military world. I feel that young people and even people my age need some form of mentoring to prepare for them for their future, career aspirations, and to lead,” McDonald noted.
“If I could give anyone advice on their endeavors to succeed, it is do not prescribe to the mindset that you are limited. We all know that depending on our upbringing and background that there are limitations, barriers, and strife that will be there to endure. However, do not think you are limited in what you can accomplish. Your only limitation is your mind set.”
“Life and success are not easy. They take faith, hard work, resilience, discipline, dedication, and limitless thinking.”