He earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in chemistry in 2002 at the same time the United States was reeling in a post-9/11 world. It was also at this time that Geisert was securing the rank of ensign in the San Diego Naval Reserve Officers Training Corpsâ€™ Commissioning Ceremony that spring.
â€œIt was an impressive ceremony,â€ Geisert said. â€œI was in awe of the caliber of people that were around me. Taking the oath is the biggest thing for me. As a student and now as an instructor, whenever I hear that oath administered, â€˜that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,â€™ and especially in the times we live today â€¦ those words really resonate.â€
Five years later, he returned to the San Diego NROTC, which operates at both USD and San Diego State University, as an officer instructor. Following a year at SDSU, Geisert returned to his alma mater to serve as a freshman officer instructor, recruiting director and orientation director and has enjoyed his time during the 2008-09 school year.
â€œThis (USD) campus is so good to the military, from A to Z,â€ said Geisert, who was able to complete the Master of Science in Global Leadership program through USD’s business school at the end of 2008. â€œThe relationships we have with everyone from Kara Marsh in alumni relations to the staff at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, parking services and more. There are class act people all around our campus.â€
Geisert has done Â his part, too. He was named the 2008 recipient of the Leo A. Codd Memorial Award, given to the junior officers recognized as the most outstanding ROTC instructor from three separate divisions. Geisert, who won for his work in the naval (Navy and Marine Corps combined) division, was recognized during the San Diego NROTC Commissioning Ceremony held on May 22 in the Camino/Founders courtyard. He’s the fourth consecutive San Diego NROTC recipient of the national award.
Compiling the application for submission was a lengthy process. Capt. Mark Woolley, San Diego NROTC’s commanding officer, wrote an eight-page letter of recommendation on Geisert’s behalf. Geisert wrote an essay â€œabout what it meant to be a teacher,â€ and he was videotaped while teaching a class and critiqued by his students in a few classes.
â€œItâ€™s a pretty big deal,â€ he said. â€œThe most important part is what the students said about me and the feedback. Iâ€™m flattered. I know thereâ€™s a lot of stiff competition among the NROTC Navy/Marine Corps instructors.â€
Geisertâ€™s days as an instructor at USD, however, are winding down. He leaves for Dahlgren, Va., on July 1, where heâ€™ll attend Tactical Action Officers School for nine weeks. Heâ€™ll then go to Department Head School for six months in Newport, R.I. Once he completes these tasks, he is scheduled to work aboard the USS Sampson DDG 102 ship in San Diego.
When Geisert Â returns to San Diego, it will give him a chance to visit USD and maintain his close friendships with NROTC staff and former teachers, including Thomas Herrinton, who was once his chemistry advisor and is now assistant provost at USD. Then again, the bond Geisert has developed with USD has had such an effect Â that he doesnâ€™t rule out a future opportunity.
â€œThis is definitely a place that, when I retire from the Navy, Iâ€™ll be looking at an opportunity to get back on campus,â€ he said.
â€” Ryan T. Blystone
For more information on the San Diego NROTC program, click here.