When Beth Ware walked into her first Naval Junior ROTC class nearly four years ago as a freshman, she barely spoke to anyone.
A self-described introvert, Ware, 18, credits the program with helping her to overcome her shyness.
"It teaches you so many leadership skills," she said. "And I've made great friends. I enjoy it so much. It's just been an awesome experience."
Ware graduated from Carson High School this month with a list of extracurricular activities from the swim and tennis teams to the ROTC's rifle team and student council.
"Being in ROTC just opened me up, and I became more involved in school," she said."It helped me to be more comfortable in front of people."
And she's convinced the best is yet to come, with plans to enter the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 26.
"I'm nervous, but right now I'm mostly excited," Ware said. "I'm starting a new phase in my life, and I'm looking forward to the change and the challenges."
Beth's grandfather was a career military man in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, and her father served in the Air Force.
She carried on the tradition with nominations to both the Air Force and Naval academies from Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Congressman Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.
She had a preference for the Air Force academy and was elated when she was accepted.
"I ran in the house, and I was jumping up and down," she recalled. "I want to make something of myself. I thought if I could serve my country and also be able to fly, it would be the right thing."
She's preparing for basic training by following a strict exercise routine, which includes running, sit-ups and push-ups.
"I'll always feel like there's more I could be doing, but I'm as ready as I can be."
The only child of Glenn and Jane Ware, Ware knows the risks of entering the military.
"I know if I choose a career in the military, there's a possibility I'll have to go to war," she said. "I'm willing to do that."