Katherine O'Donnell Lynch ’06: Former Lieutenant, Surface Warfare Officer, United States Navy; Masters in Public Health Candidate, University of California, Berkeley
Ms. Lynch joined the Naval ROTC program her sophomore year at Harvard University and was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer upon graduation in May 2010. She was stationed in San Diego, CA, where she served onboard the USS PREBLE (DDG 88), a guided missile destroyer.
PREBLE was deployed February 2011–September 2011 to the South China Sea, Horn of Africa, and the Western Pacific. Ms. Lynch’s responsibilities included running the electrical department, driving the ship and executing missions including anti-piracy patrols. She and her teammates onboard PREBLE were the first responders to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan after the nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima power plant.
Following her time onboard PREBLE, Ms. Lynch was assigned Destroyer Squadron Seven and was stationed in Singapore. She traveled around South East Asia, embarking many different ships, and planning and executing exercises with Navies in the region. Her proudest moment was coordinating the first at-sea exercise between the US Navy and the Vietnam People’s Navy since the Vietnam War.
Ms. Lynch was selected to be the Flag Aide to the Chief of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. She supported her three-star admiral boss and cultivated his strategic vision. She worked on many personnel and policy issues including maternity leave, retention of talented women, women on submarines and retirement reform.
Ms. Lynch separated from the Navy after 5-1/2 years of service in December 2015 and is now pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at UC Berkeley. She is looking forward to continuing public service in a different capacity. Ms. Lynch credits her discipline, leadership skills, teamwork and dedication to service to her time at Kent Place. Being the only woman in a room doesn’t scare her and she knows it was because she learned not to be afraid to raise her hand in the classroom. Our country needs more strong women with leadership skills and passion in government, military and public service positions and Kent Place is developing this next generation of leaders.