Pahang Native Becomes First M'sian Woman To Graduate From The US Naval Academy
It was a proud day for Janushaa Balakrishnan Muthiah as she became the first Malaysian woman to have completed her studies at the US Naval Academy (USNA), located in Annapolis, Maryland
The senior cadet officer hails from the small town of Kuala Lipis, Pahang, and had dreams of following her grandfather's footsteps by serving in the army when she learnt that he flew Nuri pilots in northern Malaysia during the second counterinsurgency in the 1980s.
Her grit and passion became the driving force for her to become the first ever female Malaysian student at the US Naval Academy (USNA). She entered the Military Studies and Training Degree programme under USNA in 2018 and studied for four years alongside 1,200 other students with the rank of midshipmen.
She has since graduated from the programme in June of this year.
Before her admission to USNA, Janushaa had always been a stellar student, both academically and leadership-wise
In an interview by Free Malaysia Today, Janushaa's proud mother said that Janushaa was a straight-A secondary school student at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Clifford (SMK Clifford) in Kuala Lipis.
She also mentioned that Janushaa attended Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) to do her foundation studies upon the recommendation of her late father.
Janushaa was already a senior cadet officer when she joined USNA, having received that title from being a member of the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM).
Janushaa shared that her first year at USNA was particularly rough for her as the programme was mentally and physically demanding
According to Hype, she recounted her first-year experience as being her most difficult year as she had to excel in different aspects of the course, such as leadership, academics, and physical training. She said that newly-inducted trainees had to go through a gruelling seven-week physical and mental training period called the Summer Plebe Programme.
"Only trainees with high determination and team spirit will help you pass the tough tests and challenges," Janushaa said.
The USNA graduate credits the support of her family as her biggest motivation to continue her studies during tough times, especially when her father passed away while she was still pursuing the programme away from home.
Janushaa attended her graduation ceremony where her achievements were recognised worldwide
Alongside her was fellow Malaysian Putra Nadeem Damanhuri Ahmad Damanhuri, who hails from Petaling Jaya and graduated from the US Air Force Academy.
Janushaa received recognition from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also gave his praise to the USNA graduate, congratulating her on her achievements, and calling Janushaa proof that Malaysians are capable of doing great things on an international level.
The senior cadet officer hopes to pursue aerospace engineering at USNA in the future to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a fighter pilot.