Leading the Way

KATHLEEN CONCIALDI | August 29, 2016

Tyler Borch, industrial and systems engineering senior, pursues his dream of becoming a naval officer.

The Borch family (from left to right): Kyle Borch; Chris Borch (father); Cameron Borch; Tyler Borch (center, in uniform); Andrea Borch (mother); Allison Borch. Photo courtesy of Tyler Borch

The Borch family (from left to right): Kyle Borch; Chris Borch (father); Cameron Borch; Tyler Borch (center, in uniform); Andrea Borch (mother); Allison Borch. Photo courtesy of Tyler Borch

When Tyler Borch was 10 years old, he went with his family to Virginia to watch his uncle’s retirement ceremony after 25 years in the U.S. Army; he was impressed with the military history, the museums in the area, and the splendor and professionalism of the ranking officers and soldiers at the ceremony. He knew then that he wanted to pursue a career in the military.

When it came time to graduate high school and decide on a military branch, Borch remembered his uncle, a colonel, who graduated from Davidson College in the Army ROTC, and his grandfather, who graduated with the USC NROTC in 1945. Ultimately, he decided he wanted to join the Navy. Growing up as a swimmer and water polo player, it was a natural choice. He considered Annapolis but decided to attend USC to fulfill his dream of military service while also receiving the traditional and socially balanced college experience.

“The Academy is great,” Borch said, “but I wanted that enhanced college experience at USC.”

Tyler Borch

Tyler Borch

This fall, Borch will begin his senior year in USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, focusing on information systems and operations. He has also been an active member of USC’s Naval Reserve Officers Training (NROTC) program for the past three years.

The connection between the Navy and ISE is clear to Borch. “The Navy is very technology oriented,” Borch said. “Everything is a process from training, to missions, to deployments and ISE covered such a broad base of technology and process based understanding.” Studying ISE has given him the opportunity to look at the bigger picture of information and operations systems. Studying the processes and sub-processes of operations and logistics, he’s confident his time at ISE will help him dissect and diagnose operations issues within the Navy.

Along with his ISE classes, Borch — with all Naval ROTC students — takes a Naval Science class each semester where he studies subjects ranging from naval history, weapons systems, leadership and ethics, among others.  As a member of the NROTC Trojan Battalion, Borch has received considerable exposure to multiple branches of the military, from mentors, active duty naval officers and guest speakers, which have fostered a strong and unique support system which he believes has prepared him for a career in the military.

The most memorable things about his time in ROTC has been the people he is around. Said Borch, “ROTC brings together people who want to be in the military, want to serve their country, who are ambitious and are willing to lead and listen. The friends I have made have been lifelong friends, and I look forward to my future.”

This fall, Borch will serve as a 70-person battalion commander in the ROTC Trojan Battalion – a position he was chosen for by his commanding officer to represent the USC NROTC midshipmen.

“I hope that just as USC has given me an invaluable learning and growing opportunity to pursue my dreams, I will also be able to give back and help support the aspirations of future leaders who will inevitably find themselves at SC,“ Borch said.

But before starting his fall semester, he spent three weeks of his summer in Coronado, California with the Navy on his “Summer Cruise”: a three-week screening process which involved a variety of physical, leadership, and teamwork tests to help figure out which community in the Navy he will best serve. Upon passing this selection screening, Borch and his classmates will find out their service assignments in the fall, based on their Summer Cruises, and will be commissioned officers upon graduation.

Borch’s father, Chris, said, “I’m still fascinated to think that Tyler’s grandfather stood on the steps of the current NROTC building in 1945 with his just-commissioned classmates, and next year, 72 years later, Tyler and his buddies will be doing the same.”

The Borch family is no stranger to USC. Borch’s younger brother, Cameron, will begin his sophomore year in ISE and his older brother, Kyle, is a graduate student in mechanical engineering and engineering management.

“We were always together,” Borch remembered. “We went to the same high school; we swam and played water polo together.”

Older brother, Kyle, helped him navigate college life, but then gave him the space to figure it out on his own. They now live together off campus. “Since he’s the oldest in the house, my roommates and I call him dad and put a USC Dad decal on his door,” Borch said. And they now give younger brother, Cameron, the same advice.

Borch said, “I’ve been brought up in a family that values service to others because what we are given isn’t just by chance. Plenty of people have served to maintain and protect our freedom, and I feel it’s my obligation to follow this path as well. Giving back to my country gives me a great sense of pride and motivation to succeed.”