Though uniformity and standardization are hallmarks of the military, the stories behind the people in Florida Tech’s ROTC program are anything but. As Black History Month concludes, here is a snapshot of two unique men and their paths to Panther Battalion.
For Lt. Isiah Mossiah ’20 and Cadet Mehki Tabron, a junior aviation management major, their paths to Florida Tech and the Panther Battalion were different but, thanks to family and friends, both were rewarding and enriching.
Starting at the university in 2016, Mosiah worked on both his molecular biology undergraduate degree and his master’s in biotechnology as part of the university’s FastTrack program. In fall 2020, he graduated with the bachelor’s degree, then graduated with the master’s degree the following spring.
This approach was undertaken with history in mind, Mossiah said.
“There was a lot done for black people in America to really advance and improve, and I just wanted to not let that progress go to waste and I wanted to make sure I was a good example for those around me,” he said. “Just because you don’t see a lot of people that look like you in these types of positions, doesn’t mean you can’t be that person that does it.”
When asked about what skills he learned through his time with the Panther Battalion, Mossiah noted clear and concise communication, which helps in his job at a biotech company. He also said that his ROTC experience gave him the ability to lead and work with many types of personalities.
While Mossiah is from Brevard County, Tabron’s journey to Florida Tech started in Prince George’s County, just outside of Washington, D.C. In high school, Tabron was part of the Tuskegee NEXT program, which provides flight training, a life skills program and educational assistance to underrepresented communities. His participation allowed Tabron to realize that being pilot might not be for him. What really interested him was aviation management. At Florida Tech, he saw an opportunity to not only focus on that area but also become part of the ROTC program.
Both Mossiah and Tabron were influenced by those around them.
For Mossiah, that included his parents and a high school guidance counselor who suggested that he try JROTC. For Tabron, the motivation to succeed came from seeing the sacrifices his parents – his “MVPs,” he calls them – made for him to go to college, as well as seeing friends who want to go to college but may not have the opportunity.
“Since starting school, both my mom and dad have been doing multiple jobs and working overtime to help me out as much as they can,” Tabron said. “As far as my friends I know who want to attend college, they are a huge motivator for me because I want to show them that anything is possible with dedication.”
Currently, Mossiah is in the Army Reserves doing logistics, which is a pivot from his usual biotech work. He also coaches basketball and is involved in his church. Tabron plans on joining active duty after graduation. He also is currently a member of Florida Tech’s Black Student Union.
However, there is still work to be done.
“There’s different things I was able to accomplish that I’m definitely proud of that I’ve done but I understand that you’re never done, and you can never be satisfied,” Mossiah said. “It’s always moving forward, improving and getting better.”