Cadet Simone Askew is the first Black woman in the 215-year history of West Point to be the top cadet at the military college.

As the First Captain, the highest position in the cadets chain of command, Askew is aware of the fact that she is making history, but she says that her challenges come in the form of personal problems, not professional ones, and that’s where her focus is.

“I think my mom will tell you that I don’t call her enough,” Askew said. “That’s definitely one of the toughest. It’s difficult when you have a duty to an organization that creates an environment where the work is never ending. In theory, I could work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I’d still have emails to be read.”

In addition to her impressive rank, Askew is on the crew team. She is studying international history and hopes to become a military intelligence officer after she graduates.

“My thesis this year will be regarding genocide prevention,” Askew said.

Askew became interested in joining the military when she was only in elementary school after attending an Army vs. Navy football game, which prompted her to look into West Point.