Alumnae in the Military

Meet five women who put the leadership skills they acquired at Barnard to use by serving in the Army, Air Force, and Marines.

Adrienne Serbaroli '02

Quantico, VA

After completing her law degree at Roger Williams University, First Lieutenant Adrienne Serbaroli was looking for a nontraditional way to use her education. “As a Barnard woman, I was taught to be a leader in any field that I go into, and I wanted to serve the community by serving my country,” she says. That goal led her to the Marine Corps, where for nearly four years she has served as a Judge Advocate, assembling, preparing and litigating cases, and advising Marines on legal issues. Read more...



Katherine Diefenbach '04

Washington, DC

No one was more surprised than Katherine Diefenbach by her career choice. “When I was college-searching with my dad, he asked me if I’d be interested in going to a military academy,” she recalls. “I said, ‘No,’ flat-out.” But 9/11 changed her mind. Diefenbach was a sophomore at Barnard when she saw the Twin Towers burn and crumble to the ground. Afterward, she felt driven to serve her country by becoming an officer in the Army. Read more...




Bonnie O'Leary '45

Aurora, CO

When Japanese troops bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bonnie O’Leary wanted to drop out of the University of Texas and join the service. But O’Leary’s father, who had been a USMC colonel, told her to finish college first. She completed her degree at Barnard, then began working in New York as an actress and assistant television director for ABC’s Pulitzer Prize Playhouse. Read more...




Irene Berman Overholts '07

Shreveport, LA

For Irene Berman Overholts, joining the military felt like the natural thing to do. She grew up in Hawaii, where the U.S. military is a major presence, and her grandfather had served as a Marine. After graduating with a degree in history, she received a commission in the Air Force, for which she applied during her senior year. Read more...




Natalie Lopez-Barnard '10

Washington, DC

Many recent graduates struggle to find a sense of direction after college. But 22-year-old Natalie Lopez-Barnard, a commissioned ROTC second lieutenant, already has her immediate future mapped out. Lopez-Barnard entered the Army ROTC’s training program at Fordham University while studying psychology at Barnard and finished both programs about the same time. Read more...