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Class of 2009
Allen Grateful She Accepted the Challenge at Navy

Stefanie Allen never imagined she would attend a service academy, yet alone be a platoon commander responsible for nearly 60 U.S. Marines.

But Allen’s worldview changed after she was contacted by Navy women’s tennis coach Keith Puryear in high school. Allen (then Stefanie Ton) wanted to play tennis in college and was considering schools closer to home in California.

Stefanie Allen Played at Navy from 2009-13
© Contributed Photo

She had no family connections to the military, but Puryear’s offer intrigued her. Attending the Naval Academy would be out of her comfort zone, and force her to grow in new ways.

“Honestly, it was a whirlwind. But looking at the school and the structure and the challenge, I just kind of went for it,” Allen said. “I love challenges and I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional tennis player. But I knew I could play tennis for four years, have a job after I graduate and be able to serve my country.”

Allen, 27, graduated from Navy in 2013, and is now a Marine Corps officer. She works as a defense systems analyst in Quantico, Virginia.

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