Sea Lion Spotlight of the Week: Meet Kyle Dramov

Photo courtesy of Kyle Dramov.

Kyle Dramov, a third-year electrical engineering major with a minor in computer science, is a member of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NROTC) program at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) and leads in multiple avenues on and off campus.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a leadership training program that prepares college students for a future in the military force. 

It is offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities providing scholarship opportunities, professional skills and the potential to attain the rank of an officer in branches including the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and the Space Force.

According to the NROTC home page, selected applicants to the program are offered a full tuition scholarship, a book stipend and other financial benefits. 

The purpose of the program is to “develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty, and with the core values of honor, courage and commitment.”

In high school at West Linn High School in West Linn, Oregon, Dramov knew he wanted to serve in the Navy; but he was also an exceptional football player, with offers to walk onto Division 1 Montana State and California Polytechnic University’s football teams. 

“That was a really hard decision to make [to quit football]. Sometimes it’s still hard to watch football and think about what I could’ve done or could’ve been; but knowing I’m doing what God’s calling me to do, I would never change my decision,” Dramov said.

With only roughly 12 other members of the NROTC program at PLNU, Dramov chose PLNU rather than other schools with a larger program because of the community. 

“The other schools’ ROTC programs tend to look down on underclassmen,” Dramov said. “But at Point Loma, we’re all friends and see each other as the same; which I knew is what I wanted to be around.”

For over a year now, Dramov has served as a PTI (physical training instructor) for the NROTC with another PTI from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Peter Olson.

As PTIs, Dramov and Olson are responsible for creating workouts three days out of the week. 

“I’ve known [Dramov] for two years now, and working with him is great,” Olson said. “He’s really easy to work with and he’s very understanding for when school gets heavy and covers for me.”

Olson said his favorite part about working with Dramov is his enthusiasm.

“He’s always really excited and brings so much energy to whatever we’re doing,” Olson said.

On Tuesdays, Dramov’s day starts at 4:30 a.m. where he leads the workout, then Tuesdays and Thursdays he has a class at UCSD from 7:30-9 p.m. then a class at PLNU at 10 p.m. on top of his major-related classes.

Every week is different for Dramov. Sometimes he has to go lead the workouts on days he usually doesn’t. 

“You never know what you’re going to have to do and it’s not like I can refuse a command,” Dramov said.

With the unpredictability of his weeks, Dramov said it’s taught him how to better organize his time.

“It’s taught me time management and leadership skills,” said Dramov. “It’s taught me how to push through adversity.”

Once Dramov graduates from PLNU, he will be commissioned as an officer in the Navy. 

In the summer of 2024, Dramov will interview for a position in Naval Reactors – designing nuclear reactors for Navy ships and submarines in Washington D.C. – that only two in the United States will receive.  

If selected, Dramov would go to Charleston, South Carolina for school and then later to Washington D.C. where he’d work in the Navy Yard for five years.

If not selected, he would potentially be deployed on a ship or submarine and work as an officer in charge of the reactors.

Dramov said academics is one of his strongest traits, so majoring in electrical engineering to go into the nuclear program is preparing him for a career in the service. He’s learning concepts such as theory, calculus and physics. 

“From the experience I get with circuits and how they work and how to optimize them, I get to apply that toward the reactors themselves,” Dramov said.

Dramov said it was God who inspired him to pursue the Navy, as he doesn’t have any family that served before him. 

In the secular environment that the military can be, Dramov strives to leave an impact with his faith where he can.

“To show your faith in the military isn’t looked good upon,” Dramov said. “Everyone cusses; it almost feels like you have to cuss to get respect, but that’s something I decided not to do. It’s been challenging in that way, but it’s helped me grow.”

Applying his faith in other areas, Dramov serves in the organization, Young Life; a program for middle school, high school and college students to engage in faith throughout middle and high school. 

Dramov was a part of Young Life throughout his middle and high school years. 

He got involved as a leader during his first year at PLNU through the Young Life club and continued through his second year.

Now as a third-year, he wasn’t able to commit to the time anymore with a conflicting class, so he took on leading the club at Point Loma High School.

“I feel like a big brother to those freshmen,” Dramov said. “To be able to help them develop strong core values has been cool to see.” 

During Dramov’s second year at PLNU, he was an Alpha Leader in Hendricks Residence Hall. 

Alpha leaders are upperclassmen who meet with a first-year floor during the week to engage in conversation and growth.

He and his group would often play soccer, spikeball and other outdoor activities to engage with each other and form impactful relationships, Dramov said. 

This year, Dramov serves as a Family Group Leader, where he leads Alpha Leaders. 

“It wasn’t something I was planning on doing, but I’m really glad that I did,” Dramov said. “It’s been really cool to work with the Alpha Leaders and help guide them. It’s awesome to form that community.”

In addition to leading on the training field for the NROTC, Dramov leads on another type of field: a lacrosse field.

Dramov is president of the lacrosse club at PLNU. He schedules practices and games and prepares the team’s jerseys.

While he played football in the fall season of his seventh-grade year throughout high school, Dramov wanted a way to stay in shape during the spring season so he found lacrosse.

Coming in as a first-year at PLNU, Dramov’s sister, Caitilyn Dramov, a 2019 PLNU nursing graduate, introduced him to her friends who wanted to start a lacrosse team and he joined them.

Tyler Millican, the club’s coach since the team formed three years ago, plays for the Los Banditos lacrosse team in the Southern California Post Collegiate Lacrosse League. He’s played for them for three years, and lacrosse for 12.

Knowing Dramov since the founding of the club, Millican has seen him develop as a player and leader in multiple ways.

“He was a great individual player over the last two years, but currently I’ve seen him become very dynamic as a team leader,” said Millican. “He makes great decisions for different styles of play on the field. He helps me lead, even on the sidelines, and helps me teach new players key fundamentals.”

Millican said several seniors graduated last year, so the team has been short players, but Dramov has brought “a whole new set of guys.”

“The group of guys he brought in are extremely excited to be a part of the program,” said Millican. “They love [Dramov] and want to be a part of his program. He not only cares about lacrosse but he cares about the players he brings in.”

In addition to his involvement on campus, Dramov has several campus jobs including working in the weight shed, the admissions office front desk where he’s also a tour guide, the campus visit committee where he creates the tour script and trains tour guides and as a tutor in the engineering department. 

Dramov’s parents have inspired him in multiple ways.

“My mom has pushed me to chase after God,” Dramov said. “She’s always supported me in my faith. I really enjoy golfing with my dad. They’ve both helped me build strong core values.”

Dramov’s dad, Rob Dramov, is a Naturopathic doctor and has his own practice, and his mom, Brenna Dramov, used to work for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), an organization that fosters children.

Two years after Dramov joined the NROTC program, his sister, Caitilyn, was inspired and joined the Naval Nurse Corps, became a Naval Nurse and now works in the Balboa Naval Hospital.

Dramov’s biggest influence, Ryan Jarrell, is who taught him how to build a workout. 

Dramov began training with him in seventh grade for football. 

“He instilled the idea of getting college paid for; he said one of the biggest ways to bless your family is doing that,” Dramov said. “He told me I should wake up and cook eggs for my mom in the mornings, so that’s what I did in eighth grade. Little things like that are what’s shaped me into the man I am today.”

Dramov is engaged and to be married in July 2024. He met his fiance, Maggie Watkins, in high school and they’ve been together for over three and a half years. 

He proposed on their third anniversary at the Oregon Beach. 

“It’s an amazing relationship,” Dramov said. “When COVID hit, we did everything together and we’ve been able to grow together. When we met, we were both 16 years old, so it’s crazy now to see where we’ve come.”

The couple had to do one year of long distance when Dramov came to PLNU as Watkins is a grade under him.

“When you’re committed, [the distance] wasn’t that hard and it’s been really fun to be in college together,” Dramov said.

In his spare time, Dramov likes to play pickleball, go to the beach, go on bike rides and work out.

A piece of advice Dramov would give to someone of faith with a leadership position in a secular environment would be to be bold and stand firm with your beliefs. 

“There’s been a lot of places where I knew I’d stand out because I was doing things differently from everyone; but because I stood out, it’s been a good way to share my faith,” Dramov said. “Have core values and know what’s important to you and you’ll be set. Don’t let anyone change that.”