Veterinary students sweep Air Force's scholarships for public health officers
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014
MANHATTAN -- Two Kansas State University veterinary students recently earned their "wings."
First-year students Erica Hamman, Topeka, and Megan Guyan, Colfax, Calif., have been sworn in as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force. The students were officially commissioned by being the recipients of the U.S. Air Force's scholarship for public health officers in its Biomedical Sciences Corps. Their oaths were administered by second-year veterinary medicine student Ashley Kelican, Centennial, Colo., who won the same scholarship last year.
Air Force Master Sgt. Brett Diaz, a recruiter from Oklahoma City, stopped in Manhattan to officially present this year's scholarships.
"These were the only two scholarship recipients selected out of the entire nation this year," Diaz said. "Out of 14 applicants who qualified, these two stood out mostly because of leadership ability and community service. We're looking at future leaders. Public health officers are our front line of defense. They go in to make sure it's a safe environment before we send out troops."
"At first I was nervous to apply since there would be no clinical work with animals," Hamman said. "I realized there are many different opportunities available with a degree in a veterinary medicine, not just the typical small animal or large animal veterinarian. This opportunity also allows me to step outside of my comfort zone and travel the world without the worry of paying off my student debts. At this point in time I believe I will make a lifelong career out of being a public health officer and look forward to this new beginning."
"This program is an excellent fit for me because it is an opportunity to serve my country with the skill set I will attain at the College of Veterinary Medicine," Guyan said. "I feel I thrive in leadership positions and as a public health officer, I will have the ability to positively impact the health of airmen by being an effective leader. In addition, I find preventative medicine to be the most rewarding medicine. As a public health officer, it will be my duty to efficiently and strategically prevent illness. With a DVM degree, we have an excellent understanding of epidemiology that can be well-applied to human and animal populations."
The scholarship pays tuition for the second, third and fourth year of veterinary school. Each student receives a monthly stipend of $2,200 for books and fees. During summer breaks, the students are on active-duty orders for 30 days. Upon graduating with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, the students will be commissioned as captains at the O-3 level, and receive commissioned officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. They are obligated to serve three years of active duty and will be stationed according to preference and need.
"The selection of Erica Hamman and Megan Guyan for these scholarships reminds us again of the quality of our students and the veterinary educational experience we offer here at Kansas State University," said Ronnie Elmore, associate dean of admissions, academic programs and diversity programs for the College of Veterinary Medicine. "We are grateful and proud that our students are willing to make this commitment to serve our country in uniform following graduation. Not only are we educating veterinarians, but we are also helping our students hone their leadership skills."