WTAMU Alumna Takes on Officer’s Training, Medical School
A sedentary college life didn’t quite prepare Christina Pool for five weeks of physical training, but the WTAMU alumna tackled the strenuous routine at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., and she is now taking on a new challenge courtesy of the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship program.
Pool, a May 2009 graduate in biochemistry, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USAF (United States Air Force) Medical Service Corps in a special ceremony April 16 on the WTAMU campus. As a commissioned officer, she received a four-year scholarship to cover tuition and fees along with a monthly stipend to help with books and equipment. Plus, she also received a $20,000 bonus to her scholarship and was one of only three percent of the scholarship recipients that got automatic acceptance due to her high MCAT score and overall GPA. The second lieutenant is not on active duty now so she can take advantage of her scholarship at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. That’s a pretty sweet deal for someone who never dreamed she’d have to endure five weeks of physical training, much less get the opportunity to attend medical school.
“Officer’s training was pretty tough,” she said. “There was so much to do—lessons, physical training—but I acclimated to it pretty well.”
And now she is acclimating to life at medical school. At WTAMU Pool was active in the Attebury Honors Program and a member of the University’s Pre-Health Club. That is where she first learned about scholarship opportunities through the military. Members of the armed forces came to talk to the group, and Pool soon began getting emails from recruiters. The scholarship opportunities were attractive to her and lead to her being commissioned as an officer.
Classes began July 26 and during her years of medical school, she will be considered a member of the reserves. In the summers Pool will take part in month-long active duty sessions with the Air Force. After completing her schooling, Pool then will be required to put in one year of active duty for every year of school. During that time, she will be assigned to a USAF base anywhere around the world, and deployment is always a possibility.
“I’ve always been interested in the sciences, and being a doctor fits well into that,” she said.
And being a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force fits well into her plan.