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Airman commissions, begins journey to becoming a doctor

Airman commissions, begins journey to become a doctor

Staff Sgt. Isidora Monteparo, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 109th Medical Group, has the rank of second lieutenant pinned on by her sister, Staff Sgt. Esmeralda Monteparo and Maj. (Dr.) Kevin Jones, during a ceremony here March 3 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie J. Lambert)

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Staff Sgt. Isidora Monteparo, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 109th Medical Group, was commissioned to second lieutenant, during a ceremony here March 4th.

This commission is just the first step in her journey to become a doctor in the active duty Air Force through the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program.

The scholarship program affords eligible students the opportunity to receive full tuition at any accredited United States medical school located within the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico as well as a stipend, according to the U.S. Air Force.

Monteparo said she has been accepted and plans to attend New York Medical College.

She initially entered the 109th AW at the urging of her sister, who is also an Airman here, after she was not accepted into the Physician’s Assistant program at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

“I made it to the last round of interviews and was cut for not having any experience so I decided why not go all the way and become a doctor,” said Monteparo.

She said she used the State Tuition Assistance Program to get her bachelor’s degree in three and a half years while never missing a drill and still found time to volunteer on base.

Monteparo first learned about HPSP from an email she received and said she was then encouraged by Airmen in her unit.

“Not starting my career in debt is a huge plus,” said Monteparo.

Monteparo said she received invaluable hands-on training in the Air National Guard which she credits as the reason she was accepted into NYMC.

“The Air Force prepared me for the real-life situations I will encounter as a doctor through the hands on training during technical school,” said Monteparo.

Col. Janice Zautner, 109th Medical Group commander, said she was sad to see Monteparo leave the unit but knew she would excel in her new endeavor.

“It’s bittersweet, while we’re all proud of her accomplishment, we will miss her; we hope she finds her way back to our unit someday,” said Zautner.

“I would absolutely come back to the 109th if I have the opportunity after my commitment is fulfilled in the active duty Air Force,” said Monteparo.

Monteparo said the most challenging aspect will be the culture shock of transitioning from the ANG to active duty Air Force.

“You have to simultaneously learn how to embody an officer and be a medical student,” said Monteparo.

Monteparo’s favorite quote is something her mother said to her often, “someone who is full doesn’t know what it’s like to be hungry; compassion is key.”