Paula Ornelas, a third-year PharmD student, is one of five recipients in the nation selected for the United States Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). This prestigious scholarship aims to support aspiring healthcare professionals across the nation. The scholarship covers a wide array of expenses, including tuition, fees, textbooks, essential equipment, and living expenses.

Upon accepting the scholarship, Ornelas was commissioned into the United States Air Force with the rank of Second Lieutenant. This commission not only symbolizes her dedication to serving in the Air Force but also marks the beginning of a promising journey within the healthcare system.

“Drake does an excellent job providing students with opportunities to connect with representatives from various health professions,” said Ornelas. “If the college had never hosted USAF representatives in the atrium, I would have never known of this career path. From that point on, I was met with an immense amount of support from our faculty who were eager and willing to help write letters of recommendation and perfect my resume.”

Upon successful completion of her PharmD program, Ornelas is slated to be promoted to the distinguished rank of Officer. This elevation in her military status signifies not only her academic accomplishments but also her readiness to contribute her expertise to the healthcare needs of the Air Force. With this scholarship and commission, Ornelas is poised to make significant strides in both her academic and military pursuits, exemplifying the excellence that Drake students strive to achieve.

“Paula Ornelas embodies the epitome of dedication and excellence that Drake students are well known for, and is a shining example of how passion and perseverance pave the path to remarkable achievements,” said Chuck Phillips, interim dean and professor. “Her receipt of one of five national scholarships for the US Air Force is a testament to her unwavering commitment and the bright future she has ahead of her.”