Looking forward to LEAD: CES Airman selected to Academy Prep school
YOKOTA AIR BASE, JAPAN -- When Senior Airman Victoria Rodriguez, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron administration specialist, joined the military, she had no idea what the future would hold.
The Army brat, who calls Fort Hood, Texas, home, has been selected as one of 50 Airmen to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School through the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.
Rodriguez first learned about the LEAD program while stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. At the time, the process turned her off of wanting to apply; however, once she moved to Yokota, she reconsidered submitting an application and found mentors who encouraged her to apply.
"She strongly exhibits all the core values, she has a great positive attitude, she is well spoken and all around she's sharp," said Lt. Col. Christoff Gaub, 374 CES commander. "She was a great enlisted troop and she'll be a great officer leading enlisted in the future."
In addition to her leadership, Rodriguez received mentorship and advice from individuals who have gone through the LEAD program and the Air Force Academy.
"We met in a kickboxing class and later on I found out she was applying for LEAD," said Capt. Karina Glover, 374th Medical Surgical Squadron physician's assistant. "The program is very physically challenging and that was an area she wanted to improve, so I helped."
For those looking at applying to the LEAD program, Rodriguez shares her thoughts.
"Don't let anything stop you," Rodriguez said. "The paperwork is tremendous, but sit down and get through it a little at a time. It'll be worth it in the end."
The Air Force offers a number of programs for those interested in commissioning. Information about the programs can be found at the installation education office and also on the Air Force Portal.