Meet The 2023 $5,000 Education Award Winner is delighted to announce the Winner of our 2023 $5,000 Education Award – Daniel Reyes!

Congratulations Daniel!!

Daniel grew up in LA and is currently in his 1st year, 3rd semester, in a 2-year Acute Care NP program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. When he has time, he enjoys Nashville and the music scene.

In high school, Daniel was in a medical magnet program and knew his interest was in medicine, but he wasn’t sure of his direction. Upon graduation, Daniel felt college was unattainable due to finances. He is the oldest of 3 so it would be tough on the family financially.

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He knew 2 people who were in the Military, his cousin who was a Marine, and a professor of his who was a Navy Corpsman, so he became interested in the Military. He felt the structure and discipline would help him deal with the rigors of medicine. Daniel joined the Navy as Hospital Corpsman in 2006. The training of Hospital Corpsman has its roots in 2 fundamental training programs based on whether the trainee will be assigned to a Navy (blue-side) or Marine Corps (green-side) unit.

Right after his Hospital Corps training, Daniel was sent to 3rd Battalion/ 10th Marines, an Artillery Battalion based out of Camp Lejeune, NC. For the 7 years he was in the Navy, he stayed green-side with the Marines. He was deployed to Iraq from 2007-2008 and was tasked with doing routine patrols at the port of entries between Iraq and Syria and Iraq and Jordan. During a quick response call, Daniel recalls triaging Syrian refugee patients and called in a medivac for burn victims. Between 2009-2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan where he did logistics work behind the scenes coordinating medical evacuations throughout the region. Daniel was also stationed at Quantico, Camp Pendleton, and Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Overall, he says it was a positive experience where he gained valuable experience as well as leadership and management skills. He said he “considers himself fortunate and feels lucky to have the experience”.

After his 7 years in the military, Daniel moved back to LA where he had a strong foundation and the support of his family. He mentioned he “feels lucky to have their support as not every veteran has their family’s support when they return home.” Back then, the military did not have resources to transition out of military.

Daniel got his Medical Assistant certification. He worked as a Medical Assistant for 1 year. In 2014, he challenged the NCLEX-PN and received his LVN license. He was then employed by Cedars Sinai where he gained valuable outpatient experiences in urgent care, diagnostic radiology, and executive health.

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In 2018, he heard about the Posse Veterans Program at Vassar. The Posse Veterans Program identifies, trains, and supports veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top colleges and universities. Those accepted into the program attend college as part of a team of veterans—a Veterans Posse. Participants receive training prior to matriculating on campus and mentoring once enrolled. In addition, Posse partner colleges provide veterans in the program with supplemental funding to cover the full cost of tuition.

Daniel said it is a Veteran specific program that covers everything the GI bill doesn’t cover. He said “Vassar has outstanding educational resources for grad students who are veterans”.

He finished his undergrad at Vassar in May 2022 with a STS (Science Technology in Society) degree with an emphasis in Public Health and decided to apply to AG-ACNP programs for enrollment immediately following his studies at Vassar. In August 2022, Daniel started Vanderbilt’s MSN Program with a focus in Acute Care. 

When I asked him where he sees himself after graduation, he said he’d like to go back to LA to be near family and work at a community-based hospital like MLK Healthcare. He’d also consider a LA County hospital because of the populations they serve. He wants to work in Community based healthcare with a focus in caring for under-served populations in Adult Geriatric Acute Care.

Daniel is working hard and very grateful to have won this Award. He will graduate in August 2024 - Woohoo!  Congratulations again Daniel!!