(D)r. Emma Poveromo: Airman selected for M.D. prep program

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jao’Torey Johnson
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Estranged from family. Working two jobs. Barely making rent. Each day wondering how dinner would be afforded. Living in a neighborhood where caution is the default. All of this at the young age of 16 years old. Emma didn’t see many ways out, and it was even harder to see a bright future for herself.

Before Staff Sgt. Emma Poveromo was a standout medical technician in the U.S. Air Force, she struggled to find stability in life.

“I moved around a lot as kid,” said Emma. “Then, at one point during high school, I was out of my house and barely scraping by as I lived with a friend.”

“Working job after job for the next ten years wasn’t going to cut it, and the military was one of the few options I had.”

For Emma, joining the military was the quickest way to get out of the tough position she was in, both financially and geographically.

Though many of her burdens were alleviated the moment she shipped off to Basic Military Training, she was entering a new world, heading to a new career that she knew little about. That meant new things to worry her.

“I was not optimistic about being a medical technician, at first,” Emma admitted. “Luckily, working with some amazing people at my first duty station was super up-lifting.”

As she excelled in her role as an independent duty medical technician, she began to wonder what the next chapter of her life would hold.

“The doctors I’d work with would ask me about my interests, and I would bashfully say ‘I really like medicine,’” stated Emma. “They’d suggest that I go to medical school, but I never saw that as a realistic option for me.”

“Through tons of encouragement from my friends and mentors, I applied to the Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program with little expectation of being accepted, but I recently found out I was chosen!”

Emma was 1 of 26 enlisted members in the entire Department of Defense selected for the opportunity. The EMDP2 program is a two-year, full-time education program offered by Uniformed Services University School of Medicine. Enlisted members of the military are commissioned upon completion of the program and acceptance to a medical school.

“If you had told 16-year-old Emma ‘you’re going to be a doctor,’ there’s no way I would have believed you,” Emma explained. “But now, not only am I going to do it, I’m going to be PAID by the Air Force to go become a doctor, and that’s so cool!”

Emma admitted that the acclamations she now receives are not hers alone because many individuals along the way have supported her in pivotal moments.

“It’s such a crazy arch, to start where I was several years ago, not knowing how I would afford groceries,” said Emma. “Now, I’m on my way to do something I would have never dreamed about.”

“I just hope I can be that support and influence on someone else someday to follow their heart. I want to pay forward the kindness that was shown to me and help someone the way I was helped at my lowest point.”