Maria Martinez admits that when her dad first introduced her to the United States Air Force Academy she was not interested.
However, when she actually began to look into the academy herself, she quickly became enchanted with all the possibilities it had to offer her. A factor that played a huge role in swaying the former Turlock resident was the Foreign Area Studies major.
“I love learning about other languages and cultures,” said Martinez. “The academy has so many opportunities for me to be involved in foreign areas and that is my passion.”
Now, thanks to a nomination from U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), Martinez’s dream to attend the academy is one step closer to becoming a reality.
“When I found out I was nominated, I was so relieved and ecstatic because it really goes a lot towards my future,” said Martinez.
Earlier this week, Denham announced the names of 16 students from California’s 10th District who would earn the title of 2014 service academy nominees to the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland, U.S. Military Academy in New York, and U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
“The Valley is home to so many talented young people,” said Denham. “Each of these individuals has demonstrated an admirable desire to learn and to serve our nation, and their contributions to their communities deserve recognition. I look forward to seeing each of them succeed far into the future.”
To garner the representative’s nomination, Martinez and the 15 other students who were selected had to first go through a rigorous application and interview process. Factors that led to an applicant’s success include academic achievement, leadership ability, physical aptitude, participation in extra-curricular activities, and character demonstration.
“This is a big factor on whether or not I will be accepted into the academy,” said Martinez. “If they see that there is someone of high authority that is willing to back you up and nominate you, that says a lot. This nomination shows a whole lot of support and shows some credibility to who you are.”
This year's nominees are:
Bryce Lew – Manteca – U.S. Naval Academy
Ga’Lhiel Dillard – Modesto – U.S. Military Academy
Tanner Goudeau – Modesto – U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy
Brent Sordo – Modesto – U.S. Air Force Academy
Logan Eaton – Oakdale – U.S. Naval Academy
Jose Martinez – Patterson – U.S. Military Academy
Brooke Sanpei – Patterson – U.S. Air Force Academy
Nathaniel Gagnon – Ripon – U.S. Military Academy
Justin Armijo – Ripon – U.S. Military Academy
Michael Brown – Tracy – U.S. Military Academy
Anthony Cabri – Tracy – U.S. Air Force Academy
Kyle Hewitt – Tracy – U.S. Naval Academy
Maria Martinez – Turlock – U.S. Air Force Academy
John Moody III – Turlock – U.S. Air Force Academy
Joseph Johnson – Waterford – U.S. Air Force Academy
Ellis Valdez – Waterford – U.S. Military Academy