This fall, Alexia Pearah ’19 took the oath of office and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps.
Alexia’s military aspirations began during her freshman year at Florida Tech, when she became close friends with First Lieutenant Jessica Kerney ’17, who is now an active-duty UH-60 Blackhawk pilot, and learned about Florida Tech’s ROTC program.
Having never considered joining the Army before, Alexia asked the military science department about the ROTC program at the beginning of her sophomore year. She took the Army’s physical fitness test the next day, and the rest is history.
A self-described “super girly girl who didn’t get her hands dirty” when she first showed up to the military office, Alexia says she wasn’t expected to make it through the program. But by the end of the first semester, she was awarded a scholarship and is now one of the program’s top graduates.
It was not a straightforward journey through ROTC for Alexia, though. In November 2017, she tore her ACL during the Savage Race, preparing to compete as part of Florida Tech’s team for Ranger Challenge, ROTC’s varsity sport.
“Somewhere after mile five, I fell off an obstacle and tore my ACL,” Alexia says. “It was the biggest physical and mental challenge I had ever experienced.”
The injury was a large setback for Alexia, and it made her college life more challenging. As she adapted to studying in the hospital and completed extensive rehabilitation, she continued keeping up with her ROTC and schoolwork commitments, all the while drawing motivation from her favorite quote:
“Things may come to those who wait but only the things left by those who hustle.”
Her relentless determination paid off, and she accomplished her personal goal of maxing out in the Army physical fitness test this February, just as she used to before surgery.
Since Alexia’s passion for medicine extends past her personal injuries, studying biomedical sciences at Florida Tech was an ideal fit. She found the coursework, consisting of cell and molecular biology and human anatomy and physiology, to be a great step toward her ultimate goal to become an Army surgeon.
Currently, Alexia is working as a medical scribe in Holmes Regional Medical Center’s emergency room, which she describes as “one of the coolest jobs,” working hands-on with interesting cases in Brevard County’s only trauma center. As well asworking as the Gold Bar Recruiter in the ROTC military office on campus.
While a cadet at Florida Tech, Alexia interned at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, where she returned this summer for an internship in orthopedic surgery, during which she flew in a helicopter with Army medevac pilots.
Alexia is originally from Puerto Rico, but she moved to Brevard County as a child and has lived there ever since. Her large family and two cats—named Elizabeth and Jane (Bennett) in a nod to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudiceand her own fascination with British culture—are her support system, and her youngest siblings are her motivation to be successful.
“I have a big family, and it’s like we are our own little football team,” Alexia says. “We train together, and we fight through every obstacle life throws at us, together.”
Her next adventure will come early next year, when she will head to Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC) training to learn the fundamental requirements for her field.
“I head to BOLC in March 2020, which is in San Antonio, Texas, where I will learn the basics of my job,” she says. “And from there, we will see where the Army takes me.”