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Why I Serve: Military Family Leads Hispanic Woman to AF Academy

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2004 – "It's the long blue line and lot of prestige. But you don't go to academies just because of the prestige or what people might think of you because you went to the academy,' said Air Force Academy Cadet First Class Cindy A. Nieves. "You go to an academy because of the challenge and opportunities that it presents later on in your future."

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Air Force Academy Cadet First Class Cindy Nieves, who comes from a military family, calls the academy "a great leadership laboratory." Photo by Rudi Williams
  

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Nieves, a native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, said she'd always been around the military with her father in the Air Force and her stepfather in the Navy. She is one of four Hispanic women military-academy cadets honored as up-and-coming leaders in the Hispanic community, during the recently completed National Latina Symposium here.

A senior cadet major majoring in foreign areas studies of Latin America, Nieves is a graduate of Mount Carmel High School in San Diego. She said being a military brat took her to many places she would never have gone otherwise.

"At first, I didn't like it because I didn't appreciate moving around and didn't like it for what it's really worth," said Nieves, the council secretary for the AF Academy's class of 2005. "But my mom said, 'Hey, I think this is something you could do -- go to the Air Force Academy.' I did some research on it and realized the opportunities that it offers. And I felt I was up to the challenge."

Noting that she's "always up for a challenge," Nieves said she's very proud to be attending the academy. She is a member of the academy's Wings of Blue parachute team and has competed at collegiate, regional and national levels.

"I believe the academy is a great leadership laboratory," she said. "And it brings lots of new opportunities into the lives of the cadets. It's an amazing opportunity that we should all take advantage of."

A member of the squadron training staff for the past three fall semesters, Nieves is a squadron training officer this fall. After graduating, Nieves hopes to become an intelligence officer and eventually study law to become a judge advocate.

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Related Sites:
U.S. Air Force Academy
Why I Serve


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