I was born and raised in Guatemala, and after migrating to the United States in the early 1990s, I developed a sincere appreciation for our country's way of life. My appreciation manifested into public service to the American people, so I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I was 23 at the time, and little older than the average Marine, with the intention to serve as long as my body would allow-20 years, at least. Unfortunately, my career was cut short. A lower back injury ended my career shortly after the 10-year mark, leaving me in a dark place where I had to piece my life together. Despite the circumstances, the Marine Corps prepared me to take on the next chapter of my life.
I was medically separated in December 2013, and hit the floor running. Less than 30 days after my discharge, and capitalizing on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, I started a Master of Public Administration program. While pursuing my graduate degree, I applied to several federal, state, and local government positions. Within 5 months of being discharged, I interviewed (and was hired) for a Management Analyst position with the Federal Aviation Administration. I worked and studied concurrently until graduating in May 2015.
My military experience coupled with my education gave me the confidence to pursue the federal government's premier leadership development program, the Presidential Management Fellowship. I am now one of 2015's Presidential Management Fellows working at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Washington, DC.