First-year med. student receives Air Force scholarship at 18

Maria Kravchenko pauses for a photo with family friends, retired Brig. Gen. James Albritton and his wife, Pat, after stating the Oath of Office in Gainesville on Aug. 7. The newly commissioned 18-year-old Air Force Reserve recieved the Air Force Medical Corps Health Professions Scholarship.

While most students her age are adjusting to their first semester of college, Maria Kravchenko is studying anatomy in her first-year of medical school at the University of Florida.

You might say 18-year-old Maria Kravchenko, a Ukranian-born U.S. citizen is a bit advanced for her age. In fact, she recently was commissioned into the Air Force Reserve.

Kravenchenko, who received her bachelor’s degree from UF in May and began medical school in August, was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Corps Health Professions Scholarship program, which provides tuition, fees, books, equipment and other various expenses during her four years in medical school. Additionally, she qualified and accepted the $20,000 Critical Skills Accession Bonus offered through Sept. 30, 2009.

“I saw the Air Force scholarship as a great alternative to loans for paying for medical school,” Kravchenko said.

As early as age 14, Kravchenko earned her high school equivalency diploma and began taking college classes. She says her home-schooling discipline prepared her well for the challenges of attending college and medical school at such an early age.

“Medical school is challenging but very rewarding,” Kravchenko said. I think becoming a doctor will give me an opportunity to give back to society.”

“This scholarship is ideal for students, such as Maria, who take their education seriously, look forward to gaining leadership skills and just seek the means to meet their goals of becoming a medical professional,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Archuleta, the 336th Recruiting Squadron Health Professions recruiter assisting Ms. Kravchenko.”

On Aug. 7, Kravchenko was commissioned as an Air Force Reserve second lieutenant by retired Brig. Gen. James Albritton, a friend of the Kravchenko family. Kravchenko will serve on inactive-duty status during her medical school training. In return, she will serve 45 days of active duty per year, during which she will receive pay and entitlements, and attend Officer Training School and medical officer training.

After graduating from medical school, Lt. Kravchenko will be promoted to captain and complete postgraduate training while serving on active-duty status in a military medical facility or in a civilian residency program. She will then fulfill a minimum of four years on active-duty service- one year for every year of medical school sponsored.