Pharmacy Student Receives Two-Year Scholarship From the Air Force

By Colby Gallagher

Published on February 8, 2019

Eric Stratoti PharmD'20 received the Air Force Health Professions ScholarshipPaying for a college degree and finding a job after graduation can be a stressful experience, but pharmacy student, Eric Stratoti PharmD’20, will be fully able to focus on his studies thanks to the military.

Stratoti received the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship, an honor that will pay for the remaining two years of his USciences doctor of pharmacy degree. He’ll then serve as a pharmacist for the United States Air Force.

“It really is life-changing and I’m truly blessed,” Stratoti said.

Stratoti always knew he wanted to serve the country in some way, but didn’t know how exactly he could do it. As a student, he learned about military scholarships. It took many conversations with recruiters before Stratoti found one that specialized in healthcare professionals.

“One of the two major tasks I had to do was go through Military Entrance Processing Station training, which is what any person who wants to join the military must go through. I had to arrive at the site at 6 a.m. to go through extensive physical tests that included blood work, drug tests, mobility, hearing and vision exams, and more,” he said. “The second major task was being interviewed by a lieutenant colonel over the phone. She ended up telling my recruiter that my interview was terrific and that she would recommend me. After that interview, I just had to play the waiting game.”

He realizes that fellow students don’t think of a healthcare career in the military and urges other students to consider the nontraditional route.

“Do not just limit yourself to retail or hospital unless you are certain you want to do that,” said Stratoti. “There are so many teachers at this school that have practiced in many different aspects of pharmacy and they are here for you. Reach out and talk to faculty, they’ll lead you in the right direction.”

Those connections are part of what he said makes USciences unique.

“If you put in a lot of time studying and have confidence in yourself, then there is no doubt that you will do well. I recommend really finding a friend group to study with because they end up being your family and support system,” he said. “I personally am not sure if I would still be here without my friend group, they constantly push me to be better.”

He also encourages other students to not be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from faculty or fellow students.

Stratoti is moving forward with a plan in mind, one that will give him an extra push toward graduation.

“I can’t think of a better job than to serve and defend this country while taking care of the people in it,” he said.

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