By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and TransitionSeptember 22, 2017
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but for 1st Lt. Adriana De Hoyos, it opened up a world of possibilities for her future.
"I think I have always been a person that has an interest in many things. Maybe it's because I have moved around so much in my life, I've always tried to be a well-rounded person," De Hoyos said.
A self-proclaimed Army brat, the Army medical surgical registered nurse says she's used to change. She moved 11 times before the age of 18. There's no denying her family legacy set the path for her career, her Grandfather served in the Army as an engineer and her father is retiring in October 2017 after 31 years active service in the Army. The Oklahoma native joined the Army in 2012.
"I think I saw strong role models in my grandfather and father and I wanted to continue the legacy. I also felt a strong longing to help people and the Army was my ticket to accomplish that," she said.
After serving in the military for five years and after suffering from several injuries, De Hoyos began focusing on her future in a field on the opposite side of the spectrum which led her to rediscover an adolescent dream.
"I remember when I was in high school I had that strong calling to help others but also a passion for art. I think my family and teachers opened the idea of nursing to me because it is a diverse field with different types of nursing," De Hoyos said. "I always had an interest in sciences and medicine but never really thought it would be the start of my career until there was a need for Army Nurses and more open doors with nursing than with art at the time," she said.
These days, De Hoyos is following up with that passion, as she heals at Fort Belvoir's Warrior Transition Battalion. She began an internship through the Operation Warfighter program that matches qualified wounded, ill and injured service members with non-funded federal internships in order for them to gain valuable work experience during their recovery and rehabilitation. This process assists with the service members' reintegration to duty, or transition into the civilian work environment where they are able to employ their newly acquired skills in a non-military work setting.
In April 2016, she began her internship assignment with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Public Affairs Office in Quantico, Va., working with a team of graphic artists.
"The WTB helped me, and it was the people there who believed in me from my social worker Peter Alphin to the Occupational Therapy Team and even the service dog training program. This has been a place where I think I have learned so much more about myself and was able to heal in more ways than one," De Hoyos said. "I have been with NCIS as an intern for a little over a year and have really grown in the graphic design skillset. I think initially when someone joins the WTB, there is a concern for your health, your future and your family. I think time is your best ally; taking time to compose yourself, get the treatment you need, figure out what else you are good at or interested and try," she said.
"1st Lt. De Hoyos is a prime example of the type of Soldier we love to see. She learned to focus on her abilities rather than disabilities and did not allow failure or loss to get in the way. She's a great example for all to follow. Her persistence, motivation, and courage in spite of physical, mental or emotional injuries and fears are admired," said Fort Belvoir's Warrior Transition Battalion Coordinator Manny Febo-Colon.
De Hoyos has a lesson for her fellow Soldiers in the midst of returning to duty or transitioning. "Try something new, and that being afraid is normal but go ahead and do things you have always wanted to do."
My family's love, patience and unconditional love was also key in my healing and recovery."
De Hoyos was recently accepted into the Graphic Design Certificate Program at George Mason University. In the future, she hopes to design medical textbooks and prosthetics. She will medically retire on December 29, 2017.