FORT MEADE, Md. – Like any other Soldier, Spc. Keylin Jasmin Perez easily blends into daily Army formations, but the closer one looks, the more she stands head and shoulders above the average service member.
The Army Reserve Soldier is an ROTC cadet sergeant major, honors student, cheerleader, beauty pageant contestant and podcast host who won the 200th Military Police Command Best Warrior competition in 2019. Oh, she has also qualified on the M4, M17 and Mark 19 as a fun little extra.
“I like to keep myself very occupied,” the Army Supply Specialist said. “I feel like when I’m not doing anything, I get trapped and start asking myself, ‘What else can I be doing?’”
That drive pushes her to achieve great things. The first-generation college student in her family has earned her way into the honors program at Coppin State University, and she’s a member of the Alpha Lamba Delta honor society. She’s studying nursing with a goal of serving the Army in that capacity for the rest of her military career.
“My long-term goal is to be a nurse anaesthetist and a psych nurse on active duty, so I’m competing (for that) when I graduate from the ROTC program,” she said.
“I’m really excited to go on active duty, just to have that experience,” she continued. “My goal is to become a one-star general. Or, if something happens down the road, because you never know, anything could happen, I plan to create my own nonprofit with my medical experience.”
Perez’s passion for leadership and helping people is rooted within her family.
“I really want to continue showing my sister everything that she can do, like when I was applying for college or joining the Army,” she said.
Her podcast is part of the effort to be a good role model to her sister and friends.
“It’s called ‘Let’s Flourish,’” she said. “It’s basically inspirational and motivational talks. They’re really short because I understand that someone’s attention span can go very quickly. I know a lot of my friends don’t like to listen to very long ones like I do, so I’ve been able to put together something that’s less than 10 minutes.”
It’s on top of this truckload of effort that she accepted a new challenge: Competing for Miss Maryland USA.
“(I will be a contestant) in July,” she said. “I just got accepted a few weeks ago. I applied back in December and had my interview. I’m getting prepared with my pageant coach … and I have my trainer who’s helping me to be better in my fitness.”
Preparing for the Miss Maryland pageant requires her to work with two coaches and a trainer. For Perez, it’s just few more entries on her calendar, mixed in with serving as an Army Sustainer, 18 college credits, training cadets, cheerleading, recording a podcast, and being an inspiration to her sister.