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Dr. Karyn Holt's Father Inspires Her to Join The Air Force

May 20, 2013

Dr. Karyn E. Holt, an associate clinical professor in the Division of Graduate Nursing, voluntarily joined the Air Force as a Nurse Corps Officer after practicing as a Registered Nurse in civilian hospitals and in one army hospital for a decade. Although she was very successful in the civilian sector, she could not forget the stories her father told her while she was growing up about his experiences serving in the Air Force during the Korean War. “I wanted to serve my country as he had, meaning, in ways beyond what I was doing as a civilian,” Dr. Holt said.

Dr. Holt joined the Air Force Nurse Corps and advanced her career more in three years of service than she had in many years of civilian work. She was introduced to other parts of the United States, to other countries, to alternate ways of providing nursing care, and to what it means to be part of a team of health care professionals all with the one goal of providing the best medical outcome for a wounded soldier. She learned how to work with physicians, social workers, technicians and therapists. “That camaraderie my father spoke about, I was now experiencing,” she said.

While she was in the Air Force, Dr. Holt earned a Master’s Degree at Georgetown University, served our country alongside the Bolivian Air Force, taught at the Air Force Academy, taught at several universities as a clinical adjunct professor throughout the United States and delivered more than 2,000 babies as a Certified Nurse Midwife, which she calls one of the “highlights” of her career.

“It was important to me to serve my country in the military in order to give back to my country what I feel it has afforded me: freedom. I value highly the freedom I have to vote for the candidate of my choice, to say what I want in public and to worship my God without fear of reprisal or interference,” Dr. Holt said. “I feel so strongly about these tenets that I am willing to literally fight, despite my own discomfort, in order for our country to maintain these freedoms for all of us.”