For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Public Health Undergrad and Military Veteran Continues to Serve Those in Need


November 12, 2014

As Drexel University honors our student veterans and active duty military students and family members, the School of Public Health reached out in gratitude to our students and staff connected to the military. One of our Public Health undergraduate majors, Ryan Poper, provided insight into his military experience in a Q&A, below. 

What is/was your role in the military? What branch do/did you serve in, when, and where?

I served for 6 years in the Navy from July 18, 2007-July 3, 2013. I completed basic training in September 2007, and reported to Naval Hospital Corps School-Great Lakes, Illinois where I was trained as a Hospital Corpsman. Upon graduating in February 2008 I reported to Field Medical Training Battalion Camp Pendleton, California where I completed an 8 week course in Field Medicine that prepared me for service with the Marine Corps. I graduated from the program in May 2008 and transferred to 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Okinawa Japan, and was assigned to 3rd Supply Battalion, 3rd Medical Logistics Company where I provided medical logistical support to deploying units by ensuring they received the appropriate medical equipment they requested. My accomplishments while stationed in Okinawa included being promoted to the rank of Petty Officer 3rd class, being named as the Junior Sailor of the Quarter for 3rd Marine Logistics Group in 2009, and completing my first Marathon.

I transferred from Okinawa in July 2010 and reported to Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego, California and completed a 6-month Surgical Technology program. I graduated in February 2011 as a Surgical Technologist and reported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center-Formerly the National Naval Medical Center. I was assigned to the Main Operating Room and assisted with over 1,100 hours of surgical procedures. Much of my surgical experience was with the wounded warriors returning from Operation Enduring Freedom. Along with my primary responsibilities as a surgical tech, I held additional roles within the department and the command as a newly promoted 2nd Class Petty Officer.

July 2012, I left Walter Reed to deploy with 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Medical Battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I was assigned to the Camp Bastion Role III hospital for an unfortunately brief period time. I worked in the Operating Room Theatres with the British Royal Navy, Army, and Air Force providing surgical assistance in a forward deployed setting. The remainder of my deployment was spent working in an in-patient care ward that allowed service members to recuperate from acute injuries and return to their units.

What motivated you to get a degree in public health? What do you plan to do with your degree?

My choice to enter the Public Health field means that I can continue to serve and help those that are in need.

What attracted you to Drexel University and the School of Public Health?

I chose Drexel primarily for the Co-Op experience. However, since starting classes last fall I've come to realize that Drexel has so much more to offer through the ways it values and honors the service and sacrifices of student veterans. There's no doubt that I've made the right choice in both school and program, and it is an honor to be apart the Drexel community and the School of Public Health!


To learn more about Drexel's commitment to our military, including free education offered to an unlimited number of military veterans through the GI Bill® Yellow Ribbon Program, please visit our Veteran Student Services office.