Looking for a Challenge
To say that Abram Ramirez likes a challenge is an understatement. A sophomore at the University of Idaho, Ramirez is pursuing a degree in animal and veterinary science: production option while also preparing for a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Doing Something Hard
Ramirez grew up in Moses Lake, Washington and knew from a young age that he wanted to join the military. He enlisted in the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program at age 17 and chose the Marine Corps because he felt it was the most challenging.
“I wanted to do something hard. I didn’t want an easy, lackluster kind of life,” he said. “I knew going into the Marine Corps was going to be a huge challenge and make me into the man I wanted to be. As a young kid, not many people know that they want to be a specific kind of person, so I felt like I was kind of lucky to have that kind of idea.”
Once he enlisted, Ramirez learned of the Navy and Marine Corps ROTC program at U of I and the opportunity to commission as an officer — a more challenging opportunity.
“The smaller percentage of the Marine Corps is officers and when you compare it to the rest of our military, the Marine Corps is the smallest branch,” Ramirez said. “So being that smaller number inside the smallest branch is the harder way and that’s really attractive to me.“
If it’s harder, I want to do it.”
He was 10 days from shipping out for basic training when Ramirez learned that he had received the National Scholarship from the Marine Corps, a four-year scholarship that covers tuition, books, and provides a monthly stipend. Suddenly, the more challenging path was open.
Gaining Agriculture Knowledge
When it came time to choose a major at U of I, Ramirez considered mechanical engineering — a common degree amongst Marines — but knew that it wasn’t the right fit for him. He had always loved agriculture and animals, so he turned to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
“I saw that U of I had a really good Ag program and I really like agriculture,” he said. “Moses Lake is big in that, so I thought I’d give it a shot and I did and ended up loving it.”
Ramirez knew it was the right decision after meeting faculty and taking hands-on courses.
“It was so cool to get out and apply what you’re learning in class with your hands and not just looking at a projector screen,” he said. “Dr. Colle and Dr. Bass, the energy they give off. They love what they’re doing and that makes me love what I’m doing even more.”
When he graduates, Ramirez will commission as a second lieutenant and head to The Basic School followed by Military Occupation Specialty school. Then his military career will officially begin. He’s taking the advice of Marines he’s met along the way to not set his mind to one path.
“You could be a guy that says I want to do it for life and then end up hating it or you could be a guy who says I want to do it for one contract and then end up loving it and doing it for your whole life,” he said. “So, that’s the mindset I have going into it.
“Right now, I absolutely love what I’m doing with the Marine Corps.”