AFCLC, Air Force Culture and Language Center, Air Force's Global Classroom

LEAP Spotlight: Capt. Jessica Lugan

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Lugan, Spanish LEAP Scholar

I was born and raised in southern California. My parents immigrated from Mexico, and I grew up in a predominately Spanish speaking home.

I have been an active-duty Labor & Delivery nurse in the Air Force for 6 years, and I’m currently stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. I have a Bachelor of Science in health promotions and disease prevention and nursing, and a Master of Science in nursing education. I am an approved instructor for the Defense Institute of Medical Operations, Gender-Based Violence and Women's Health, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, and Protecting Human Rights in Peacekeeping Operations, and hold an International Health Specialist Special Identifier.

In 2019, while researching global health opportunities in the Air Force, I came across the Language Enabled Airman Program. I was drawn to the program’s focus and mission. Not only do I get to improve my second language, but I also get opportunities to do some awesome stuff in the Air Force. I find it most exciting to be part of our work in interoperability and to take part in strengthening international partnerships.

Since joining LEAP in August of 2020, I have had several opportunities to do language training. They helped me improve my second language speaking abilities and directly contributed to my improved DLPT scores. Most recently, I participated in a Language Intensive Training Event in Santiago, Chile. The training I received at the “Universidad the Chile- Instituto de Estudios Internacionales” fueled my excitement for continued work in foreign affairs and global partnerships. 

On this Special Emphasis Immersion LITE to Santiago, I was able to work with local instructors and other LEAP scholars. Our team was made up of students from various fields within the Air Force who traveled from across the continental U.S. and OCONUS locations. I learned about Chile’s history, economy, diplomacy, geopolitical relationships, culture, and even some colloquialism.

My current mission includes taking care of our service members and their dependents in one of the most delicate and special times of their lives. Participating in LEAP not only prepares me for work in interoperability, but also to serve in my current position. I feel equipped and prepared in my ability to make our patients feel comfortable and heard. Having exposure to other cultures has given me more empathy and understanding to better serve all types of families.

LEAP has greatly impacted my life because it solidified my interest in international work and global health. I am eager to continue in this trajectory and look forward to continued growth and service whether it is in the military or on the civilian side. 

If you’re interested in LEAP, DO IT! Research the application process, take your DLPT and apply. If you don’t get selected, apply again; it is so worth it. It has been the most amazing Air Force program I’ve had the privileged to be part of.  

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