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

LEAP Spotlight: Staff Sgt. Diana Brewer

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Diana Brewer, Russian LEAP Scholar

My name is Diana Brewer, and many know me as “Cold Brew.” I joined the United States Air Force in 2017, and it has been an interesting journey thus far! I am a Personnelist (3F0) stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. I am completing my bachelor's degree in organizational leadership in May 2024.

My experience as a Language Enabled Airman Program Scholar has been incredible! LEAP sparked my interest to further improve my native language skills and played a factor in my reenlisting later this year.

I had the opportunity to TDY to my birth country, Kyrgyzstan, for a Language Intensive Training Event. After being away for 10 years, it was a fantastic experience to revisit familiar places and explore new ones. I enjoyed indulging in cultural food that brought back childhood memories. During my stay, I was honored with an invitation to visit the U.S. Embassy. Participating in this LITE allowed me to reconnect with my roots, improve my Russian language skills, and achieve a high score on the DLPT.

My journey into language acquisition didn't start with Russian but rather with English. Upon moving to Texas in 2013, I immediately enrolled in high school. The language barrier made it difficult to succeed, but it never deterred me from pursuing my goals. I used to spend my lunchtime in the library translating nearly every word in the books. Before I knew it, I had finished the entire Harry Potter series. I was heavily reliant on running subtitles and music lyrics. Otherwise, I was at a complete loss. Post-graduation, my focus shifted to preparing for the ASVAB. Despite using four different study guides, the language barrier persisted and posed a challenge to achieve a high score. Three ASVAB attempts later, I joined the United States Air Force.

In 2019, I learned about LEAP and took my first DLPT and OPI tests for Russian proficiency. Unfortunately, I couldn't score higher than a 2 on the DLPT, which was disheartening and made me doubt my language skills. Despite the setbacks, I continued taking the tests annually. In 2022, I applied for LEAP alongside my friend, Staff Sgt. Ievina Lelde, who became a Latvian Scholar that year. I was drawn to LEAP because it provides opportunities to explore beyond my usual career field, which lacks frequent TDY opportunities. I also wanted to put my native language skills to use whenever and wherever they were needed.

My advice to Airmen interested in LEAP is not to get discouraged by low DLPT scores; instead, I see it as motivation. LEAP sparked my curiosity in Russian culture and connected me with incredible people from around the world. Embrace the journey and the learning opportunities it brings!

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