“My friends and family are my greatest support system”: Meet Cadet Alma Orozco-Rico

Cadet Alma Orozco-Rico is a senior from Beaufort, South Carolina. She is a Biology major who plans to enter the field of dentistry after graduation.

Orozco-Rico answered a series of questions from Kamryn Peebles, this year’s Regimental Public Affairs NCO, in honor of Women’s History Month and in celebration of 25 Years of Female Cadet Graduates at The Citadel.

Why did you choose The Citadel for your college experience? 

I chose The Citadel because I heard about the connections, and I wanted to see if I could handle the challenge. The Citadel is very popular back home and at first, I didn’t want to take the leap. Eventually, I convinced myself and the rest is history. 

When you’re faced with a challenge, what motivates you to overcome it?

Whenever I’m faced with a challenge I think of my family – more specifically, my mother. I can’t let her down and will forever be grateful to her. All my accomplishments are in dedication to her because she gave up a lot for me and my sister to experience life here in America. Every time I try something new, I tell her about it so that she knows that her decision to be here was not a waste. Moving away from home for college was not easy at first for either of us but I think of it now that it’s nothing in comparison of leaving your home country for more than 20 plus years. She has made a big effort to learn a new language and a new culture all while trying to maintain her culture within us. She was just a young mother when she came over and had really no one to ask for advice so being able to still manage a family while being away from her own is inspiring. If she can do all that plus more, I think I can get through this institution and other challenges in life. 

What inspired you to choose your major? Do you have any post-graduation plans? 

I am a Biology major with a Chemistry minor. I choose it because I hate writing papers, but I enjoy learning about bigger concepts especially on a cellular level. I want to be a general dentist and travel abroad to help people with their dental health. I went on the study abroad trip to Kenya and had the grand opportunity to shadow and volunteer with four different dentists at the medical camp. After that I felt reaffirmed of my interest in field of dentistry.

Are you involved in any clubs or extracurriculars at The Citadel?

I’m most involved in AED, or Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-health society, and Tribeta which is the biology honor society. I’ll occasionally go to meetings where I get to hear physicians and dentists talk about their careers.

What resources or support systems have you found helpful during your time at The Citadel?

I found that my friends and family are my greatest support system. I am very lucky that I don’t live too far from home that I can escape from the stress for a weekend. I have friends that go to other institutions that don’t understand what I go through, which is good, because it can be like a distraction from my daily stressors. 

As a woman at The Citadel, what advice would you give to other women who are considering coming here?

Do not underestimate your abilities. There will be people that will say that you only succeed here just because you’re a woman and they’re trying to fill a quota. You are more than capable of accomplishing what you want if you work hard. Find your group of friends or at least a really good friend while you’re here. I got very lucky in that one of my best friends here is my roommate. We’ve grown together, fought together, laughed together and gotten into trouble together. I can’t imagine myself living with anyone else but her.

About Regimental Public Affairs NCO Kamryn Peebles

Kamryn Peebles is a biology major who lives in Conway, South Carolina and is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania. Peebles is the Regimental Public Affairs NCO on campus and wants to pursue a career in optometry or physical therapy.