Second Lieutenant Hila Levy
), is an American
officer in the United States Air Force
who in 2007 made history when she became the first Puerto Rican Rhodes scholar
Levy was born and raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
where she received both her primary and secondary education. In 2004, she graduated from St. John’s School
in San Juan, Puerto Rico
with honors and was named the valedictorian
of the Class of 2004 . Levy, who joined the Puerto Rico chapter of the Civil Air Patrol
in 2000, reached the rank of Cadet Colonel and was the CAP's National Cadet of the Year in 2004. According to her citation, she earned the award for her outstanding academic performance, strong leadership skills, well-rounded extracurricular activities, and positive community involvement. Levy has stated that her experiences in the Civil Air Patrol served as an influential factor on her decision to apply for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and is quoted as saying:
"Being a Civil Air Patrol cadet helped me get to the Air Force Academy and start my way on my dream of becoming an Air Force officer. As a cadet, I was able to help others who see me as a role model and also find my own role model. I was able to help save lives, learn about and help my community and, basically, just become a better person all around."
Levy received an appointment to attend the United States Air Force Academy
at Colorado Springs
. As a Cadet 1st Class and member of Squadron 9, Levy was 1st in her class. She was among 28 cadets named Dean's Aces and who were honored for their academic achievements in the Fall semester of 2005 at the academy. Levy, who earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average, was one of five cadets that year to have been named an Ace twice. On May 28
, Levy earned her Bachelors of Science
degree in Biology
with 3 foreign language minors: Arabic
. She finished as the top graduate, earning the Outstanding Cadet in the Order of Graduation Award and a spot on the academy's 100-year Honor Roll. She received her Second Lieutenant's commission in the United States Air Force and awards from the Argentine Air Force
and the Chilean Air Force
for graduating first in her class during the US Air Force Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony.
In 2007, Levy became the first Puerto Rican and the 35th Academy cadet to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. She was awarded the scholarship for the District 13 of Colorado. The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and most widely recognized award for international study, were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer.
Levy was planning on using the scholarship to obtain two masters degrees of one year each, the first a Master’s of Science in Global Health Science and the second a Master’s of Science in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, however she was accepted to the Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in Public Health program (a 3-year degree which grants Oxford´s Ph.D. equivalent) starting September 2008, under Oxford´s Department of Public Health with Prof. Harold Jaffe as her supervisor.
Levy, who plans on attending the medical school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to obtain her M.D. after the completion of her degree, joined two other Rhodes Scholarship winners from the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy making it the second consecutive year that the military academies claimed three of only 32 recipients in the United States.
Her goal is to become a career Air Force physician specializing in tropical medicine and infectious disease. Levy is fluent in Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, French and Spanish and has written several papers related to language in the military and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which have been published. During her spare time, she provides services as a freelance translator.
Levy was honored with a plaque that has her name, squadron name and graduation date, which has been placed in the ballroom balcony of the Academy's hall of honor. The plaque recognizes Levy as the top former CAP cadet in the Class of 2008.
Military and USAFA awards
Among the Military and USAFA awards which Second Lieutenant Hila Levy earned as a Cadet in the United States Air Force Academy are the following:
(Worn only on cadet's uniform)
- Cadet Aviation Instructor badge
- Dean's Lists badge