FORT MEADE, Maryland –
Army Spc. Keylin Jasmin Perez can blend in with the formation, but the closer one looks, the more she stands out. She’s an Army Reserve Soldier, ROTC cadet sergeant major, honors student, cheerleader, beauty pageant contestant and podcast host who won the 200th Military Police Best Warrior competition in 2019.
She’s also qualified on the M4, M17, and Mark 19, as a fun little extra.
“I like to keep myself very occupied,” Perez said. “I feel like when I’m not doing anything, I get trapped and asked myself, ‘What else can I be doing?’”
That drive pushes her to achieve great things. She’s a first-generation college student, but is a member of the honor’s college at Coppin State University and the Alpha Lamba Delta honor society. She’s studying nursing, and hopes to build a career in the Army as a nurse.
“My long-term goal is to be a nurse anaesthetist and a psych nurse on active duty, so I’m competing to get active duty when I graduate with the ROTC program,” she said.
“I’m really excited just to go on active duty, just to have that experience,” she continued. “My goal is to become a general, a one-star general. Or, if something happens down the road, because you never know, anything could happen, I plan to create my own nonprofit with my medical experience.”
Perez’s passion for leadership and helping people is rooted within her own family.
“I really want to continue showing my sister everything that she can do, like when I was applying for college or joining the Army,” she said.
Her podcast is part of the effort to be a good role model to her sister and friends.
“It’s called ‘Let’s Flourish,’” she said. “It’s basically around inspirational and motivational talks. They’re really short because I understand that someone’s attention span can go very quickly. So I know that a lot of my friends don’t like to listen to very long ones like I do, so I’ve been able to put together something that’s less than 10 minutes.”
It’s against this base load of effort that she accepted a new challenge: Competing for Miss Maryland USA.
“I’m a contestant for Miss Maryland USA, which will be in July,” she said. “I just got accepted into that a few weeks ago. I applied back in December and I had my interview and I am getting prepared with my pageant coach, which is trying to prepare me to win. And I have my trainer who’s training me to be better in my fitness.”
Training for the Miss Maryland USA pageant requires her to work with two coaches and a trainer. But for Spc. Perez, it’s just another few blocks on her calendar, mixed in with the 18 college credits, training cadets, cheerleading, recording a podcast, and being an inspiration to her sister.