“I got a call from the program director in Hawaii that I’ve been matched! I was overjoyed.” So begins the graduation story of Kenneth Sims, an M4 ENMED student who graduates from Texas A&M University in May.
Sims is just one of the many inspiring students who have gone through the inaugural ENMED program and will go on to do great things. His story is one of overcoming obstacles and achieving success against all odds.
Kenneth Sims was determined to make the best of his life from a young age. He had sought out avenues to pursue his passions and interests, harboring the ambition of becoming a physician. In high school, he realized that he could combine these two goals in the military. So, during his college years at West Point, he earned a mechanical engineering degree, and also became a second lieutenant in the US Army. After this remarkable accomplishment, Sims set out for Texas A&M University and enrolled in the ENMED program where he could commence medical school and achieve his dream of being both a military officer and medical professional.
Sims was drawn to many specialties, but something about otolaryngology head and neck surgery (ENT) made it stand out from the rest. He decided to experience ENT firsthand at various military hospitals around the country. Through these audition rotations, it became quickly evident that ENT was a perfect fit for him.
For Sims, the news he received was more than just confirmation of his hard work and dedication paying off – it was an opportunity to make an important move in the new year. He has been accepted into the ENT program at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. With this program, Sims will be able to take advantage of a unique opportunity to live on Oahu Island, from June 2023 until June 2028, during his residency. Excitement is high for Sims as he begins down the path to achieving a major milestone in his medical career.
“The process for applying to the army was unique and complex,” Sims said. “During my third year of residency, I applied and set up rotations. This process required me to undergo background checks and cyber security training before I could begin my rotations. Once I started, I was on the road for five months due to rotation-driven duties. It was much different than other civilian programs where one or two away rotations might be required. To make sure that I was fully informed, I applied to all four army residencies available. My residencies were at San Antonio, TX, Fort Hood, TX, Hawaii, Washington State, and Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland. In October of 2022 after all my residencies were completed, I had to rank my preferences according to each facility profile.”
When reflecting on his experience, Sims is thankful for the opportunities he’s had to achieve his goal of becoming a doctor. He doesn’t regret any of the obstacles that he has faced in his journey and instead uses them as motivation to keep going. From the medical school application process to studying hard for exams, Sims offers advice to those who are considering a career in medicine in the military— be authentic, be willing to serve, and put your best effort into everything you do.
“When it comes to being successful in the military,” Sims said, “One of the most important things is to do as many in-person rotations as you can. It can be stressful because every day you are essentially auditioning for those who you will be working with side by side. During these rotations, it’s key to stay true to yourself and be authentic; but also look for ways to show that you will help others, be agreeable and become an overall team player. Ultimately, this experience helps everyone get an idea for who you are as a person and if they want to spend the next five years in service with you. Therefore, follow through on your objectives while making sure that your personalities match up with one another.”
Sims looks forward to walking across the stage at Texas A&M this May in just a few short months.