Commissioned School of Medicine Graduates are Ready to Serve their Country

May 17 was a doubly important day for three Paul L. Foster School of Medicine students. That evening, they would become medical doctors, graduating along with 98 other members of the class of 2019 at the commencement ceremony at the Plaza Theatre in Downtown El Paso.

But before that big moment, Barry Davenport, Alexandra Palmer and Danny Anchondo were commissioned to the rank of captain during a special morning ceremony at the Foster School of Medicine. Davenport will serve in the Air Force, and Palmer and Anchondo will serve in the Army.

“When I came out to El Paso, I absolutely fell in love with the school, its mission, the campus and the people in El Paso,” Palmer said. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”

From left, newly commissioned captains Barry Davenport, Alexandra Palmer and Danny Anchondo.

From left, newly commissioned captains Barry Davenport, Alexandra Palmer and Danny Anchondo.

Palmer would like to integrate the roles of physician and military member in a way that helps all she comes in contact with.

“Somebody once said, ‘There are two kinds of doctors in the military: There are doctors in the military and then there are military doctors,’” Palmer said. “I hope to be the latter—somebody who can not only be a physician, but really be a part of the bigger structure of the military; part of the larger purpose, serving my country as best I can while providing the best care I can give to my soldiers.”

Palmer will begin her emergency medicine residency this summer at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas.

For Davenport, the importance of having friends for support through medical school cannot be overstated.

“Going through medical school is one of the most challenging experiences that I’ve had in my life,” Davenport said. “One of the main things that made school bearable, or sometimes easy, was the friendships that I made here. You really might not even notice how hard school is when you have a good group that you’re working with.”

Davenport will do his general surgery residency at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. Anchondo will begin a transitional residency at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.