WNC student accepted to US Military Academy in West Point

Alana Pankopf . Western Nevada College photo.
Alana Pankopf . Western Nevada College photo.(KOLO)
Published: Jan. 25, 2020 at 5:12 PM PST
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Western Nevada College student Alana Pankopf of Reno has been accepted to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Pankopf is is senior at Nevada State High School in Reno and is taking part in Western Nevada College’s Jump Start program.

“It is an unbelievable honor and privilege to have been accepted to West Point, given its storied history and legion of accomplished graduates who have gone on to serve our country,” Pankopf said in a statement released by WNC.

West Point graduates include Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, George Armstrong Custer, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, John J. Pershing (for whom Pershing County was named) and Douglas MacArthur.

Her appointment is for the fall of 2020 and she will be in the class of 2024.

Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei nominated her for the academy.

She began considering West Point when the people for whom she worked as a babysitter, retired Cmdr. Chad Mingo and his wife, suggested that Pankopf apply at one of the military academies. She also got advice from an aunt.

“My education has always been very important to me, along with serving our country,” Pankopf said. “I transferred to NSHS and began attending classes at WNC for the purpose of getting my associate degree in science along with my high school diploma. I then planned to transfer to a university as a junior, graduate in two years, and then begin medical school.”

Pankopf said taking college classes at WNC while in high school helped her prepare for West Point and beyond.

"I believe very strongly that a clearly disciplined and clearly directed program of study is of great benefit to those who are willing to dedicate themselves to that level of discipline and that direction,” Steve Carman, one of Pankopf’s professors at WNC, said in a WNC statement. “I also believe that if someone has discovered their calling in life that that 'fire in their belly' adds to that determination, drive and dedication. Based on my discussions with Alana, I believe that she has that 'fire in her belly' and will perform on behalf of the USA at the highest level as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.”

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