NCC Alumna Susanna Schriever Receives Top Airman Status

If the name of Northwest Iowa Community College Alumna Susanna Schriever sounds familiar to you, it’s because her success story continues to unfold.

Susanna was previously featured in NCC’s Fall 2016 Connections Alumni magazine, sharing her story about her aspirations to work as a nurse in India after completing her Associate Degree in Nursing at NCC.

However, Susanna’s life took an unexpected turn, and India is no longer in her immediate plans. Susanna believes that was the way it was meant to be, mostly because her new plan gives her even more relevant experience so that someday she can become an outstanding nurse in remote countries.

“The Nurse Practitioner that I wanted to work with in India left his position, so I needed to look for a new plan. After a lot of thinking and praying, joining the Air Force seemed logical,” states Susanna.

Susanna graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing in May 2017, passed her RN boards in June, and began her Air Force basic training in November 2017. Stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, it didn’t take long for Susanna to show leadership potential among her fellow cadets.

“I was made Element Leader within the first 48 hours of me being at Basic Training.” This leadership position made her the liaison between the other forty recruits within her flight and the Sergeants that oversee them.

Training went well for Susanna. She excelled with the physical challenges and was able to grow her leadership skills. In January 2018, Susanna was scheduled to graduate from Basic Training. She had no idea going into graduation what kind of merits would be coming her way.

On the Thursday of graduation week, a special ceremony was held to mark the transition of the recruits into Airman status. This ceremony, called the Coin Ceremony, traditionally has about 700 graduates, and the top ten percent are recognized as “honor graduates.” To be an honor graduate, a student must show abilities that far exceed the required scores in physical and written exams, while having never received a negative mark in inspections or written evaluations.

Although Susanna knew that she was going to be identified as an honor graduate, minutes before the ceremony she found out that more accolades were about to come her way. “I found out just moments before the ceremony that I would be receiving the Top Airman Award at graduation. And the only reason I found out at that time was so I could be instructed on the correct procedures of how to receive the award as it was being awarded. It really didn’t sink in at first.”

Being named Top Airman is a very rare honor. In short, Top Airman means being the best of the best in the graduating class of 712 graduates. Susanna also received the Commander’s Coin the next day. The Commander’s Coin is a recognition bestowed on airmen who a direct commander recognizes as outstanding. They are given out by choice of the commander. Susanna’s commander has only given out nine Commander’s Coins in his extensive career.

Since graduating from the Air Force, Susanna has had the opportunity to receive more nursing training and medic training at Fort Sam Houston. She acknowledges that having her RN degree gave her a huge advantage over the other recruits. After twelve weeks at Fort Sam Houston, Susanna again graduated at the top of her class and was named an honor graduate at her commencement ceremony on May 7, 2018. Thereafter, she spent six weeks at Eglin Air Force Base in Destin, Florida, where she was placed in a base hospital and worked in a variety of capacities as both a medic and a nurse.

“My time at Destin gave me exposure to a lot of different medical procedures, but ER work is still my favorite,” shares Susanna.

As for her next destination, Susanna has a long-term placement at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where she will work predominantly in a military Women’s Health Center.

“I am a history buff, so to be stationed so close to Washington, D.C., while still getting to expand my nursing knowledge is an awesome experience for me.”

And as Susanna reflects on her past experiences and dreams of future opportunities, she acknowledges that although her initial plan of going to India to practice medicine is a bit delayed, she knows she will eventually get there. And when she does, her military training will make her all the more prepared for the experience.

To find out more call 800-352-4907, email, or visit our website at At NCC – Your Success is Our Story!