KUALA LUMPUR: It was about one year ago when Grace Sian Ern Hui watched a video by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) that would change her life.
She was set to study genetic engineering but after watching that video of fighter jets in the sky, she decided that she wanted to be a fighter pilot.
And the 19-year-old from here became the second Malaysian female to be accepted into an American service academy.
“Even though it was a short video, it changed my life,” said Sian, one of three Malaysians who received their appointments to American service academies yesterday.
She was accepted into the Air Force Academy in Colorado, Muhammad Aniq Hilman Haslimi was accepted into the Naval Academy in Maryland, while Mateshan Varma Subramaniam is set to join the Military Academy at West Point.
Sian, the fifth of six siblings, said her family was not comfortable with her career choice at first as they were concerned for her safety but they have now become supportive of her.
US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said the three had undergone vigorous administration processes.
She said 71 countries were invited to nominate candidates to enrol into each of the service academies, with 15 international candidates accepted into each.
“All candidates are evaluated on their academic performance, physical aptitude, character and leadership potential.
“This is not just a test. This is a set of interviews where these three candidates had to prove who they are as people and what they hope to bring back to Malaysia,” she said in her speech during the ceremony at her residence here.
The family and friends of the three youngsters were in attendance to witness the three receiving their appointments from Lakhdhir.
All three 19-year-olds will leave for the United States next month and are expected to graduate in 2023.
Also present were Malaysian Armed Forces chief of staff Lt-Jen Datuk Kamalruzaman Mohd Othman and Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia vice-chancellor Lt-Jen Datuk Abdul Halim Jalal.
Only 30 Malaysians have graduated from US service academies since 1971, with another six in the midst of completing their training.