SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Pennsylvania patriot is not resting on her laurels following her military accomplishments.

She is now training to become a family physician.

“I was actually blown away by how beautiful it is, the study rooms here, the facilities,” said Marina Hierl, a first-year medical student from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

29-year-old Marina Hierl now calls Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine home for her education. The first-year medical student is pursuing a new path after spending five years on another one that took her around the world.

“Just going through the military and going through with my peers, I don’t feel what I’ve done is necessarily that significant,” says Hierl.

Others might disagree. Hierl is the first woman to pass the rigorous U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer course, and lead a Marine Corps infantry platoon.

“I was really passionate about my work. I really cared about my Marines, and that’s really all I focused on while I was in,” explained Hierl.

She rose to the rank of captain during her military service. Even though healthcare was not part of her service, it somehow became her calling and even helped prepare her in certain ways.

“I just have a sense of purpose. I really knew why I wanted to be a Marine officer. I really wanted to be a good leader for my Marines and I think I’m sort of carrying that over now into the medical field. Everything I’m doing is for my future patients,” added Hierl.

Hierl has chalked up another accomplishment. She is a Geisinger Abigail scholar. By meeting certain criteria, she is enrolled tuition-free and she’s paid a stipend in exchange for a commitment to begin her medical career with Geisinger. The school’s dean tells Eyewitness News Hierl is an excellent candidate.

“The experiences that Marina Hierl had in the past demonstrate her outstanding leadership skills and we want our graduates, our physician graduates at Geisinger Commonwealth to be leaders. We need physicians to be leaders, to care for their patients, but also to inspire the community toward better health,” says Julie Byerley medical dean at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

“I think if I can contribute to that and have my name align with that I’m absolutely all in,” said Hierl.

Hierl is on track to graduate from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in 2026.

In exchange for being an Abigail scholar, she will honor a commitment to begin the first four years of her medical career in the Geisinger chain.