An Air Force veteran has used her personal experience abroad to write and produce the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Jalysa Conway, a proud vet and staff writer for the Shondaland show, is opening up to PEOPLE about how she found inspiration from her military days to create an epic episode full of curiosity, trauma and new beginnings.
“I did draw a lot from my own personal experience,” says Conway, 29. “They’re both young officers at the time dealing with all types of pressure. I thought back to the time when I was a first lieutenant, as Megan is in this episode, and thought about what I was worried about at the time and how I could articulate that through the story.”
The episode, which is “definitely a brother-sister story,” will focus on the events leading up to Owen Hunt’s sister Megan’s kidnapping.
“It explores this traumatic moment, this thing that has been between them for so long,” says Conway. “You follow that last day in Iraq before they separated. They are also going through some things in the present day that will be illuminated through this Iraq flashback. You see them both being medical superheroes back in Iraq and you see their dynamic of budding heads during that time. You’re just on this journey with them to see if they can heal old wounds.”
Conway, who was most recently deployed to Latvia for a short period, says her Grey‘s family, including show creator Shonda Rhimes, have been nothing but supportive.
“Everyone from the show – they’ve been so phenomenal. It’s such a collaborative effort. They know I’m a young staff writer so they kind of just hold you in their arms and still give you the space to do what you need to do . It’s so great. I love the environment here.
“It’s been a dream come true,” she adds.
Grey’s Anatomy airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.