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Humans of the U: Nestor Chavez

“I’ve always had a passion to serve and really like science, but I didn’t think I had a path to college. I am a first-generation American – my parents came to the U.S. from Oaxaca, Mexico – and no one in my family had attended college.

In high school, I worked as a certified nursing assistant and my mentors there encouraged me to consider going to college for a nursing degree. I didn’t think it was possible because one, I’m a first-gen student, and two, it’s expensive, and three, you don’t really see a lot of folks that look like me going down this route of nursing or health care.

And so, I thought about it. I was accepted into the U’s College of Nursing and received a Miller Scholarship, which really helped. I have continued to move forward — slow and steady they say wins the race —  and in the fall of 2021, I graduated with an honors bachelor’s degree in nursing and a minor in ethnic studies.

Now I’m a nurse and taking care of folks in the burn trauma ICU and I’ll soon start training in the medical ICU.

But I decided to come back to finish a full bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies to continue to educate myself on social issues, American history and the struggles of ethnic groups in the United States.

The professors who’ve had a big impact on me are Laurence Parker, Elizabeth Archuleta and Lani Moon. They are incredible in how they teach and how they push their students to look deeper and farther.

I will begin a doctoral degree program in nursing here at the U in the fall. My goal is to do research and teach. I hope one day to be able to apply what I’ve learned in ethnic studies to nursing research and health care issues.”

— Nestor Chavez, from Heber City, Utah, will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies, which he will pair with the bachelor’s degree in nursing he received from the U in 2021.