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Portrait of Arely Patricio on campus with a green background

Born to help: A Career in Nursing

Nacido para ayudar: una carrera en enfermería

Arely Patricio, an incoming student, decided to come to UNC to help her community. She wants to be a bilingual nurse one day–también en español.

For Arely Patricio, the decision on where to go to college was an easy one. She was looking for a place to be herself and an institution that would help her to fulfill her dream of helping others through nursing, so she selected the University of Northern Colorado.  

Patricio was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. The daughter of Mexican immigrants who did not have the opportunity to further their studies, she approached the challenge of becoming a first-generation student with the best attitude. She grew up as biliterate in English and Spanish, helping her parents navigate the English language in their day-to-day lives. A middle child between two brothers, she grew up supporting her hard-working family, and while doing that, she was also able to graduate with a 4.1 grade point average from Rocky Mountain High School in the spring. 

“My father does drywall and my mother works in fast food. They truly started from nothing, not even knowing English. Yet, they were able to give me and my brothers everything we needed,” shared Patricio. “I hope to be part of the UNC Honors Program this upcoming academic year. It is my way to thank my parents for all they have done for me.” 

When the pandemic hit, Patricio found running as a way to cope with the fragility of life. And even if she does not consider herself an athlete, getting into her running shoes and going out for a good jog is an activity that Patricio enjoys more than anything. She loves to run long distances.  

“At first it was a way for me to cope with the fact that the world around me can change in an instant. Eespecially after the coronavirus pandemic. However, when I started to build endurance, it became more of a way for me to push my body to its limits,” shared Patricio.  

Patricio is very extroverted and loves to share, however, it was not that way all the time. She remembers growing up very shy. Now she feels confident enough to be who she truly is.  

“Growing up, I would say that I was a very introverted girl, who would keep to herself. However, now when I look in the mirror, I find myself being much more extroverted, I feel as if I am not as afraid as I used to be,” said the future UNC student. 

When studying at high school and working at the same time, Patricio learned many a lot of leadership skills. She went from being a follower because she did not have enough confidence in herself, to being bold about her intentions. Now Patricio considers herself a leader, and she is confident that coming to UNC will help her to strengthen those leadership skills. Particularly toward helping her community. 

“I feel as if it is important to be able to become a leader, because I can be the voice of many people who never had the opportunity to speak,” said Patricio. “I take being bilingual and a daughter of immigrant parents as a badge of honor for myself. I was able to make it past many obstacles, and now I want to help others in their way.”  

Patricio is eager to start her career path at UNC where she plans to graduate pursuewith a Bachelor of Science from the university’s School of Nursing. She claimed that multiple factors led her to settle on UNC as a place to pursue her educational goals. 

“I wanted to choose an institution where I felt I could grow and better myself when pursuing my degree. I believe I was put on this Earth to help others; through this, I narrowed my career path to nursing,” said Patricio. 

Patricio attended a meeting at her high school where bilingual admission counselors told her about UNC. Also, her school counselor, who has played a prominent role in her life, is a UNC alumnus. Weeks later, when she came for a campus tour, she immediately felt a sense of belonging, a home away from home. But it was when she did some research that she found out UNC’s School of Nursing is ranked in the top 100 of U.S. News Best Graduate Schools.  

"Their amazing nursing program and values that are instilled into the university stuck out to me,” said Patricio. "In addition, I love all the support that is available for students, and the helpful staff, everyone has the best intentions of helping students succeed,” she expressed.  

Patricio believes that UNC is the right step to achieving her goals.  

“My hope is that one day I will be able to help back my community that has raised me, specifically, those who share my ethnicity,” said Patricio. “I have experienced first-hand the struggles that Latinos/Hispanic people have gone through when it comes to healthcare. There is a lack of support for immigrants to even have access to healthcare. Although I cannot change the entire system, I hope that even if I am just one more nurse that is bilingual, it will encourage more immigrants to look and receive the help that they need.”.  

“My parents have always told me to dream big. And I am not only planning on dreaming. I am planning on achieving,” she concluded. 

UNC is deeply committed to meeting students’ financial needs. In 2021-22, 98% of UNC’s undergraduate students received some type of grant or scholarship aid that does not need to be repaid.  Patricio received the following donor-funded and/or UNC institutional scholarships or other federal, state or grant aid.  

  • UNC Trustee Scholarship

–written by Carlos José Pérez Sámano

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