DSM woman wins scholarship, continues on mission to support Hispanic community

Twenty-two year-old Carla Ruiz is a lot of things: determined, intelligent, and meticulous. She has to be because the Mercy College of Health Sciences student is on a mission to become a nurse practitioner and to open up her own clinic. “Being Hispanic, I don’t really get a lot of one-on-one with a nurse who is just like me,” said Carla. Carla is in the BSN nursing program at Mercy College in Des Moines. She’s on the accelerated path. Giving back to her community is partially what ignited her passion, but the key part hits closer to home. “My parents, they have stuck with me the whole time. They let me practice my head-to-toe assessments on them,” said Carla. “They are Mexican so sometimes going to the doctor is kind of difficult for them because of that language barrier.” It’s that language barrier that Carla is determined to break and not just for her family. “I want to be able to help the Hispanic culture, the Hispanic community, and just any other community,” said Carla. Carla takes pride in being a first-generation college student. When she’s not hitting the books or developing her skills, the 22-year-old is working two part-time jobs to pay her way through school. While she works, she’s also applying for scholarships. One scholarship comes from Latinos Unidos of Iowa Inc., which is awarding Carla and over one dozen other recipients on Saturday, Oct. 1. “Carla will receive $1,000 from us and $1,000 from Mercy,” said Lena Robison, the founder of Latinos Unidos of Iowa. Latinos Unidos of Iowa started as a social group of five to six people in 1989. Since then, Robison says the organization blossomed to the point it’s now able to provide thousands of dollars in scholarships. For years, the organization has offered scholarships to students who are doing great work and want to make a change. Robinson says Latinos Unidos of Iowa reaches out to the non-traditional students and supports recipients beyond their associates, bachelor’s, doctorates, graduate and professional studies and other fields of study. Carla will soon be a member of the dozens of people who have received a scholarship from Latinos Unidos of Iowa. “I truly foresee her opening up her own practice,” said Robison. “These kids, they really have a heart.” “I know my culture – workwise, we are very hard workers,” said Carla. “That just kind of makes me feel like I’m powerful.” It’s not in Carla to give up when life gets tough, especially when it comes to her education. She’s on a mission to provide health care for people in her community, waiting to be taken care of by someone who looks like her. “There’s a lot of us that plan on doing the same thing,” said Carla. “So maybe just wait on us a couple of years and hopefully we’ll have more diverse clinics within the Des Moines area.” Carla says she will graduate in August 2023. She then plans on practicing for two years before going back to school to get her master’s.

Twenty-two year-old Carla Ruiz is a lot of things: determined, intelligent, and meticulous.

She has to be because the Mercy College of Health Sciences student is on a mission to become a nurse practitioner and to open up her own clinic.

“Being Hispanic, I don’t really get a lot of one-on-one with a nurse who is just like me,” said Carla.

Carla is in the BSN nursing program at Mercy College in Des Moines. She’s on the accelerated path.

Giving back to her community is partially what ignited her passion, but the key part hits closer to home.

“My parents, they have stuck with me the whole time. They let me practice my head-to-toe assessments on them,” said Carla. “They are Mexican so sometimes going to the doctor is kind of difficult for them because of that language barrier.”

It’s that language barrier that Carla is determined to break and not just for her family.

“I want to be able to help the Hispanic culture, the Hispanic community, and just any other community,” said Carla.

Carla takes pride in being a first-generation college student.

When she’s not hitting the books or developing her skills, the 22-year-old is working two part-time jobs to pay her way through school. While she works, she’s also applying for scholarships.

One scholarship comes from Latinos Unidos of Iowa Inc., which is awarding Carla and over one dozen other recipients on Saturday, Oct. 1.

“Carla will receive $1,000 from us and $1,000 from Mercy,” said Lena Robison, the founder of Latinos Unidos of Iowa.

Latinos Unidos of Iowa started as a social group of five to six people in 1989. Since then, Robison says the organization blossomed to the point it’s now able to provide thousands of dollars in scholarships.

For years, the organization has offered scholarships to students who are doing great work and want to make a change.

Robinson says Latinos Unidos of Iowa reaches out to the non-traditional students and supports recipients beyond their associates, bachelor’s, doctorates, graduate and professional studies and other fields of study.

Carla will soon be a member of the dozens of people who have received a scholarship from Latinos Unidos of Iowa.

“I truly foresee her opening up her own practice,” said Robison. “These kids, they really have a heart.”

“I know my culture – workwise, we are very hard workers,” said Carla. “That just kind of makes me feel like I’m powerful.”

It’s not in Carla to give up when life gets tough, especially when it comes to her education.

She’s on a mission to provide health care for people in her community, waiting to be taken care of by someone who looks like her.

“There’s a lot of us that plan on doing the same thing,” said Carla. “So maybe just wait on us a couple of years and hopefully we’ll have more diverse clinics within the Des Moines area.”

Carla says she will graduate in August 2023. She then plans on practicing for two years before going back to school to get her master’s.

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