Becoming a nurse to promote health, prevent disease and alleviate suffering

Sofia Martinez 2I was fortunate enough to have parents that instilled in me an intrinsic desire to advocate for social justice. Growing up as a minority gave me a unique perspective on life. I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina to Puerto Rican parents who had arrived over five years earlier. Learning English as a second language when starting in the public school system, I was able to identify and empathize with vulnerable populations. I knew once I graduated high school that I wanted to work for social justice – advocating for the safeguarding of human rights, equity, and fairness.

Initially, I majored in International Health at Clemson University and volunteered to translate at a mobile clinic for families of migrant health workers. I made the decision to transfer to Florida State University to avoid paying out-of-state tuition since my mother had moved to Florida. At Florida State, there was not an International Health program, but I knew that I wanted to join the Peace Corps after graduation, so I choose to major in Psychology. By doing so, I would have enough credits to graduate early; I found the major useful to understand the human experience and interpersonal relationships. Once I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I was eligible to apply to be a United States Peace Corps volunteer.

The mission of Peace Corps is to help people in developing countries to meet their needs for trained workers. Growing up with my father, who was a fan of the famous Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente, I was reminded of a quote that inspired my decision to join the Peace Corps, “Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world, and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this Earth.” For two years I served in a rural town on the southern border of the Dominican Republic as a community health specialist. My community had limited resources – no rural clinic, minimal electricity, and access to water only from the river that ran through the community. Our main project was training a group of women in six evidence-based practices to conduct home visits to community members. The health promoters conducted home visits to teach reproductive health, methods of family planning, signs of dehydration, the importance of childhood vaccines, and appropriate care for chronic illnesses. A latrine project was implemented to prevent infectious diseases. I was also fortunate to participate in various medical missions.

As a result of this clinical experience, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in nursing. To me, the nursing responsibilities to promote health, prevent disease and alleviate suffering require the expression of caring for humanity and advocating for social justice – the safeguarding of human rights and dignity. Now that I have been afforded the opportunity to embark on my career as a nurse, I look forward to advocating for and providing competent care to vulnerable populations locally, nationally, and globally.

We are proud to announce Sofia Martinez is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • As someone who has known Sofia for almost 10 years, I can undoubtedly say that she is one of the most selfless, compassionate, and hardworking individuals I have ever met. Not only has she demonstrated her love and commitment to helping others through her work in the Peace Corp, as well as her time as a nursing student, Sofia carries this unwavering sense of compassion and selflessness towards others with her wherever she goes. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Sofia.

  • Sofia is an inspiration to us all. She has made helping others her passion. While in the Dominican Republic serving in the peace corps, she not only exceeded her goals but she spent her extra time creating long lasting relationships. She taught her community to speak and write English. She spoke about health and keeping a safe home. She tailored her presentations so that it would be useful to all in the community. She even learned to dance watching videos online and taught a Zumba class to promote physical activity. She is a selfless person always giving to those around her. Sofia opened her door in the Dominican Republic to girls of all ages and allowed them to express themselves. She encouraged them to be proud of who they were and understand there worth. I could not think of anyone more deserving.

  • A beautiful generous and bright young woman leavung her mark on the world. So proud to know her and her beautiful mother. I vote Sophia!!

  • Beautiful and inspiring essay. I met Sofia last year and right away knew she was someone special. Best wishes in attainingthe scholarship and your degree. The world is a better place because of you.

  • This is amazing Sophia! I hope you are awarded the scholarship and the you complete your nursing program. I am sure you are aware of all your options but UVA has a BS to MSN program, since you have an undergraduate degree.

    Best of Luck to You!

  • Sofia is an amazing human being and very deserving of this scholarship. She will do wonderful things and she will continue to better our society by caring for and helping others.

  • Amazing Sophia!!! You deserve this scholarship and will be a fantastic nurse, I look forward to following your exciting career!

  • I’ve known Sofia since she was a baby. She has grown to be an exceptional person. Her caring ways and experiences at school and at the Peace Corps has prepared her for her next step. Her compassion, intelligence, and social skills are an asset to her career choice. Sofia is very deserving of this scholarship.

  • I am confident that by granting this scholarship to Sofia will allow her to continue with her passion and vocation to help those in need. I certainly vote for Sofia!

  • Sofia~ You’ll be a wonderful nurse and I look forward to seeing all of the adventures nursing takes you on and the many many people whose lives you’ll touch.

  • I vote for Sofia. I only knew you for a short while but you were an amazing friend. Best of luck with your chosen path. I hope your contribution will make a difference

  • Sofía commitment to help others is unquestionable. Her willing to help others and her desire to make a difference for people in communities who really need it, made her the perfect candidate for the schoolarship. Her proven record combine with her sense of justice, social responsability and her discipline are hard to find. We need more like you, Sophia.

  • Sofia is an amazing person and truly dedicated to making the lives of people around better. She has my vote!

  • I have known Sofia since she was a preschooler! She has an incredibly supportive family and she will succeed at whatever she tries!

  • You have done an outstanding work up to now and I am sure that the dedication that you have for the people in need will pay of. Keep the great work . You deserve this opportunity.

  • I vote for Sofía Martínez-Oronoz!
    She has Always dreamt with being a nurse and help others. She is intelligent, has a great background and has the compromise!

  • I vote for Sofia Martinez- Oronoz, she and her family are full of compassion and love. I know she will be an outstanding nurse. Si se puede!