Not many people my age can claim to have lived their entire lifetime in Sierra Vista, Arizona, but I can, and am happy to say it. I was born at 8:36 a.m. on a hot and sunny June 1st in the Sierra Vista Hospital (now the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center). Most of my childhood friends came from neat and exotic places all over the world; many were from military families. Friends came and went, and went and came. It was cool when they somehow made it back.
I grew up with two brothers in a red brick house in the Bella Vista area, a central part of the town, where my parents still live and the notches in one old doorframe marking the growth of their children. When I was four years old, I found a picture of a ballerina in the local yellow pages and insisted to my parents that I must start lessons “right now!” Ballet has kept me very busy and very healthy since that day. I took lessons at the Sierra Vista Ballet under the instruction of Hilda Bergsneider for almost ten years and then branched out into other dance forms at LimeLight Productions.
One dance teacher at Limelight, Tina Marie Cooper, was a trained dance therapist. I helped her teach classes on Fort Huachuca, as well as in the studio, and she taught me about the body in movement. Tina once taught a class with some autistic girls, and it was joy to see how much they loved the class. It was about this time that I decided to look into a career in the medical field.
After graduating from Buena High School, I took classes at Cochise College to help me focus on a profession. It was through my coursework at Cochise that I discovered physical therapy. To explore this interest, I took a job working as a tech in a rehabilitation clinic.
Working for Roger Surette, I got hands-on exposure to the profession, what I now feel is my true passion. I loved working with people everyday and knowing that I helped them, even in some small way, feel better when they left the clinic than they did when they arrived. I worked there for a full year before taking my education north to the University of Arizona in Tucson.
I am now a senior at the U of A with a major in the Physiological Sciences. I was offered and have accepted a unique internship at the U of A this fall. Under this F.A.C.E.S. internship (Fostering and Achieving Cultural Equity and Sensitivity in the Health Professions) I will spend hours in several clinical rotations at the University Physicians Hospital at Kino, where I will gain more exposure to physical therapy as well as to pharmacy and nursing. The internship is geared towards developing cultural competency and eliminating healthcare disparities as to minorities using the healthcare system.
My educational plan is to gain a Doctorate of Physical Therapy after I earn my Bachelor of Science degree. I will also explore the pharmacy and nursing options during my internship this fall.
I still dance when I can, schoolwork permitting, as dance has been a great passion in my life. Whenever it is that I graduate, with whatever education I might finally complete, my intention is to practice my craft in Sierra Vista, Arizona, the only place I could call my home.