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Hispanic Heritage and The Healer's Art

Featuring the Writing of Emely Guardia Garrido and Gabriela Guardia Gallegos

At the BYU College of Nursing, "we value and embrace the variety of individual characteristics, life experiences, histories, perspectives, circumstances, talents, and gifts of each person in our community (1 Corinthians 12:12-27), and the richness and strength they bring to our college community and to the profession of nursing” (BYU Nursing Statement on Belonging). This month we honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage! Particularly, its influence in our community and in the nursing community at large. As a part of this celebration, we would love for you to get to know Venezuelan sisters Emely and Gabi. Gabi is a BYU Nursing Alumni and Emely is a graduate of the Ensign College Medical Assistant Program and current BYU Nursing student. However, both share how their culture and heritage has inspired their study, shaped their paths, and strengthened their faith.

Gabi Guardia Gallegos:

“My story is a testament to the power of dreams, hard work, and faith. Hailing from Venezuela, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to study in the United States, let alone at a prestigious institution like BYU. However, I soon realized that with determination and trust in the Lord, anything was possible. I embarked on this journey when I was just 18, driven by a deep desire to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives, even though I wasn’t sure how I would do that. None of my immediate family members had ever graduated from a university at that point, but I was determined to be an example and leave a lasting legacy.

Gabriela Gallegos

To achieve my dream, I had to break it down into smaller, achievable steps. Learning English was the first hurdle, as I barely spoke the language when I arrived in the US. Then, I had to secure admission to BYU and gain acceptance into the nursing program. After approximately three years of hard work and determination, I accomplished all three goals, and the journey was filled with tears, challenges, and sacrifices. However, with the help of colleagues and family members, I was finally living my dream that I had worked so hard for.

Nursing school was tough, but it was undeniably worth it. I found great satisfaction in my studies and discovered that my heritage played a significant role in shaping my desire to become a nurse. As a Latina, I have been able to connect with Spanish-speaking patients on a profound level. Over the course of nearly four years as a nurse, I’ve had the privilege of assisting hundreds of Hispanic patients in the hospital, making a difference in their lives during some of their most challenging moments. My cultural background has enabled me to offer unique support and understanding to these patients, bridging the gap and providing comfort in times of uncertainty. My story is a testament to the power of perseverance, faith, and the profound impact that one’s heritage can have on their chosen path in life.”

Emely Guardia Garrido:

“Throughout my life, I've harbored a deep-seated passion for the medical field, even though I initially remained uncertain about the specific path I wished to pursue. When the opportunity to come to the USA arose, I couldn't help but notice the underrepresentation of Hispanics within the healthcare industry.


Determined to make a difference, I embarked on a journey by enrolling in Ensign College's medical assistant program. Since graduating, I have been dedicated to my role as a medical assistant, where I've had the privilege of aiding individuals within my Hispanic community. Witnessing the positive impact I've made has fueled my aspiration to further my career as a nurse. My goal is to continue assisting my community by providing them with the highest level of care, all while ensuring they receive that care in their own language.”

The BYU community is uplifted by our students, faculty, and alumni of Hispanic Heritage. We’re deeply moved by the difference Emely, Gabi and so many others are making. Their determination and accomplishments serve as a beacon of light and hope to all. Truly, they embody the mission and aims of BYU as they learn the Healers art and honor their heritage.