Who are you?
My name is Yesica Ruiz and I am currently a third-year physical therapy student at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. I was born in Mexico and came to the United States at the age of nine. I am the first in my family with a Bachelor’s degree and will become the first to obtain a Doctorate degree. In addition to being a graduate student, I have volunteered for the city of Pomona for the past two years in activities such as tutoring for grade levels K-12, serving meals at a local church, helping at the Pomona Homeless Shelter, and providing free physical screenings.
What field are you in and what attracted you to that field?
I am pursing my Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. During my senior year in high school, I job shadowed two physical therapists who were compassionate, caring, and knowledgeable. I was attracted to physical therapy because it is a very diverse, fun, and rewarding career. Not only will I be able to make someone get better physically, but I will also work with various healthcare providers and work in different settings.
How do you hope to use your master’s degree to improve the health of your community?
I want to be a voice for minority and underserved communities to improve their health, education, and hope for a better future. Upon graduation, my intent is to work in a hospital and reach out to the community providing classes to families on topics such as exercise, nutrition, and diabetes. I would like to establish a nonprofit organization, which will provide college fieldtrips, guest speakers, and recreational activities for communities in the county of Alameda, CA.
What is a resource or advice you wish you had before starting your doctoral program?
The advice that I would suggest for future students is to be active within your institution and community by being an officer, working as a tutor, or volunteering for your community. My second advice would be to not be afraid to ask for help when you are struggling with a class, an assignment, or a personal problem. You can always rely on your classmates, professors, advisors, and other resources for help. Don’t be afraid to knock on doors.