Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
Soledad Gonzalez was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and moved to the United States at the age of 15. Settling in the Yakima Valley, she first enrolled at YVC in 2002, to attend English Language Acquisition (formerly English as a Second Language) courses. Over the next several years, she worked as a server at a local restaurant, got married, and welcomed three children into the world.
At 22, she decided that that she wanted more. With the help of the Opportunities Industrializations Center (OIC) of Yakima she was able to begin GED courses on YVC’s Grandview Campus. After earning her GED, she enrolled in YVC’s I-BEST Nursing Assistant Certificate (NAC) program. The two-quarter program prepares students for a career as a nursing assistant while improving their reading, writing and math skills. Once she had earned her NAC credentials, she felt empowered to do more. In the fall of 2013 she began taking her prerequisite courses to be eligible to apply for YVC’s Nursing program.
Soledad’s world was turned upside down when her husband was diagnosed with cancer during the beginning of her second year in the nursing program. Throughout her husband’s illness, she never lost sight of her goals. She worked hard to care for him, care for their children, and continued to make her education a priority. “When my husband was diagnosed with cancer I didn’t want to drop out of school,” she said. “Instead I chose to continue to work toward my goal. I knew cancer is a disease that many people could pass away from really soon. I knew that if this happened, I would be a single mom and I needed to be able to afford my bills and make a living for my children. I knew that as a nurse I was going to be able to provide for my family by myself,” she continued.
Seeing the care provided by his oncology team helped her realize a passion for oncology. Sadly, her husband passed away just months after his diagnosis. “Watching the nurses care for my husband during his final days was inspiring. They didn’t just care for the patients, but for their family as well. They would ask me how I was feeling, if I’d eaten that day, and this support was crucial,” she continued.
Gonzalez credits some of her success to the support and help of her instructors. “I would recommend YVC to others wanting to earn a degree. Every instructor I have had has always been willing to help me whenever I needed something,” she stated. She is also thankful for the financial assistance provided through the state need grant and scholarships from the YVC Foundation. “Receiving financial assistance helped me a lot. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for my education,” she continued.
Gonzalez graduated in Fall 2018 with an associate of applied science degree in nursing. “I think my husband will be very proud of me because he always told me to keep going and finish my studies. When I stopped to care for him on his last days he made me promise him that I was going to go back and finish like we had always planned. He always said that after the storm there is calm,” she concluded. She plans to take her board exam and hopes to work in the oncology department at a local hospital. Ultimately, her goal is to return to school and pursue a bachelor’s degree.