The alliance students come from high schools around the Omaha area and take college-level classes at UNMC to prepare for health careers. Each month, UNMC Today will profile an alliance student to let us get to know more about these young learners.
Today we meet Jessica Valdez, a senior at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln High School.
How did you get involved in the UNMC High School Alliance?
I first heard of the High School Alliance program from my high school counselor and my school mentor. They informed me that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn't pass up.
What sparked your interest in science?
I have watched my grandmother struggle with diabetes, arthritis and high cholesterol. It not only changed her life but also the life of my family. We have always had to take care of her, and soon that caregiving became second nature to me. That is why I started volunteering at a local hospital, and this is where I became exposed to and fell in love with the medical field. The thought of everyone working together to reach a common goal of every patient recovering, is what fascinates me the most.
What are your career aspirations?
I want to become a pediatric physical therapist and work with the children in the community where I grew up, right here in the metro area.
What has been the best part of your UNMC High School Alliance experience?
The best part of being in this program is the courses we are offered. The professors, students and experiences we have had are beyond anything we could experience at our home high schools. Any time we step on campus we are treated like UNMC students and are expected to act like them. This is such a wonderful opportunity and I am glad to be a part of it.