Nursing student inspired to give back to her community

The Helen F. Shishino Centennial Scholarship has allowed Yuliana Estrada to spend her energies focusing on her work
Yuliana Estrada

Yuliana Estrada has known she wanted to go into nursing since she was a young girl.

When Estrada was 9, her grandfather had to be hospitalized after an accident at work. Over the course of the following week, Estrada and her mother visited him regularly to see how he was doing. The way the nurses treated her grandfather — their expertise and their kindness — inspired her to think about becoming a nurse.

"I just noticed the care and compassion that the nurses had for him and us, his family, and I just knew that I wanted to do something like that in the future," said Estrada, a fourth-year student in the UCLA School of Nursing and a recipient of the Helen F. Shishino Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship.

Estrada said she is very grateful to have received the scholarship. The financial support of donors allows her to focus more time on the rigorous coursework of UCLA's nursing program instead of having to worry about working to cover her expenses or taking out student loans.

Funds for the scholarship were raised as part of the recently completed UCLA Centennial Campaign. The campaign brought together nearly 220,000 donors who were moved to demonstrate their commitment to UCLA and its mission of innovative teaching, groundbreaking research and service to the community and the world. One of the most important components was support for students like Estrada.

A first-generation college student who moved from Mexico to the United States at 3 years old, Estrada wants to encourage others to pursue their dreams.

"I am a first-generation immigrant and that means a lot to me, because I feel like I'm an example for others to follow," she said. "That it is possible to seek your dreams and it is possible to follow the career goals that you have."

After she graduates from UCLA this summer, Estrada hopes to become a nurse in her home community of Stockton, California. She wants to gain more experience and return to school to obtain her master's degree in nursing.

"I want to be a family nurse practitioner and be able to give back not only to my community," she said, "but also to my family who have been very supportive throughout my educational career."

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