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Nursing class of ’17 student, Yesenia Reyes, is ready to tackle the future

Yesenia Reyes

After seeing one too many amputations triggered by “out-of-control” diabetes, Yesenia Reyes decided to alter her career path. As a hospital nurse in Los Angeles, “I was helping patients at the end of the disease,” she says. “I wanted to be there at the beginning, to prevent complications.” So she enrolled in UCI’s nurse practitioner program, which offers premier classroom and clinical training and encourages students to work in impoverished communities.

Reyes’ passion for medicine began in high school, when she volunteered at a hospital and found herself translating for Spanish-speaking patients who didn’t fully understand their doctors’ diagnoses and care instructions.

After UCI, she hopes to spend one year at a medical office that specializes in treating low-income, immigrant families. Then the saxophone-playing L.A. native plans to seek a Ph.D. so that she can research diabetes, find ways to better manage the condition, and become a professor teaching other aspiring nurse practitioners.