Jessica RoblesNov. 19, 2019 — CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Nursing student Jessica Robles, 21, has known she wanted to be a nurse since she was seven years old.

“I would get those little plastic doctor’s kits and pretend I was giving my family injections,” Robles said.

But much of her inspiration came from Robles’ grandmother, who was not formally trained as a nurse, but had to be taught basic nursing skills on the job in the small Zacatecas, Mexico village where she grew up.

“They were in need of nurses back then, when my grandma was probably in her 20s,” Robles said. “The hospitals and clinics were taking women in and saying ‘We’re just going to teach you on the spot.’ My grandma would tell her stories and I really liked to listen.”

Robles recently was one of 20 Latinx students nationwide awarded a $5,000 scholarship from Café Bustelo, a Latin coffee brand seeking recipients whose Latinx heritage, family and community influenced their desire to obtain a college degree. The degree was awarded in partnership with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

The nursing stories at her grandmother’s knee, her parents’ wish for better lives for their children, and Robles dedication earned her the scholarship, which will help her with tuition and supplies as financial aid, she said, didn’t quite cover all she needed to study nursing.

Ventura born and raised, Robles just transferred to CSUCI from Ventura College this semester. Robles, who is the oldest of four sisters, is the first in her generation to attend college. Her mother is a house cleaner and her father works in gardening and landscaping.

“My parents always instilled education in us,” she said. “They only have a fifth grade education so they know the importance of education. I’m glad they did this because I’m loving it. They used to tell me ‘Do you really see yourself cleaning bathrooms and cleaning up other people’s yards?’”

Assistant Professor of Nursing Colleen Nevins has Robles in two of her classes.

“I find Jessica to be a high-performing student in both the classroom and lab,” she said.  “She is a conscientious student who exhibits an ability to transfer the knowledge from readings or outside prep work to learning activities.  She is off to an impressive start in the nursing program.  It is an honor to have Jessica in my courses.”

Robles also considers herself a political activist, willing to spend what little free time she has manning phone banks and volunteering for candidates she believes will further the cause of social justice and the Latinx community.

Robles said the scholarship will help her with supplies and tuition as she becomes the first person in her family to graduate from college, and hopes go on to pursue a master’s degree in Nursing.

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