CSUMB nursing program builds healthcare workforce

Nursing student and program director in exam room

Nursing program graduate Maria Elena Garcia and Director Alyssa Erikson | Photo by Florenz Tuazon

December 20, 2022

By Sophia Huang McKenzie

Her dream began in childhood in a rural community in Mexico. Maria Elena Garcia remembers watching and admiring her grandmother, the town “nurse.”

“In that small town, the nearest doctor was over 45 minutes by car and many of the residents never saw a doctor in their life,” she said.

Without formal training, her grandmother assisted ill or injured patients and stabilized them until they could be taken to see the nearest doctor, Garcia said.

Inspired by her grandmother, she wanted to go to school, get an education, become a nurse, and help others.

“Unfortunately, there was no chance for me to pursue a career in the medical field as the nearest school was hours away, and the lack of economic support, and the existence of ‘machismo’ was abundant,” Garcia said. “I was heartbroken.” 

Decades later, heartbreak turned to joy when her dream became a reality. Garcia overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to be the first in her family to graduate from college. Her degree? A Bachelor of Science in Nursing from CSU Monterey Bay.

Read the full story in CSUMB Magazine