Commencement holds special meaning for Physical Therapy student

May 17, 2018

By Jan Jarvis

Rosie Web
 
Rosie Ruiz’s parents had a middle school education and an unstoppable drive to give their children a better life than the one they had growing up in Mexico.

“My parents worked so hard in low-income jobs just to provide for us,” Ruiz said. “They’re the reason I have been so driven to do something with my life.”

For now, that something is graduating Saturday with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, a challenge made all the more difficult by an unthinkable loss. Days before her second semester at UNT Health Science Center, Ruiz learned that both of her parents and her younger brother had been killed in an accident involving an 18-wheeler.

Ruiz said she wanted to quit school. But inspired by her parents and buoyed by faculty members and her classmates, she made the decision to keep going.

“My parents were at my white-coat ceremony, and they were so proud of me,” she said. “It is so emotional knowing they won’t be here for my graduation, but at the end of the day, I’m doing this because I want to honor them.”

Ruiz is among 709 students from UNTHSC’s Class of 2018 who are expected to graduate Saturday during the Commencement Ceremony at Texas Christian University’s Schollmaier Arena.

Among those graduates will be 44 others who are earning their Doctorate of Physical Therapy, many of whom helped Ruiz get through the loss of her family.

“I was afraid of failing school because my mind just wasn’t into it,” Ruiz said. “But I had classmates who helped me prepare for tests and faculty members who supported me so much.”

While coping with her own grief, she managed to give back to the community by participating in a Trinity Habitat for Humanity project, volunteering at a prom for individuals with physical and mental disabilities and helping injured runners at the Cowtown Marathon.

Although her classes were challenging, she reminded herself that she has wanted to be a physical therapist since high school. Her parents nurtured that dream and worked long hours so she could attend college, then graduate school. She plans to work in geriatrics after graduation.

When she attends commencement Saturday, her brother Sergio, along with other relatives and friends will be there to cheer her on. However, it will be her parents that she will be thinking about when she receives her doctorate.

“My parents are the reason I kept going,” she said. “That kind of love and support never really ends.”

Those who cannot attend the ceremony can watch online at https://livestream.com/unthsc

Thad Miller Systems Thinking Seminar
CDC and UNTHSC team up to discuss tuberculosis elimination

By Sally Crocker   HSC Insider Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email. Public health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNT Health Science Center and Tarleton State University recentl...Read more

Nov 20, 2018

All of Us Event
NIH exhibit to boost medical breakthroughs coming to UNTHSC

By Alex Branch   HSC Insider Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email. Tarrant County residents have a unique opportunity to contribute to medical breakthroughs and health research this month when a National Ins...Read more

Nov 20, 2018

Meharvan Singh
Study: Progesterone protects the brain during stroke

By Jan Jarvis   HSC Insider Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email. Time is critical when someone has a stroke – especially the first three to four hours. That’s how long someone has to get to the hospi...Read more

Nov 19, 2018

Pa Fc
For physician assistant students, Friday lessons are hands-on and lecture-free

By Alex Branch   The physician assistant students huddled around Davey, a 5-year-old boy who wheezed and struggled to breathe. Students studied his medical history chart and leaned down to talk to him on the exam table. They calmed Davey’s mother and watched his vital signs on a digi...Read more

Nov 14, 2018