Alumni Achievers - Irene Rosales

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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit:
“Portraits of Alumni Achievement”

Irene Rosales ‘04

“Do not listen to negative people.”

Irene Rosales

Irene Rosales ‘04, BSN
Director of Student Health
United Independent School District

Watching the nurse who made monthly visits to her childhood home was what inspired Irene Rosales to make it her life’s mission to become a registered nurse and be able to help others feel better. This was a lofty goal for this first-grade girl who grew up in the barrio where the odds of success were against her.

Rosales was taunted by those around her for being poor, for the way her family lived, and for having a stuttering speech impediment. Little emphasis was paid to her education and she frequently missed school to care for her younger siblings, sometimes for months at a time. A teacher once told her to go home because she would never be able to learn. In high school, a counselor advised her to change her career plans because she did not have what it took to be nurse. So she did, and for 14 years worked as a laboratory technician.

The encouragement from her mother-in-law finally motivated her to work towards her nursing degree. Support from her family and husband provided the moral support to seek a BSN, which she completed in 2004.

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