Yasmin Amaro-Garcia knows exactly when she first became passionate about nursing. It was the Christmas she received a kid-friendly medical kit. “I practiced on my younger sisters and cousins,” she said. “As the oldest, I was always taking care of someone.”
That simple toy launched Yasmin’s dream career—she’ll begin her first professional nursing job at Hackensack Meridian Health after graduation—and along the way, fulfilled another aspiration. Yasmin, whose parents came to the United States from Mexico, is the first in her family to earn a college degree. “It’s a ‘friends and family’ university with its small class size and where everyone knows your name,” she said.
Yasmin is the undergraduate student speaker for the May 2022 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, a fitting close to her rich involvement in the Georgian Court University community. She was a Student Government Association vice president, a two-time Nursing Club president, a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society, and active in LASO, the Hispanic student organization, and LGBTQ@GCU. Yasmin is also a published author, sharing her personal story in Today’s Inspired Young Latinas, Volume III, and organized a community vigil following the death of U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén.
Advocacy is the common bond between Yasmin’s college activities and her future nursing career, which she hopes will be in the ER or trauma. “Advocacy, whether through a social justice lens or for patients, is an important, essential part of who I am,” said Yasmin. “One of nursing’s ethical values is advocacy, and as I’ve learned over the past four years, it’s the biggest thing that I will do as a nurse. Patients know themselves better than we do, but oftentimes, nurses are the only ones who can speak for them.” At Commencement, when Yasmin receives her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she will proudly wear the St. Catherine Medal for Student Achievement, an honor given annually to a student for outstanding leadership and service. “I was astonished to receive it,” she said. “Honestly, I feel like I go under the radar most of the time.” And yet while Yasmin quietly—and sometimes not so quietly—advocates for others, her actions leave a lasting impact.
This story is one in a series of feature stories focused on the Class of 2022. Story contributed by freelance writer Sheila Noonan. Photo by Joshua Tinto ’20, ’22.