Alma Diaz ’17
Alma Diaz ‘17 didn’t set out to be a Spartan of Promise, but in October 2016 she earned the coveted title. Every year, ten seniors are selected for this distinction by a panel comprised of UNC Greensboro GOLD alumni (graduates of the last decade), Woman’s College alumnae, and Vanguard alumni (graduates of UNCG and WC of fifty years or more) on the basis of academic excellence and community service.
The honor, however, was just the beginning.
“I’ve done so much at UNCG,” says Diaz. “And I want to do so much more. I want to give back and help others.”
That desire to help others might be why Diaz majored in nursing. In addition to her volunteer work with the Greensboro Children’s Museum and Bags for the Homeless, Diaz completed a 2016 summer externship at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. For 40 hours per week, Diaz shadowed and worked side-by-side with registered nurses, gaining valuable hands-on experience and educational opportunities directly in her field.
Diaz hasn’t slowed down since graduation. For the last year, she has worked as a registered nurse at Duke University Hospital, one of our nation’s top hospitals for patient care, medical education, and groundbreaking research. In the thick of medical breakthroughs and ever-evolving needs of patients, Diaz looks toward a future with better health care for all and a doctorate in nursing for herself.
Diaz credits her ability to help others now to the support she received during her years at UNCG:
“My first job was retail work when I was 15. I decided then I wanted to go to college, but affording it was the problem. The Aubrey Lee Brooks Award made that possible.”
The Aubrey Lee Brooks Award, established in 1955 by lawyer, politician, author, and philanthropist Aubrey Lee Brooks, supports graduating high school students from what was previously known as the “Imperial 5th Court District”: an area of 11 counties that includes Alamance, Durham, Person, and Rockingham. Brooks, who was born and raised in Person County and practiced law in the 5th Court District for many years, developed great affection for the area. He created the Aubrey Lee Brooks Foundation for the sole purpose of supporting students from those counties who attend UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, or UNCG.
The award, which for more than 60 years has funded approximately half of all recipients’ undergraduate education, is given to students who demonstrate academic excellence, great character, leadership skills, and “the will to prepare for a career as a useful and informed citizen.” Diaz, who received the award every semester from 2013-17, embodies those qualities and continues to put them to good use as she advances in her field.
Brooks hoped his award would support students on their way to becoming informed, active citizens, and this Spartan is not only living that hope, but also promising to do more.
“I don’t want to just be a registered nurse,” Diaz says. “I want to always help others with my career choices, so I’m going to have my doctorate of nursing practice. I’m going to give back every kindness that I got.”
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations
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