Alice Muniz opened this year’s MDC Alumni Hall of Fame awards ceremony with an inspiring speech about never giving up on a dream. After starting and stopping nursing school, she is set to graduate from the Benjamin Leon School of Nursing at MDC in December 2021. During the pandemic, she has courageously served on the frontlines administering COVID-19 tests. What follows is the speech she gave during the Hall of Fame Heroes Edition awards ceremony held on June 9, 2021. Watch a recording of the event at mdc.edu/livestream; Alice speaks at the 11-minute mark.
Good evening everyone, my name is Alice Muniz, and I AM MDC.
I am a 34-year-old single mom. I am presently a third-semester nursing student at the Benjamin Leon School of Nursing at Miami Dade College.
I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. I am the youngest of three children. While growing up, my brother was a sick child and my mother made the decision to give up her nursing career and be a stay-at-home mother. My father worked two full-time jobs to make sure his children had a better life. As a little girl, my mom would tell me; “You should be a nurse because you are so caring and loving.” Fast forward a few years, when I was in high school, a tragic event occurred, 9/11. At that time my father was a computer consultant at the World Trade Center, when the building came down, so did our source of income. However, my mother would not allow this hurdle to get in our way. After, 15 years of being out of the field, she returned to nursing.
In 2004, I graduated high school and decided to follow my siblings and move to Tallahassee, Florida. I enrolled in Tallahassee Community College. In 2006 I realized I was not mature enough to go on with my college career. So, I enrolled in cosmetology school and completed the course of study in 2007. In March of that year, I moved to Miami, to do an internship in cosmetology. I loved the culture and the atmosphere in Miami, and I knew it would be a great place for my parents to live.
My father was the first to move here, after 6 years of looking for employment in NYC, he found a job in Miami and started his new job in the spring of 2007. My mother stayed in New York working as a Licensed Practical Nurse and going to school to pursue her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. Knowing she would be relocating in the fall of 2007, I asked my cosmetology clients, “What is the best nursing school in Miami? They all said Miami Dade College makes the best nurses.” I knew when my mom got here where I would take her to register.
In December, I asked my mom to go for a drive with me. I drove her to Miami Dade College’s Medical Campus and enrolled her in school. She started at MDC in the Spring of 2008 and graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 2010. In 2012 she graduated again with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In 2014, she returned to MDC as a nursing instructor. Presently, she is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing, and she is pursuing her Ph.D. in nursing. I did join my mom as she pursued her associate degree, but again I was not ready for college.
In 2016, I had my beautiful daughter which is my biggest blessing. In 2019, 10 years after I first enrolled in MDC, my daughter fell ill. I was forced to take a leave of absence from my job. Human resources informed me they would not hold my position. That was my “ah-ha” moment that pushed me to go back to school. I re-enrolled in MDC college in pursuit of a Nursing Degree. Again, there would be obstacles in my school journey.
In March of 2020, the world came to a complete halt when Covid 19 hit. I had to juggle being an online student, a mom, and a teacher as my daughter was now also taking classes online. With everything going on, it drove me even more to be a nurse. I wanted to be able to help my community and save lives. With all the struggles and obstacles in my way, I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA, make the Dean’s List, and be accepted into the associate of nursing program at MDC. Nursing school has not been easy. It is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Fortunately, it has been rewarding. I am able to give back to my community. I have administered over 100 Covid-19 vaccines at local community sites to Miami-Dade residents. I will be finishing nursing school in December 2021. Upon graduation with my associate degree, I will be returning for my bachelor’s in nursing.
I am thankful for the education Miami Dade has given me. My classmates and I want to thank you for your continued support and generous donations. These gifts have enabled us to fulfill our dreams. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all you do.
My name is Alice Muniz, and I AM MDC.