Karla Nieves

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

College/School: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Nicaraguan immigrant Karla Nieves enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school to pursue a dream of helping people through the practice of health care while giving back to her adopted country. Her first step was serving with the 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Maintenance Battalion, Bravo Surgical Company during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Since 2003, Karla has served on two fronts: deployed around the world as a Hospital Corpsman working in mother-baby, mental health and cardiology units; and at home, juggling the challenges of a dual military family. A mother of two, she alternates with herusband between shore duty and deployments. 

As a Naval Medical Officer Recruiter in Miami, she was recognized as "Enlisted Person of the Year," "Officer Recruiter of the Year," and "Inspirational Leader of the Year." In 2016, she was one of the first five enlisted women to integrate into an all-male Marine infantry battalion, serving as Leading Petty Officer of 1st Battalion's, 8th Marines to mentor 65 junior Sailors and oversee the medical readiness of 260 Marines and Sailors.

Karla has persevered as a woman in the military, a Hospital Corpsman and a full-time student in FIU’s Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. But when asked what her most difficult job has been Karla says, “I’ve had my feet bleed through my boots, but I don’t think that’s as hard as trying to be a good mom.”