Robert Bozeman

Degree: Bachelor in Communication Arts

College/School: College of Architecture + The Arts

On February 27, 2005, Robert Bozeman, then 21, went to a nightclub with two people he considered friends. His next memory was waking up in a hospital bed, tubes all over his body. He had been shot in the head with an AK-47 and his companions had left him, near death, in the middle of U.S. 1.

A street-cleaning crew found him and contacted paramedics who rushed him to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where doctors performed life-saving surgery. He spent five days in a coma and had to re-learn how to talk and walk. A former high school athlete, he made a speedy recovery and went home after just six weeks. For the next five years, however, he lived with a physical reminder of that night – doctors had removed part of his skull, leaving Robert’s head deformed. This was a hard adjustment for someone who had modeled for local publications. In his darkest moments he considered suicide and revenge, although no one ever identified his shooter, who was never apprehended.

Robert, who had the support of his mother, family and friends throughout his recovery, learned to let go of the anger and forgive. He became an anti-gun violence advocate, speaking to young people about the importance of walking away from conflicts and encouraging them to choose peace over violence. Five years after being shot, surgeons reconstructed his skull.

After earning an associate degree in mass communication from Miami Dade College, Robert enrolled at FIU to pursue a degree in communication arts. After graduation, Robert plans to write books about his experiences and those of others who have overcome hardships, as well as continue mentoring young people.