Jose E. Rueda

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

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

Growing up in South Florida as a first-generation American, Jose Rueda’s road to FIU was like that of most immigrant families, marked by financial struggle and perseverance.

The cost of college and the financial burden his parents bore – holding multiple jobs to support their four children – compelled Jose to enlist in the U.S. Army at the age of 19. He served five-and-a-half years of active duty, starting as a Combat Medic Paratrooper in Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division.

He then transferred to the Army Health Clinic Southern Command in Doral in 2013, and quickly took over clinical operations as the senior Health Care Specialist after the departure of two of his superiors. This “sink or swim situation,” he said, helped him grow as a leader and health care specialist.

Emboldened by this experience and driven to complete his education, Jose applied to FIU’s Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing. His vocation crystalized last year when visiting his grandmother in a remote area of Mexico to educate his family about the care for her late-stage cancer diagnosis and provide aid in her daily care.

Jose plans to resume his entrepreneurial career in real estate wholesaling, buying rental properties to financially support his goal for missionary work. After graduation, Jose and his wife, Holly, plan to go on missionary expeditions to provide medical aid, education and other services to people who lack access to healthcare in different countries.