Adriana Hurtado Overcomes Personal Loss to become College of Nursing and Health Sciences Outstanding Grad

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Adriana Hurtado ‘21 is blazing a trail for young Latinas who dream of a better future. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Hurtado will cross the stage as the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) Fall 2021 Outstanding Graduate on Dec. 11. The designation is sponsored by the TAMU-CC Office of the Provost.

“As a first-generation college student, it’s humbling to see my hard work and dedication be recognized,” Hurtado said. “So many times through my journey, I felt like I was at a disadvantage because I’m the first in my family to pursue higher education, but this honor shows me all my sacrifice was worth it.”

One of five children, Hurtado says family has always played an important role in her life. Hurtado, a Houston native, admits her home environment did not always provide the life she dreamt of for her siblings and her amid personal and financial struggles.

“I know my parents did the best they could, but for my little brother and sister, I want to achieve more,” Hurtado said. “I sometimes felt like I didn’t belong here and that everyone had more support than I did, but that same struggle is what made me who I am today.”

Hurtado’s father, Ubelio Hurtado, passed away in September 2021, during Hurtado’s final semester at TAMU-CC. Hurtado says while her father was not perfect, he was her biggest fan.

“My dad never let me believe I couldn’t reach my dreams,” Hurtado said. “I was daddy’s little girl and I know I made him proud. My father was my shield from the world. He was an amazing father, mentor, and friend.”

Initially a pre-nursing student, Hurtado volunteered time alongside nurses at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. It was then she realized she was more intrigued with the business versus the clinical side of healthcare. She then secured an internship with Driscoll Health Plan in the quality department.  

“Through my work with Driscoll Health Plan, I’ve been able to find myself as a healthcare professional and make an impact for families in need,” Hurtado said. “An internship as valuable as mine is something I hope every Islander gets to experience. I don’t – for one second – take it for granted.”

Through dedication and hard work, Hurtado claimed her seat as a leader within her cohort, serving as president and treasurer of the TAMU-CC Health Science Association (HSA), student senator in the Student Government Association, student representative for the Coalition of Substance Abuse, member of the First-Year Islander Scholar Academy, and communication specialist for the TAMU-CC Islander Launch team. Hurtado says her involvement in campus and student organizations was an essential part of her Islander Impact.

“Working with Islander Launch gave me the insight that I needed to be able to finish my academics,” Hurtado said. “Through that experience, I was able to interact with new faces and get to know more Islanders like myself. It also gave me the perfect platform to better my public speaking skills and make connections with people who helped me realize my dreams.”

Dr. Sherdeana Owens, CONHS Assistant Professor and Health Sciences Coordinator, served as Hurtado’s academic mentor. She says Hurtado is setting the precedent for the next class of Islander students.

“Adriana has been one of the most effective HSA officers that I have seen in over nine years,” Owens said. “She is truly that student that we all want to have; the one who listens, learns, accepts, and goes forward having used feedback for personal and professional improvement. She will be a true asset to the organization that hires her.”

Dr. Miguel Perez III, CONHS Assistant Professor, echoed Owens’ sentiments by reflecting on Hurtado’s drive to make an Islander Impact.

“I remember the first time Adriana asked me for advice on how to succeed in her program,” Perez said. “I was impressed with how she listened and truly took our talks to heart. In the future, I hope she continues to value her unique perspective and asks questions no one else is asking and solves healthcare industry issues from an angle no one has considered.”

Hurtado also gives thanks to Roe Cantu, TAMU-CC Administrative Coordinator II, who acted as her supervisor during her first campus job.

“Roe always went out of her way to assure me that I’m not alone,” Hurtado said. “She guided me through several of the most challenging moments I’ve had as a student.”

Hurtado says all that she accomplished – including earning grants and scholarships and working to pay for the rest of her tuition – was worth the sacrifice.

“Looking back to my freshman year, as a daughter of two immigrants, and Spanish being my first language, I knew earning my bachelor’s degree wasn’t going to be easy,” Hurtado said. “But with dedication and support, I made it.”

Hurtado has accepted a contract offer from the Driscoll Health Plan and hopes to continue her education with a Master of Business Administration with a focus on healthcare management. Her future career aspirations are to become a healthcare executive.

“I want to make a difference for those who face adversity and are disadvantaged,” she said. “Right now, I am living a life that’s better than what I ever could have imagined. I’m proud of myself and proud of the life I’ll be able to share with my siblings. I might be the first to come to college, but after they see this, I know I won’t be the last.”