Citlaly Lopez pursuing career as nurse anesthetist
Citlaly Lopez was 4 years old when she moved with her family to Minnesota from Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s 31 states. Known for its wealth of indigenous cultures, including the Mixtec and Zapotec peoples, as well as pre-Columbian archaeological sites like Monte Albán, Oaxaca is a rugged, isolated land in Mexico’s deep south. Citlaly is proud of her Mexican heritage. Her name means “star” and can be traced to the Aztec deity, Citlalicue, the goddess of the Milky Way.
Today, Citlaly is a 22-year-old sophomore at Inver Hills Community College. She is enrolled in the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program with plans to graduate from Inver Hills May 2017.
“Once I earn my A.S. in Nursing at Inver, I’m transferring to Metropolitan State University to earn my B.S.N.,” Citlaly said. “My long-range career goal is to get my master’s and doctorate and become a nurse anesthetist.”
In the meantime, Citlaly is an extraordinarily busy full-time college student. She’s raising her 3-year-old daughter, Yaida, while holding down two jobs, a personal care attendant (PCA) working with autistic children and a customer service representative with American Family Insurance.
“I actually went to American Family to get insurance,” she recalled. “When the insurance agent saw my grades, he asked me to come work for him. I wasn’t sure if I would like the job, but I decided to give it a shot and ended up loving it. You’re helping people and that desire to serve is what’s motivating me to become a nurse.”
TRIO Student Support Services
Citlaly graduated from Eagan High School in 2012. She was active in theatre and spent much of her time exploring Hispanic dance, including cumbia, bachata and salsa. As a first-generation college student, she was eligible to join TRIO Student Support Services when she enrolled at Inver Hills.
“TRIO SSS has been a great supportive group for me,” Citlaly said. “I feel I can just go in and talk to Ruby, my TRIO advisor, about anything—my struggles, stress, anxiety. It’s really nice to know I have someone I can trust and I can just talk to from time to time. Ruby is always happy. She’s a very optimistic person and I feel I can relate to her in many areas. I’ll really miss Ruby when I graduate.”
Ruby Murillo, M.S., loves her work as a TRIO SSS advisor. She was a TRIO student herself for more than 10 years. Both she and Citlaly are fortunate to have parents who pushed and encouraged them to go to college and pursue careers that would offer the chance at a better lifestyle.
“I can identify with Citlaly’s experiences and perseverance,” Ruby said. “We come from similar backgrounds. She is a wonderful role model and it’s great for others to see that they can persevere as well.”
Citlaly loves the camaraderie and sense of belonging in TRIO. “They are all just very fun people,” she said. “TRIO events are great to just forget about the stress you have going on in your life and just relax and feel supported.”
More about Citlaly…
Why did you choose Inver Hills?
I heard Inver was a really good school in terms of transferring credits to other colleges and universities; one day I decided to come visit the campus and I really liked the set up.
Why did you choose your career field?
I love helping others and have always really enjoyed learning about medicine.
What has been your toughest challenge in life?
Balancing work, a 3-year-old little girl running around, and attending college full time. I’m often up studying until 2 a.m. I’m in a nursing study group and that helps. So does the college library—I love the library.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Being accepted by the Inver Hills Nursing program, which is one of the most competitive in the state; maintaining exemplary grades throughout school and being recognized for it; the amount of volunteering I did through my middle and high school years.
What person has influenced you the most in life?
My parents and all the hard work they put in to get me to this country and support my sister and me.
Three words that describe you as a person:
Reliable. Determined. Compassionate.
Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Foundation Nursing Scholarship
Citlaly was awarded the Weyerhaeuser Foundation Nursing Scholarship, receiving $6,500 over the course of two semesters. Preference is given to first-generation students and immigrants. Also considered are evidence of clear career goals and academic achievement, financial need and life circumstances, and honors, awards and campus community service.
“The Weyerhaeuser Scholarship really helps lift a huge burden in terms of financial hardship,” said Citlaly, who was also awarded a Pell Grant and a $7,500 Think Small Scholarship. She participated in TuitionMatch-Minnesota as well. Scholarships are awarded one per term. “Scholarships are great motivators. They show that all your hard work pays off.”
Citlaly resides in Rosemount, Minnesota, and comes from a large family. She’s the eldest of five children, three sisters, Yechni, 21, who’s earning her A.A. at Inver, Karina, 11, and Irene, 5, and one brother, Brandon, 8. “I’m very family-oriented,” she said. “My 3-year-old daughter, Yaida, is my world.”
When she’s not working or studying, Citlaly likes listening to music plus playing and spending time with Yaida as much as possible. “I really like holding family events when I do get the chance because I believe it is very important to keep the family united,” she said.
Citlaly Lopez | 21 Answers
- Favorite season: Summer
- Favorite natural feature: Waterfalls
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Dancing
- Your national bird if you could have one: Mourning dove
- Place you would most like to visit: Great Wall of China
- Favorite holiday: Christmas
- Your national mammal if you could have one: Canadian horse
- Favorite actor or actress: Thalia
- Favorite band or performing artist: I love music so I’ll name a few: Romeo Santos (formerly with Aventura), Prince Royce, Thalia, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias
- Your personal motto if you had to have one: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Artistotle”
- Coolest thing in the world: Languages; I loved taking French and I want to learn Mandarin.
- Scariest thing in the world: Spiders, wasps, scorpions
- Favorite all-time TV show: Don’t have one. I have never been a fan of television, so I don’t watch it.
- Favorite all-time movie: Holes
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To raise my daughter to become a successful, respectful, and caring young lady.
- Most precious material possession: None
- First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Buy a jet and fly to Mexico whenever I want to visit family.
- Dream occupation: Nurse anesthetist
- Person you would most like to meet: Thalia
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: Learn to speak Mandarin
- Humankind’s greatest challenge: Donald Trump
To learn more about Nursing at Inver Hills, contact:
To learn more about the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Foundation Nursing Scholarship, contact:
Executive Director of Foundation and Community Relations