DURANT, Okla. – Yoselin Rodriguez-Diaz appreciates the sacrifices her family has made to enable her to pursue her dream of a higher education. And while that dream may not be achieved for a few more years, she already has a purpose in mind.
“I’ve always liked helping people,’’ the Southeastern Oklahoma State University junior said recently. “And I want to give back to my community.’’
Rodriguez-Diaz was born in Mexico, but moved to the United States when she was just two months old. She grew up in small-town Oklahoma (Broken Bow in McCurtain County), where she recalls learning to speak English by watching cartoons on television.
Today, Rodriguez-Diaz is in pre-professional studies, majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. Her career goal is to be a physician’s assistant, which requires an advanced degree beyond the bachelor’s.
And as far as helping her community, she would like to eventually return to Broken Bow to open her own practice.
Rodriguez-Diaz gets emotional when talking about her parents, who have worked tirelessly, while encouraging their three daughters to pursue their goals.
“My parents always told us that they were going to pay for our education, but then we were on our own,’’ she said. “They may have not always been able to be at all of our basketball games or other activities, but that was because they were working so that we could have a better life.’’
Yoselin’s older sister, Melissa, is a Southeastern (’19) criminal justice graduate who works for the Broken Bow Police Department. She also has a younger sister.
Like many other students, Rodriguez-Diaz credits Southeastern’s “small-knit community’’ and “small class sizes’’ as being keys to her success academically. She’s also been involved on campus with the President’s Leadership Class, Student Government Association, the Alumni Legacy Leaders, and was a participant in the Newman Civic Fellowship program.
In addition, she has assisted in the University’s recruiting efforts by serving as a volunteer translator at area high school events for prospective students.
“One of the first people I met on campus was Dr. (Diane) Dixon (biology chair/professor),’’ Rodriguez-Diaz said. “As my academic advisor, she has helped me stay on track. Vice President (Liz) McCraw has also impacted me greatly. Overall, it has been an awesome experience for me here. Southeastern is a place where you make friends easily, and if you need any help with anything, you just ask. It’s like a family away from home.’’
But why did Yoselin choose the health care field?
“Most of my family still lives in Mexico, and we go back twice a year to visit them,’’ she said. “When you go there, you immediately see the need for better health care services. And rural Oklahoma also needs additional health care services as well. I want to do something that can make a difference in people’s lives.’’