Hard of Hearing West-MEC Nursing Student Earns Full-Ride Scholarship to ASU

Juliana taking blood pressure of a patient.

Juliana Trevino Ramirez is a second-year student flourishing in Western Maricopa Education Center’s (West-MEC) Nursing Services Program. When she graduates from Bourgade Catholic High School and completes her program at West-MEC this spring, she will head off to Arizona State University (ASU) on a full-ride scholarship, where she wants to pursue nursing or business.

When Juliana Trevino Ramirez first applied to Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) she was interested in the Medical Assisting program. Unfortunately, she was not accepted. Although Trevino Ramirez was crushed, she never gave up. A lesson she’s learned time and time again in her life.

Her mom, who had always wanted to be a nurse, pushed her to apply to the nursing program. Even though nursing wasn’t her first choice, she applied, figuring that if she did get in, she could say she at least tried something new.

"When my counselor told me I got a full-ride to ASU, I asked him if he was sure so many times think he started to get annoyed with me. I just couldn't believe it," said Trevino Ramirez. "I told my parents and we all started crying, even my dad, who's not an emotional person. It was a really emotional moment."

Trevino Ramirez's story is even more incredible because she has mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears and is hard of hearing. She lives with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, which she's dealt with since birth. Trevino Ramirez has used hearing aids since she was six months old.

In her classes, she used an FM system, where her teachers would wear a microphone that would send the teacher's voice directly to her hearing aids. This worked well for Trevino Ramirez until fifth grade, when she began to get picked on for her hard of hearing.

She said, "I was considered weird, and I became shy and distant from other students which is sad because I was a social butterfly before that. From then on I didn't use my hearing aids or microphone at all for a few years."

It wasn't until seventh grade that Trevino Ramirez began to feel comfortable wearing her hearing aids, again. She had reconnected with a former teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of hers, Diana Hernandez. Hernandez came to see Trevino Ramirez's presentation in class about her hearing loss.

After seeing the class size and learning that Trevino Ramirez wasn't wearing her hearing aids, Hernandez asked how she learned at school. Trevino Ramirez simply responded, "I don't."

"I was failing my classes; I didn't have any help. I felt like I wasn't going to go to college or have a career," Trevino Ramirez said. "It is crazy I was thinking that so young in seventh grade but that's where my head was at. After coming to that presentation though, Mrs. Hernandez helped me get into a private school on an ESA scholarship which helped me a lot. I am grateful for her help."

Her time at St. Louis the King Catholic School motivated Trevino Ramirez, showing her, she is intelligent and capable. She retook the seventh grade and says it was one of the best decisions she ever made to do so, as it gave her the chance to have multiple years to build her confidence in school before high school.

But, during her first year of high school, she stopped wearing hearing aids, again. after getting picked on once more. That summer, Trevino Ramirez attended camp for people who are deaf and hard of hearing and it helped her a lot. She was able to connect with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community for the first time in her life, which helped her continue to build confidence in herself.

The following year, Trevino Ramirez was selected to join the National Honor Society (NHS). This is something she never expected or thought she could do. Making it in NHS filled her with more confidence than she had ever had.

Trevino Ramirez. Said, "I never thought I was that great of a student. I was really excited when I got in (NHS), I started crying. I told my mom ‘I really am smart, I can really do things, I never thought I'd be here.’"

However, Trevino Ramirez admits she still doesn't wear her hearing aids every day. The challenging experiences she faced that started in fifth grade will always stick with her, but she has already been more successful than she ever thought.

Trevino Ramirez thought she would never have a career or go to college. Her parents immigrated from Mexico and did not have the opportunity to attend college. Trevino Ramirez notes this as one of the reasons she works so hard as she wants to get a college education and a great job in hopes of giving back to her parents one day for everything they’ve done.

"To anyone in a similar situation, I would just say to keep trying, never give up and prove those people wrong," Trevino Ramirez added. "You won't only prove those people wrong but you’ll prove yourself wrong, as well, like I did. I never thought I'd be one of those smart students, but I'm super proud of where I am now."