The older Alyssa Magliba gets, the more she believes in things happening when they’re meant to.

The fourth-semester nursing student said her nursing experience has been proof of that. Magliba graduated from Merced College with an A.A. in Health Science in 2015, but had to wait three long years before she was admitted into the nursing program.

 Her initial reaction was understandably disappointment, but Magliba said time has given her a different perspective.

 “I remember traveling up and down California, turning in applications wherever I could,” Magliba said. “Nursing had always been the goal. Both my parents are nurses and so is my sister. It felt like I was just waiting for the next thing to happen.

 “Honestly, it ended up working out. My best friend from high school got accepted in the same semester as myself. During those three years of waiting, I got to travel. I held down jobs. I became who I am because of it.”

 Even with Magliba’s gained maturity and life experiences, she said the nursing program has been a challenge. She was forced to think of things in ways she never had before and has regularly scoured YouTube videos to help break down concepts that she’s struggled with.

 Magliba eventually found a rhythm, however, and has started to thrive. Her efforts have been recognized as she was one of just three San Joaquin Valley nursing students to earn a 2019 Flora R. Martinez Scholarship for $5,000. Martinez was a Mexican immigrant that helped found Golden Valley Health Centers. She served on their board for over 43 years until she passed away in 2014.

 “The scholarship was one of a kind, because I feel like Flora Martinez’s story is my family’s story,” Magliba said. “She started as a field worker from Mexico and made this huge impact on health care in the area. My dad used to be a field worker from the Philippines. He brought us to the United States for a better life. 

 “I really relate to (Flora’s) ideals and I’m inspired to try and live up to them.”