Graduate Spotlight: From Aspiring To Accomplished

Alicia and her family smile in a collage of pictures. Her three sons bring joy to her face.

This is a transcript of the speech given by Alicia at the 2022 Whitlow Ice Cream Social Event | SEPTEMBER 14, 2022

Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Alicia Rodriguez. A few years ago, I was one of the featured families in the Austin American Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign. At the time, they called me an ‘aspiring nurse.’ Well, I’m proud to tell you that I am no longer ‘aspiring.’ I am now a Pediatric Site Nurse at Lonestar Circle of Care in Round Rock, thanks to Capital IDEA and donors like you.

I grew up in the valley, raised by my wonderful mother, Zonia, and I originally attempted college right out of high school. My mom had never been, which would have made me a first-generation college graduate. But I was young and unready for the responsibility. When I didn’t feel like going, I didn’t go, and after a semester, I dropped out.

When I turned 21, I left home looking for something new, but 5 years later, my grandmother got really sick, so I moved back to help take care of her. When she passed, my mom and I moved out of the valley to be closer to family and settled here in Williamson County, in the Round Rock / Hutto area. Soon after, I met the future father of my children. I had A.J., my oldest son, and Ezra a couple of years later. At the time, I was working as a medical assistant with Lonestar Circle of Care. I enjoyed it, but I realized that if I wanted a bigger family, which I did, I would need to make more money.

At Lonestar, I saw all the nurses in action, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The problem was I needed a degree. I’d heard about a program called Capital IDEA but thought to myself, ‘nah, it’s too good to be true.’ There had to be a catch, but I went to a CareerUp info session anyway, and I learned there wasn’t a catch, and I got really excited.

“They called me an ‘aspiring nurse.’ Well, I’m proud to tell you that I am no longer ‘aspiring.’ I am now a Pediatric Site Nurse at Lonestar Circle of Care.”

Going back to school as an adult with a family was much more difficult than I expected. The schoolwork and studying were hard enough, but I also had a lot to deal with in my personal life. During the 4 years I was with Capital IDEA, I had my third son, Felix, I separated from my husband, and my mom developed kidney failure, which required dialysis 3 times a week.

A lot of pieces had to come together to make it work. I moved my family to subsidized housing in Georgetown and found an early morning dialysis appointment for my mom. From there, I’d drop the boys at school and then head to my own classes before going to work.

Eventually, the strain started to catch up to me. I started feeling guilty about leaving my mom to take care of the kids in the evenings while I was at work. I also didn’t get to have any time with my boys. I would come home right at bedtime most nights, and the weekends were spent studying. I’d be on my laptop, and my boys would sit next to me with their toy tablets and pretend they were studying, too, just so they could spend time with me.

It was too much, so I did the math and figured that if I quit my job, we could just barely squeeze by on my monthly child support and Pell Grants. It was tight, and there was no cushion for extra things like car repairs. And then an unexpected blessing happened.

“I don’t know if you realize how much good you and Capital IDEA do for families like mine. This has changed my family’s future.”

I got a call from Amy Silvey of Capital IDEA that I was selected as a Season of Caring recipient! What a blessing, and it couldn’t have come at a better time! The funds paid for car repairs, utility bills, groceries, and more. It gave me the help I needed to make it to graduation. And the blessings just kept coming.

I was able to continue my education and earn my bachelor’s degree. I was also able to return to Lonestar Circle of Care, where my years spent as a medical assistant helped me get a job as a Pediatric Site Nurse. Not only that, I got a day shift with weekends off! I’m making up for lost time with my boys. And I just bought a house — a 4 bedroom in Jarrell with a big back yard!

I am so thankful for all the blessings God has given my family. He took care of us through it all and brought wonderful people, like those at Capital IDEA and all of you, into our lives. I don’t know if you realize how much good you and Capital IDEA do for families like mine. This has changed my family’s future. Now, my boys know they will go to college, and I’m their example. They’ve seen how hard work and education can make for a better life, and I am so grateful for that. On behalf of my family, thank you, and God bless you.

Just like Alicia, you can go from aspiring for a new career to accomplishing your goals. Sign up for a free, no-obligation info session to get started today. You can email our team at, or sign up for an information session: LEARN MORE »

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