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4927 Southfork Drive Lakeland FL 33813

From the university field

Maricela Morales

It is a true example that whoever wants can. Proud of her Mexican roots and with that constant desire to improve herself in life, she makes it clear to us that it is never too late to learn something new.

Coming from a very hard-working family, Maricela and her siblings worked as a child harvesting fruit. Because his parents did not have the opportunity to finish school, the word "college" was never a topic in family conversations. In the ninth grade, Maricela was forced to drop out of school; At the age of 16 she had her first child and at 19 the second.

A few years later, her mother encouraged her to take a GED course with her since they both dreamed of becoming nurses. When Morales was 26 years old and thanks to the advice of a colleague

job at Walmart, he decided to start his higher education. Thus, in 2008 he enrolled at Polk State College where he knew he would receive a quality education that would allow him to change his life.

However, Maricela had the challenge of continuing to work, raising her two young children, in addition to all the household chores. Faced with this situation, many people around her told her that she would not achieve her goal, but these comments instead of discouraging her, only managed to encourage her even more.

While completing her diploma requirements, she also decided to enroll in a Patient Care Technician (PCT) program at Ridge Career Center and began working in the field, this time in the health field.

For 10 years, Maricela worked full time in the Endoscopy Department at Winter Haven Hospital while attending night nursing school, taking one or two classes at a time.

Upon graduating as a registered nurse in 2018, she went on to work in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit and serve at Winter Haven City Hospital Bostick Heart Center in the area of ​​Cardiovascular Surgery.

But Maricela's preparation did not end here, her desire to improve herself continued and the time came to start her degree and return to Polk State College where they offered her the best conditions to achieve her dreams.

Maricela graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with honors on December 9, 2021.

“I know my parents are proud and now, thanks to what I have done to break the cycle in my family, my children are on their way to college degrees. Whoever wants can, the important thing is to take the first step,” said Morales, whose next goal is master's degree.

Two of her children are attending Polk State College, Jaquelin Torres (on her right on the cover) in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program and Fernando Torres in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program. His stepdaughter, Myleen Gamez is studying law at Texas State University to be a lawyer.

Health Sciences

Health sciences, also known as medical sciences, are all the scientific disciplines that are related to the area of ​​health, either for the prevention of diseases or for their recovery.

If you are one of those people who want to make a real difference in the lives of others, you may find your calling in this broad field. Here are some of the programs that can be studied at Polk State College:

Cardiovascular Technology:

Medical Sonography

Emergency services

Medical Coding Specialist

Medical Transcriptionist


Occupational Therapy Assistant

Physical Therapy Assistant

Radiography Technician

Respiratory Care

In addition, Polk State College offers:

Diploma in Hospital Administration

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Bachelor of Applied Science

For more information visit:

Viva Polk appreciates the participation of all the students who participated in the photo shoot for this article.

Our sincere thanks to the students who voluntarily participated in this article.

Maria Isabel Deloera, Moraima Alicea, Dania Solis, Jacquelin Torres, Vanessa Fernandez, Juan Cesar Carvajal-Cervantes, Tatiyana Perry, Victoria Ramjit, J Ramon Vera.

We especially acknowledge the participation of Joel Rivera-Rosado, a nurse at Lakeland Regional Health. Thank you all.

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