AlumNow: Determination is the name of the game for School of Health Professions grad

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For Daniel Cruz, a 2001 graduate of the School of Health Professions at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, life has been about being determined to reach his goals. Today, Cruz works with high school students to instill that same drive in them and help prepare them for success in the higher education arena.

AlumNow, The Hub feature that checks in with district alumni for an update on what they’ve been doing, connected with Cruz to catch up with his latest endeavors.

What are you doing now?

I’m the Director of Partnerships and Technology at Education is Freedom where I identify and develop partnerships to assist students find their future.

Briefly list a few of your career and/or personal highlights.

Although I didn’t pursue a career in the health field, it is my pleasure to help hundreds of students find their future in my current position. I wish I had the guidance in high school that I now give to students and parents. I would have made wiser decisions. I’m also a proud father of a baby boy, married to my beautiful wife Jurisma, and a home owner. Without a degree, I would not be where I am today. Thanks to Dallas ISD, Baylor, and my parents.

What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school?

Science was my favorite subject. I always had the curiosity of knowing how things work. During my senior year in high school, I had the privilege of interning at Baylor Hospital where I got to hold patients’ hearts during their coronary heart bypass surgery. I have to say, it was very intense, but I enjoyed the experience! It opened my eyes to a multitude of careers I never knew existed.

Who was your favorite teacher?

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Thigpin, my sixth-grade teacher at Clinton P. Russel Elementary. She was like a second mom to me. Her discipline wasn’t that much different from what I received at home. She also taught us proper hygiene. She made us have a plastic bag with a towel, soap, and deodorant in the classroom. Thank you Mrs. Thigpin for not only teaching us academics, but how to behave in life and how to smell good (LOL).

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?

I learned that you have to be determined to achieve what you want. You may have all of the support at home and at school, but if you are not determined, none of that matters. There are so many distractions and reasons why students may not succeed. I was close to quitting school at Baylor; I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I buckled down and studied like I had never done before. The result? I graduated Baylor in four years being a first generation college student from a low socioeconomic background.

What advice, if any, would you offer to high school students today?

Map out your future and have options. To do that, you have to learn what your options are. Network. Intern. Volunteer. Work. Ask questions. Get involved. These are easy to do, and they open up the world that you live in. Knowledge is power. Go get it!

College/University and degree earned:

Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, 2005

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