Inez “Goody” Ruiz never really thought about attending college. “In high school, I passed classes just to play sports,” he said. “And then, in one day, my life changed forever when I was told I had heart disease.”
At 17, Inez was diagnosed with a rare heart arrhythmia, and two weeks after diagnosis, underwent surgery – with a 50/50 chance of survival. “I had to say my last goodbyes to my family, just in case my heart didn’t want to start again – I think it stopped twice during surgery,” Inez said. “But, thankfully, I’m still here. After I came out of surgery, it was a wake-up call. I became highly motivated to get into college and do great things.”
Inez, who deeply admires his older brother, followed in his footsteps and enrolled at NMSU. Both were the first in their family to go to college. Four years later – with the help of the Elizabeth Ann Shirk Memorial Scholarship and the support of his family, friends and faculty – Inez graduated with a degree in Counseling and Community Psychology. He is now pursuing his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
“NMSU faculty always pushed me to go to the next level,” he said. “Without everyone’s support, I would not be where I’m at today.”
Inez’s gratitude for the help and support he’s received – and for his second chance – is at the core of his desire to give back and be there for others. His hope is to become a high school guidance counselor so he can make a positive impact on young adults as “someone comfortable to go to” when they are in need of help. He says, “I feel like I can be that person and make a huge difference in their lives.”
Stories like Inez’s might be rare, but NMSU students who share his impactful spirit are not. Join us in our efforts to make a difference for future generations of inspiring Aggies. Your gift today will support scholarships that can help
compassionate students like Inez create a positive influence on the people and places around them.