Student Perspective: Finding Your Connection

student perspective graphic

By Jose Perez

Jose Perez (front row, second from left) with fellow students following a presentation
Jose Perez (front row, second from left) with fellow students following a presentation at school.

When I was in high school I was able to participate in Medical programs that Weber State University had to offer. We would be shown demonstrational skills used by EMT, nurses, radiologists, etc. I was always attracted to the dissections of the cow or pig lungs. I was amazed by the pulmonary system because I was suffering from asthma. I also had the hopes of creating an artificial lung with the help of David Alveno, a mechanical engineer, and Jimmy Phan, an electrical engineer and both longtime friends.

When I first became an active student in the AARC I was, at first, confused as to how to use the resources to my benefit. After a couple of demonstrational presentations, I was able to join two communities that really made an impact in my student career.

Jose Perez (center) at House of Delegates meeting
Lauren Chisholm, Janelle Gardiner, and Perez (center) showing the Utah Sign at the AARC House of Delegates meeting.
Jose Perez (center left) at the Board of The Directors meeting
Perez (second from left) at the Board of Directors meeting with Frank Salvatore MBA, RRT, FAARC (left), Lisa Trujillo, DHSc, RRT (second from right), and AARC President Brian Walsh, PhD, RRT, FAARC (far right).

The first is the International Medical Missions community in the AARConnect. I have wanted to start a study abroad trip to South America, but was unsure on how to do so. I recently had the chance to post some questions and seek guidance within AARConnect and received quick responses to my questions. The quality of the answers from the IMM community has been outstanding.

Another community that has done the same exact thing has been the Research community. I want to discuss and educate the community more about their rights and choices in the Advanced Care planning package. I was a bit lost in finding a way to get further information from my work and study peers. Fortunately, the research community guided me through the major parts of the research project and I am very grateful for their efforts.

This past summer, I had the chance to go to Tucson, AZ for the AARC Summer Forum. I was able to network with other AARC members and discuss different career path options for after graduation. I was amazed by the high value the AARC community shows to their students. I was very happy with the connections and mentoring opportunities the Summer Forum created.

I am also thrilled to see that the value in higher education in our profession is extremely necessary. I see that Weber State University in Ogden, UT is advanced in their educational program. The opportunity for growth is not available universally and that experience has motivated me to become a part of that change.

Jose Perez is a student at Weber State University in Utah, and keeps himself involved and busy. Perez is the College of Health Professions Senator for the Weber State University Student Association, a sitting founder for the newly formed Upward Bound Alumni, the student representative for the Weber State University Respiratory Therapy Department, to name a few of his activities. He is currently certified in ACLS, CPR/BLS, PALS, NRP, and is a Certified Smoking Cessation Instructor. And if that weren’t enough, he will soon be visiting Ghana with Dr. Lisa Trujillo from Weber to learn how to put together a study abroad program. Perez hopes to develop a similar program for South America. After graduation, Perez plans on pursuing a Master’s of Respiratory Therapy or Master’s Degree in Public Health.

Visit the AARC Student Page