UCLA Nursing DNP student Stephanie Betancourt with her family at Royce Hall

This article was written by Stephanie Buelna-Betancourt, daughter of UCLA Nursing DNP graduate Sonia Betancourt. 

When we see a Bruin graduating with their Doctorate – we often see the professional accomplishments that led each student to success. We don’t always see the personal sacrifice it takes outside of the classroom, the hospital, and the office. 

Sonia Betancourt, DNP, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, is a daughter, a wife, and my mother. It started with my grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. with her children in search of better opportunities. As we know, life can throw us a curve ball or two, and despite the straight A’s, my mom was pregnant at fifteen -- putting her dreams to attend UCLA on hold. Nonetheless, she installed the same work ethic and drive into her children. She supported us in everything we did, nurturing us to become our best version.

I was lucky enough to attend UCLA as an undergraduate, and my brother followed just four years after. We got to experience it all -- from bonding in the dorms to football games, campus concerts, and friendships that have held true for over ten years. 

Meanwhile, my mother sacrificed those years of college apartments and young adolescence to raise her children and support her husband in building his business. 

For decades, everyone else came first.

Today, we honor a woman who reminds us that we can be selfless yet pursue our dreams too. It’s never too late to go after what you want -- what you deserve.

Congratulations, Sonia Betancourt. We are SO proud of you. Even more -- we are SO grateful for you. Go Bruins!