Cecilia Mendoza, B.S. ’03, M.S.N. ’05

In September 2008, Mendoza, a family nurse practitioner who had graduated with her master’s degree from the UCLA School of Nursing’s Bridge Program three years earlier, was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to provide medical support to the wounded sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen who were injured or became ill in Afghanistan or Iraq. It was a dramatic experience that taught Mendoza much about evidence-based care of patients with multiple trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Previously, Mendoza had worked three years for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as a family nurse practitioner providing care for the male and female inmates. After starting her career as a medical assistant before becoming first an L.V.N. and then an R.N., she worked as an emergency room nurse until applying to the UCLA School of Nursing for her advanced education and training.