Empowered at Adtalem: AORN Scholarship Recipient Jairo Monjaraz

June 13, 2024
a nurse working on a patient

As an aspiring nurse, Jairo Monjaraz wants to provide equitable care for LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities he is part of. An Empower Scholarship is helping him stay on the path to his dreams. 

Texas has been home for Jairo Monjaraz his entire life. Born in Laredo and raised in Houston, he is earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Chamberlain University’s campus in his hometown.

As a nursing student, Monjaraz is the most recent recipient of the Empower Scholarship Fund’s Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Nursing Scholarship. In his essays that helped earn the scholarship, he reflected on his experiences growing up in a Latinx household as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and being raised under strict conservative and religious views.

“I struggled for years in elementary and middle school to find a way to accept myself,” he said. “A heavy weight remained for several years, affecting my performance in school and mental health. Until one day, my parents incidentally found out I was gay. There was an exchange of words that still affects me to this day. However, I was fortunate that my parents loved me enough to see past my sexuality, and with time, things started to go back to how they used to be.”

Through the challenges he faced, Monjaraz believes he can use his personal experiences as an aspiring nurse to provide individuals in similar situations with nonjudgmental, culturally sensitive care and resources. 

Jairo Monjaraz, Chamberlain student, wearing nursing scrubs
I will advocate for others like me and speak up against any mistreatment or discrimination that I see. As a vulnerable group, we must depend on each other to push for what is right and be there for one another.

Empowered to Advocate for Equitable Care

Texas, according to 2021 data, has the second largest population of cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmitted by male-to-male sexual contact and is one of four states with more than 100,000 persons living with HIV. The Houston metropolitan area, where Monjaraz lives and attends Chamberlain, has the largest population of people with HIV in Texas.

The convergence of LGBTQ+ and Hispanic populations being disproportionately impacted by HIV in his home state are the biggest inspirations Monjaraz carries throughout his pursuit of a nursing career. For him, though, providing quality care for patients extends beyond people who are from similar demographics.

“I am Mexican and part of the LGBTQ+ community, but I also want to be part of a community of care providers where I can help everyone,” he says. “Other marginalized groups, other nationalities, we all deserve to be equal and that includes ensuring we receive the same type of care and medical treatment. I’m grateful to be chosen for a scholarship and have it recognized that I am trying my best to live up to helping the world and healthcare.”

About the Empower Scholarship Fund

The Empower Scholarship Fund has been a beacon of opportunity for students striving for academic excellence and personal growth. Since 2016, the Empower Scholarship Fund has offered 2,387 scholarships totaling $5.34 million.

"I am so grateful to the Empower Scholarship Fund and everyone who has supported me throughout the program at Chamberlain," said Monjaraz. "My partner, Jason, my family, my coworkers who have encouraged me, and those who helped me apply for this wonderful scholarship. Thank you all so much!"

Meet 2023 AORN Nursing Scholarship recipient Da’Quan Findlay.

For more information, email the Adtalem Global Communications Team: adtalemmedia@adtalem.com.