On Monday, Frank Baez graduated with a degree in nursing from the same university where he once served as a janitor.

Baez began working at NYU’s Langone Tisch Hospital when he was 17 years old. He cleaned patient rooms, bathrooms, and hallways.“I could barely speak English at the time when I started working at NYU,” said Baez. He noted, “Now I reflect on it and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished.” Baez initially applied for a job in housekeeping because he wanted to provide for his family. He had moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic at the age of 15.

Eventually, he became a patient transporter, moving patients to tests and other procedures at the hospital. He enjoyed the fast-paced environment and working with people.  

Baez is the first in his family to graduate college. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature and Biological Sciences from Hunter’s College. “I was hoping that I would be able to care for patients in Spanish. I wanted to work with under served populations.” As an immigrant, Baez understood the importance of being able to care for people in their own language.

He knew he wanted to return to NYU where his career in care taking career began. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, Baez began work as a unit clerk at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital where he got the opportunity to work closely with nurses. He applied to the NYU Rory Meyer’s College of Nursing where he participated in an accelerated program that allowed for him to complete his nursing degree in 15 months.

Now that he has graduated, Baez is preparing for his licensing boards and aspires to get a job as a nurse at NYU. “If you work hard, you have discipline, and you want something you should always go for it. Never give up on your dreams.”