2013 Graduate Daniela Jubis

(Dec. 2, 2013) Daniela Jubis always knew that she wanted to leave El Salvador and attend college in the United States, but when she visited Savannah in 2008, she discovered that the city and, in particular, Armstrong, would be a perfect fit for her.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Daniela will be the first person in her family to graduate from a university in the United States, and six of her family members will be making the nearly 3,000-mile trip to watch her receive her bachelor of science degree in rehabilitation science.

“They are very proud of me and are looking forward to my future,” said Daniela.

After graduation, Daniela plans to attend graduate school to obtain her doctorate. Her goal is to become a physical therapist so that she may one day return to El Salvador to work.

“There is a big need for physical therapists in El Salvador,” said Daniela.

While physical therapists in the United States are regarded as professionals on par with doctors and nurses, many countries consider the profession to be unessential and thus pay low wages. This has created a great need for physical therapists in countries such as El Salvador. There are very few clinics, and many patients do not receive the care they need because the lack of adequate resources are reserved for only the most serious cases.

Daniela's time at Armstrong has prepared her well for her future in physical therapy.

“I really like Armstrong and I feel that the experience I have had in the classroom has prepared me for what I want to do,” said Daniela. “The professors in my major are also professionals in the field, so that has been a great benefit.”

Had Daniela attended college in El Salvador, her story may have had a very different ending.

“In El Salvador, there is only one university that has my major, and it is not in a good area,” said Daniela.

Universidad del El Salvador, or the University of El Salvador, is located in El Salvador's capital San Salvador, and serves as a national university for the entire country. According to Daniela, the university provides a difficult and unpredictable academic environment as it is quite often shut down due to riots.

Daniela's ability to attend Armstrong has given her the opportunity to receive a quality education in stable surroundings that allow her to excel both in and out of the classroom. She has acted as a resident assistant in Armstrong's dorms for the past three years, served as the president of Rho Tau, the pre-physical therapy club, participated in Autism Speaks, took part in the International Student Organization, and even worked as a Spanish tutor in the language lab.

As Daniela goes on to graduate school, we know she will continue to have an extraordinary impact on the world. The same drive and passion that brought her to the United States and allowed her to succeed at Armstrong will continue to motivate her as she uses her life and education to help others.