SNA Activities Director Yazmine Tovar Encourages Students to Achieve


Yazmine Tovar (third from the left) finds new opportunities for growth wherever she goes. Photo courtesy of Tovar.

BYU nursing students have big dreams, and fifth semester student Yazmine Tovar is no different. Since acceptance to the program, Tovar has looked for ways to get involved, including participating in BYU’s Student Nurses’ Association chapter. This year, Tovar was offered a position for a Summer III Nursing Externship at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

However, once the onset of COVID-19 happened, the externship was cancelled. Nevertheless, she still sees the positive side of things and encourages other students to achieve greatness, including applying for the Mayo Clinic in the future.

Here are her thoughts on why students should always reach for the stars:

In your words, what is the Mayo Clinic externship?

I’d say the Mayo Clinic externship is an extension of the infinite opportunities BYU and the Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) have given me. Through SNA, for example, I became a BLS/CPR instructor, helped Dr. Sheri Palmer with a research project in Paraguay last summer, and attended the National SNA conference (where I found out about this externship).  I’ve been blessed to be informed and involved thanks to SNA leaders and BYU CON faculty.


Tovar (second from the right) is a natural leader. She looks for ways to serve and help other students. Photo courtesy of Tovar.

 How did you apply?

The application requires nursing students to submit a transcript, BLS/CPR certification, a resume, and an essay corresponding with the year’s essay prompt.

After formulating my resume, I reached out to Candilyn Newell, a kind and caring mentor who empowers BYU students to shoot for the moon. She meticulously offered guidance on how I could modify my resume to showcase my experiences and accomplishments.

For the essay, my supportive brother, who’s also a linguistic erudite, peer-reviewed my essay about an experience at Primary Children’s Hospital.

How were you selected?

On January 30th, I received an email stating, “Your application has made it beyond the initial screening phase.” There were approximately 1200 applicants and 100 were selected to proceed beyond the initial screening. Reading the email, I couldn’t believe it. I quickly called my family to share the news.

 What would you say to students who are debating applying in the future?

Go for it! I’ve had fears and doubts, feeling like I’m underqualified, not good enough, etc.  Don’t let discouraging thoughts pull you down; rise above them! I’ve learned that I can cower into negative thoughts and start to believe them or move forward optimistically despite feeling scared. I love the Parking Space Theory of Life: How would you go about parking, if you weren’t afraid there was no parking space? You wouldn’t park 5 blocks away from your destination. You would go straight to where you want to be. Sometimes “What if I don’t make it,” seems just as scary as “What if I do make it?” You’ll never know if you don’t try. This applies to scholarships, applying to grad school, dating, jobs, cooking, trying anything for the first or even the 20th time —it applies to everything in life.

So, go for it!

Even though Tovar won’t get to participate this summer, she wants to motivate other students to apply in the future. Even if you think it is a small chance that you will be chosen, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Published by BYU Nursing

Guided by the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we exemplify the Healer’s art by: leading with faith and integrity; advancing the science of nursing and healthcare; promoting health and wellness; alleviating suffering; and serving individuals, families, and communities. The mission of the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University is to learn the Healer’s art and go forth to serve.

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