Two University of New Mexico Army ROTC cadets put it all out on the FRONT lines when COVID-19 ripped through some of the state's most vulnerable communities.

Nicialia Nunez, a senior nursing student, worked with Chinle Indian Health Services, where she trained as a certified contract tracer. Nunez handled daily health check-ins with COVID positive patients; she also relayed quarantine recommendations and offered guidance to help individuals find freshwater resources, groceries and medical supplies.

AROTC Cadets
Nicialia Nunez and Victoria Anderson

Nunez spent the last few months caring for patients within the intensive care unit at UNMH. Nunez said due to strict COVID safety precautions family members and friends weren’t allowed in the hospital, oftentimes this resulted in her serving as a conduit between patients and their loved ones. 

“One of the most rewarding parts of my work was being able to set up an iPad for family members to be able to video chat with their patient,” Nunez said. 

Victoria Anderson, a community health major, worked closely with her New Mexico Army National Guard unit to provide COVID relief to field hospitals on the Navajo Nation. Her work included COVID testing, patient care and transportation. 

“My COVID-19 relief work with the National Guard gave me the ability to help a diverse community that wouldn’t have been able to get help otherwise,” she said.