On November 9, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2018 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize the unsung heroes in our community whose actions, thoughts and words have had a transformative impact in our region. We will highlight the nine honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.


LupeMirelez_smName: Lupe Mirelez

Occupation: NICU Nurse, Community Regional Medical Center

Nominated by: School of Nursing and the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing

Even with all the odds stacked against her, Lupe Mirelez never lost sight of her ability to dream far beyond what she thought possible. Born in a farm labor camp, against the backdrop of a poverty stricken Parlier, she would later learn to mirror the strong work ethic of her parents.

As the oldest of nine children, Mirelez took on many responsibilities. It was not by choice. Her home environment was unstable, and at many times, violent – causing her to drop out of high school at 16. She thought her dreams of becoming a nurse had diminished, but a chance encounter a few years later reinvigorated her spirit.

Through the Office of Economic Opportunity, Mirelez joined the Job Corps, where she studied to become a nurse’s aid and ultimately received her high school equivalency certificate. Five decades and countless experiences later Mirelez is still in the nursing field – this time working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Community Regional Medical Center. She became a licensed registered nurse in 1975, fulfilling a lifelong goal of hers.

In this role, she cares for the critically ill and embraces those most vulnerable, just as she had during her childhood. In her own words, she says,

“My reputation has, and always will be, as a patient advocate. Those who know me will attest to that. I guess it comes from being helpless as a child with no one to advocate for me.”

Mirelez took her childhood trauma and turned it into an empowering experience – one that would fuel her 50 years in the nursing field.


The 2018 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held on November 9, 2018 at Fresno State. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at 559.278.3603 or bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.