It took Rafael Pineda-Perdomo, 27, awhile to convince himself of his passion for nursing. Trying to discern his vocation pragmatically, he made a list of three clear facts: he liked the physical sciences, he wanted to do something to help impact human life, and public education was his only option. Over time, he realized that nursing would enable him to “touch positively the life of persons in a hard moment through a human caring relation.” He applied to the best public university in his homeland, the National University of Colombia (NUC), and remembers fondly the day the national newspaper published the results. “The tears did not contain,” says Pineda-Perdomo. “I passed.”
Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, his family came from humble means; his mother finished high school, and his father studied through eighth grade. Pineda-Perdomo is the first in his family to attend university and obtain a professional title, and he intends to make the most of it.
His introduction to Sigma Theta Tau International was somewhat accidental. Through his nursing coursework, he discovered an “invisible mentor” in Nelly Garzón Alarcón, past president of the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Inspired by her love and passion for nursing, he made a point to be at every NUC campus event, conference, and lecture she participated in that did not have an entry fee. In 2008, Pineda-Perdomo attended “a talk presenting an international organization that seemed exotic for me … I did not know that this was the official opening ceremony of the [STTI] Upsilon Nu Chapter.”
While he began volunteering with STTI at the local level in 2008, financial setbacks took him away from school and prevented him from officially joining until May 2012. Since then, he has served the honor society in numerous ways, most recently at the local level as a board member for Upsilon Nu, where he spends considerable time coordinating the academic activities committee, editing the chapter newsletter, and managing the chapter’s social media presence. He also serves regionally and internationally on STTI’s Task Force for Next Generation Leaders (NGL), working with other nurses and STTI members from Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States. The NGL group helps develop strategies to establish networking opportunities and provides recommendations for program and event offerings relevant to the NGL community.
“I always say that I can’t imagine my career without all the resources, opportunities, educational events, and mentors that STTI has allowed me to experience,” says Pineda-Perdomo. “Joining STTI has inspired me to start my leadership journey, grow as a professional, and support the dream of other nurses … I just want to be part of the solution.”