September 26, 2022
Liezl de la Cruz, Columbia College Class of 1992, is a successful Licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. As such, she works with infants involved in incidences like traumatic birth, premature birth, brain bleeds, or neonatal seizures. She is involved in the early intervention process, which often includes physical and occupational therapies.
Liezl has always had an interest in science. As a child, she dreamed of being a chemist or a veterinarian, and her time at Columbia College helped her refine those dreams into her career, but not immediately. When asked what her favorite memory at Columbia College is, Liezl de la Cruz’s answer is similar to other alumni responses: Ludy Bowl and Follies. These cherished traditions reside in the hearts and minds of generations of alumni, and Liezl loves them all the same. She shared vivid memories of grouping together with her Scientific Honor Society to dominate the two beloved school traditions during her Junior and Senior years. She recalls co-writing a “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”-inspired folly performance, complete with a time machine, an original song, and celebrity performances by her professors.
More than the nostalgia provided by these fun and silly memories, she shared her pride to be a Columbia College graduate. The liberal arts focus and unique experiences she had there provided her with well-rounded knowledge of the world, which has served her well within and without her career. This dynamic educational foundation allowed her the freedom and confidence to enter the workforce immediately following graduation and discover her dream along the way.
Liezl was a Biology major, and she shared that she was incredibly lucky to have professors that were willing to work with her if she needed additional support outside of class. However, following graduation, Liezl was not sure of her next steps, so she started her career in San Francisco doing pharmaceutical research. She enjoyed this job, but she always had the feeling that she would like to have more patient interaction. Eventually, she moved to Charleston, SC, and started a position at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she worked on clinical trials. This new position provided the one-on-one interaction with patients that she had been looking for, and she soon landed in hepatology, working specifically with pediatric liver transplant patients. She soon fell in love with pediatrics and decided to go back to school to pursue this new path. She graduated from Emory’s Nell Hodgson School of Nursing with a BSN in 2019 and an MSN in Pediatric Primary Care in 2022.
Through her work, she has the opportunity to see her patients grow and progress to the point of no longer needing her care. Liezl has the distinct honor of helping her patients face the challenges of recovery then watching their success as they go out into the world. In Liezl’s experience, Columbia College helped her in a similar way, giving her the confidence and tools to make her own way in the world. In turn, it is indeed the College’s great joy to watch her go into the world, equipped with her Columbia College experiences, and make an impact.