Unitek College Guest of Honor: Congressman Swalwell

August 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm
Congressman Swalwell speaks at Unitek College graduation.

Congressman Swalwell speaks at Unitek College.

Congressman Eric Swalwell left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance at Unitek College’s allied health and nursing graduation on Saturday July 27th. His speech was both enthralling and inspiring: it began with laughs from the audience, then brought some to tears, and ended with the entire room feeling motivated and confident in their ability to make a difference in the world. Staying true to his nickname, the “Technology Rep”, he whipped out his phone as soon as he stepped on stage, to take a quick Vine video of the grads. He posted it to his Twitter account (@RepSwalwell) before graduation was even over.

As the youngest member of Congress, you may think Swalwell led a privileged life, the child of well-connected parents. And this is simply not the case. Like many Unitek College graduates, he worked hard to get where he is today. When he lost his college scholarship as the result of a soccer injury, he took an unpaid internship in Washington DC. Just to get by, Swalwell maintained a standard intern schedule, but worked from 5AM to 8AM at a gym, and from 5PM to 10PM at a restaurant. He commended the many graduates in the audience who also overcame adversity before being able to walk across the stage that weekend. Swalwell noted one in particular: she came to the United States and learned English as a second language. She attended Unitek College while working a full time job and mothering to two young children. And now, her perseverance has paid off: she is a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Swalwell said, “You have to stubbornly pursue your dreams, even if others tell you that you cannot do it.”

Swalwell went on to talk about the bright futures of the graduates sitting in front of him. He noted that they are entering the medical field, a field that is constantly changing and improving and being revolutionized by technology. But technology will never replace the human touch of a nurse. He spoke to the graduates about the ever-present need for the human touch: “In our sickest times, in our lowest times, during the times we need help the most, there is no ‘app for that’. There is you.”

“Technology will replace a lot of things in our lives and in the medical field, but it will not replace the care, attentiveness, knowledge and skills needed to make our patients better. And that is why it’s so important we have qualified nurses entering the field today.” Unitek College is proud of this weekend’s graduates, as they have most definitely proven that they have the compassion, knowledge, and skills necessary to be effective allied health and nursing professionals.

Swalwell challenged the grads to remember how they got to where they are today: their own hard work and resilient spirit, and the support of others. “You did not make it here on your own,” he said, “Find someone you can help. Someone pulled you up. Now it is encumbered upon you, as you start your career, to reach down and pull somebody else up.” Speaking directly to the grads, he said, “There will be challenges. But never forget why you started, an unequivocal desire to help others.”