Just like a movie or comic book superhero, senior Michael Urquidi proudly displays the ASU logo on his chest, whether it’s on his nursing scrubs or his Rams baseball uniform.
A native of El Paso, Urquidi could have stayed close to home and played junior college baseball, but he didn’t want to go the junior college route for academics. A visit to ASU showed him the best of both worlds.
“I knew I wanted to come to ASU because of the great nursing program,” Urquidi said. “But the only way I could leave home was if I had some sort of scholarship. My dad and I asked Coach (Kevin) Brooks if he was open to walk-ons or had any showcases I could come to. He told me about a Thanksgiving Showcase in November, so we came back for that. I had a good showcase and he offered me a scholarship right there.”
Wanting to play baseball is common for guys, but there are only a handful of guys in the ASU nursing program. Urquidi caught the nursing bug from a male family friend who is a nurse practitioner.
“I want to be a pediatric nurse,” he said. “I’m a big superhero fan, and I want to try to be a superhero in real life. I feel like the best way to do that is through helping people, and nursing gives me a great way to do that.”
And just as superheroes are role models, that same type of responsibility has been thrust upon Urquidi as a young male nurse. But he is okay with that because of his own real-life superhero, his dad, Carlos.
“My parents were divorced when I was little and my dad had custody, which is fairly uncommon,” Urquidi said. “So I’ve had a male role model my whole life and he has been my rock. I feel like that’s another way I can help, be a male role model to kids and people who want to get into nursing.”
“To continue playing baseball and join the great nursing program at ASU, I don’t regret it one bit…I definitely made the right choice.”
Urquidi also picked a great time to come to ASU. He got to move with the Nursing Department into the new Health and Human Services Building, and he got to move with the baseball team into the renovated Foster Field at 1st Community Credit Union Stadium.
“The new building is great, and nursing’s new Simulation Lab is really nice, there is so much room,” Urquidi said. “The Skills Lab is great, too. It’s huge, so we’re not all crammed in there trying to practice all at once. It’s really cool.”
“My freshman year, the baseball stadium was still grass and rocks,” he added. “We had to do almost daily field maintenance, so we had it a lot harder than the freshmen since then. The new stadium is really nice, and we have a bunch of great donors, especially Lloyd Norris, who have helped out a lot. It’s awesome.”
But it’s not all fun and games. Urquidi had to become an expert in time management to juggle the pressures and responsibilities of both nursing and baseball.
“There are nights when I have class and I’ll completely miss baseball practice,” he said. “I’ll be up at the stadium around 9 p.m. hitting with one of the coaches. Then there are days when I’ll go in early to hit about 8:30 in the morning, then I’ll have class and then regular baseball practice in the afternoon. I’m just trying to manage it all correctly.”
And because he has done a great job managing his time, Urquidi has had outstanding experiences in both fields - from witnessing a live birth during his pediatrics clinical rotation at Shannon Medical Center to advancing with his Rams teammates to the NCAA D-II College World Series.
“They are completely different feelings,” Urquidi said, “but they are both awesome!”
In his obviously limited spare time, Urquidi likes to play videogames and hang out with his two rescue dogs, Ollie and Boni. Scheduled to graduate with his nursing bachelor’s degree in May, he plans to finish out his final year of Rams baseball eligibility as he enters the M.S.N.-Nurse Educator program, with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.
“To continue playing baseball and join the great nursing program at ASU, I don’t regret it one bit,” Urquidi said. “ASU’s low tuition cost really gave me the chance to leave home and come experience college life. Between coming here and staying home, I definitely made the right choice.”