Lucita Villamiel oral history interview and transcript
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This recording and transcript form part of a collection of oral history interviews conducted by the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University. This collection includes audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with Asian Americans native to or living in Houston.
Lucita Villamiel was born in Janiuay, Iloilo, Philippines in 1941. She was one of seven children born to two teachers out in the poor countryside. After earning her nursing diploma in 1962, she moved to Nashville, TN in 1963 as part of the Exchange Visitors Program. When she arrived, she worked for three years as a nurse in a residency program at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. From there, she moved in 1966 to New York City, where she lived for ten years at a Catholic hospital run by the Archdiocese of New York. During that time, she tested for and received her nursing license, and she was also granted permanent residency. She also earned her BA in psychology from Manhattan Marymount College. After she had been in New York for ten years, she decided to move to Houston since her sister lived there. She arrived in Houston and applied to 7 different hospitals in the Medical Center and was accepted at all seven. She went back to bedside nursing after having spent a lot of time in administrative duti. In the subsequent years, she got married, had a daughter, earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Prairie View A&M, and earned her master’s degree in nursing from Texas Woman’s University. Towards the end of her career, she became involved with the Philippines Nurses Association of Metropolitan Houston, as well as the Filipino ministry at her church, St. Helen’s Catholic Church. She continues to fundraise for these organizations, especially for Filipino specific issues. She lives in Pearland with her husband, where she stays active by working in her garden, playing Scrabble weekly with her friends, and babysitting her grandson.