By Frank Garza and Alyssa Turrieta
In 2016, Becky Keller’s (M.Jur. ’19) husband was diagnosed with cancer.
A mother of two, Keller was about to begin her graduate studies when this news hit. Though she was unsure how to balance everything occurring in her personal life, she knew what she needed to do next.
To ensure that her family would be financially protected if the worst were to happen, she decided to pursue a Master of Jurisprudence with a Concentration in Health Care Compliance at the St. Mary’s University School of Law.
“Between the support from the deans, professors and staff, I truly felt that people were cheering for me to achieve my goal,” Keller said of the experience.
Keller, a clinical quality specialist at UC Health, has worked in the health care field for more than 20 years. In her role, she regularly analyzes data and reviews quality measures, tools that help measure or quantify health care processes and outcomes. Her M.Jur. degree helped her transition to her current job, she said.
“I wouldn’t have the confidence I have now in my industry or to apply to other jobs if it weren’t for this program and the staff who offer these opportunities,” Keller said.
Keller was inspired to get into the health care field after several months of missionary work in a Kenyan village called Shimba Hills. She had just graduated high school and wasn’t ready for college. While on this missionary trip, she contracted malaria. She would spend nights sleeping in a mud hut, hallucinating of home when the fever spiked.
“I wouldn’t have the confidence I have now in my industry or to apply to other jobs if it weren’t for this program and the staff who offer these opportunities.”Becky Keller
“I realized how much I had and how many opportunities I had and I didn’t want to squander that, so I knew I wanted to go back home. Nursing really appealed to me simply because being so sick in a third world nation, I understood how frightening that was,” Keller said. “Everywhere you go, people need health care.”
Keller eventually completed her M.Jur. degree from her home in Colorado, while traveling back and forth from hospitals around the country for clinical trials for her now cancer-free husband.
“I never regret my education, nor do I regret that first semester of balancing life, work and school,” Keller said. “The first semester was one of the toughest semesters, but I was able to do my homework at home and in the hospital at my husband’s bedside. The program was flexible for me to complete almost anywhere.”