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Interpreter Pamela Vargas Ramat: Symbol of Strength, Determination

March 30, 2009

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University Police Department Interpreter Pamela Ramat

Pamela Ramat connects with UAlbany students on a cultural level, serving as the only Spanish-speaking interpreter in UPD. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

University Police Department (UPD) interpreter Pamela Vargas Ramat's road to becoming a police officer hasn't been easy. And it's not yet complete. But, despite suffering a brain aneurysm and enduring several surgeries for a broken hip, the 45-year old continues her pursuit, in the hopes of one day wearing the badge.

In May 2007, Ramat entered the Zone 5 Police Training Center in Schenectady. She had been a stay-at-home mom to three kids for the past 12 years and wanted to get back into a career in criminal justice. Previously, Ramat worked as an investigator in the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office.

Halfway through police academy training, Ramat suffered a broken hip while completing a running test. Despite the setback, Ramat forged ahead and, after the first of three surgeries, returned to the Academy to finish her training.

But that was not to be. Last September, after suffering from debilitating headaches, Ramat was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, requiring immediate surgery. Since then, Ramat has endured months of grueling speech and exercise therapies.

“Pamela is very talented and compassionate -- quite inspirational," said UPD Chief J. Frank Wiley.

Incredibly, Ramat recovered much more quickly than doctors expected. She's returned to UPD, working a few days a week in campus outreach. The position suits Ramat, who can easily connect with UAlbany students. She was once in their shoes, having pursued bachelor's and master's degrees at the University. She also connects with them on a cultural level, serving as the only Spanish-speaking interpreter in UPD.

"By reaching out to different groups on campus, in this case the Hispanic population, it allows them to feel represented, recognized and protected by us," said Ramat, who grew up spending summers with relatives in Colombia, her father's native country.

While Ramat has not yet resumed her police academy training, her dedication continues to inspire those around her.

"Pamela is the most courageous and resilient person I have ever met,” said Wiley.

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