Miranda Jeff has never had an easy life, but somehow her goal has always been to bring a smile to others.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field,” Miranda said. “I’ve always loved being able to put smiles on people’s faces and knowing that I have helped them in some way. I’ve always had a big heart for helping others when they are sick or down.”
Though Miranda always knew her goal was to work in the medical field, her unstable home life made getting there difficult. She grew up without parents, and after high school when she tried to attend college to work toward a nursing degree, she experienced abuse from her family members and ended up homeless.
“For a long time, I didn’t know what kept me going,” she said. “I was really depressed. There were multiple times I hoped I would not wake up in the morning because I didn’t want to continue to live this life. I’m not a big religious person but there was a time when I started praying and things got progressively better. I decided to keep pushing.”
Eventually, Miranda met her husband and moved in with him. They moved several times for his military career and had two children. With each new step forward, Miranda kept thinking about her dream job and providing a better life for her kids than she had received growing up.
Over the years, Miranda had managed to complete a medical assistant training program, but it was online and left her feeling very unprepared for the real world. In June of 2022, Miranda discovered UEI College in Tacoma. She decided to enroll in the Medical Assistant program there.
“It was really nice on campus,” Miranda said. “Everyone was really helpful. My admissions specialist was really helpful and really resourceful. Even when I met an instructor during the tour, he was really nice, and very friendly. I felt like I was in the right place to be in school. I felt like being there for the first time I already had so much support.”
Right away, she grew a deep love for the hands-on opportunities that UEI provided, and she consistently ended up making the honor roll.
“My biggest motivation to keep going was my kids,” she said. “I didn’t have a good life growing up. I didn’t have support growing up. For my kids, I want better. I don’t want them to see their parents struggle. I don’t want them to see me just working in a fast-food restaurant. I want them to be proud of me. Another big motivation was I wanted this. I wanted it so bad, I was so determined to start strong and finish strong.”
Miranda did finish strong. She had nearly perfect attendance and graduated from the program with a 3.9 GPA.
“She is a go-getter,” said Camerin Queenan, Miranda’s instructor and career services specialist. “She strives for excellence. She was even offered a job at her extern site on her third day. Getting to know her on that professional level, I can’t say anything except exceptional. She is so kind and willing to help anybody. I know she is going to exceed and not have any issues in her career as a medical assistant.”
“It feels absolutely amazing,” Miranda said. “I am so blessed that I actually did it. Right now, I work at an urgent care, and I feel completely at home. I feel like this is exactly where I need to be … Just keep going. It will get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even when you don’t think there is. Don’t give up. Keep going.”