MA Graduate Helps Students Build Strong Futures
As a Medical Assistant Fernando Cuadros has worked for a pain management clinic and also assisted professional boxers but his favorite employment opportunity he’s had has been right back at his alma matter, helping students find externships and careers they can love through UEI College.
“When you study something that you like and get to work doing it, in this case helping people, it’s amazing,” said Fernando. “I did it with pain management, I did it with the boxers and I’m doing it now with students. I’m still helping people and that makes me happy.”
At UEI’s Garden Grove campus Fernando is a Career Services Specialist, helping students in the Medical Assisting program find externships as well as employment opportunities. Since May he has taken over a large program and received praise from students and instructors.
“It was pretty impressive when he was able to handle the number of positions he was able to,” said Nicole Pinillos, Associate Director of Career Services. “They enjoy him because he’s relatable, having worked in the field. I am absolutely so proud of him. I know one of the instructors when he was going to school here is still here, so everyone sees the development. It’s really impressive and we’re just so proud of him.”
‘I WANTED TO DO IT’
Fernando came to the U.S. from Mexico with his dad and brother when he was in high school. He had always enjoyed sports and healthy living and was interested in a career in the medical field. Life in the U.S. promised more opportunities than where he came from. After high school, Fernando spent a year and a half at a junior college before the pandemic forced most schools to close temporarily. Fernando decided to enroll in the Medical Assisting program at UEI Garden Grove to keep moving his dreams forward.
“Going to UEI and going into the medical field was very challenging,” he said. “I didn’t speak a lot of English and going into the medical field without speaking a lot of English is really difficult. There was a lot of terminology, but I wanted to do it.”
Consistency and support from instructors kept him going.
“It’s very hard when you’re away from family,” he said. “I don’t have any family here, just my dad and my brother. Everyone else is in Mexico. When you’re far away, you try to make sure that all the sacrifices you’re doing are worth it. I was trying to prove to myself that I could do anything I wanted. It was difficult with all the language, culture, and medical terminology. I just wanted to prove to myself I could do anything I wanted in life.”
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‘WE ALL HAVE THE SAME GOAL’
After finishing his externship in the spring of 2021, Fernando was hired as a medical assistant at a pain management clinic, assisting patients with mostly sports-related injuries. Then, he had the opportunity to work behind the scenes at professional boxing matches. During this time, Fernando also became a stretch and nutrition coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, but when he saw the Career Services opportunity at UEI, he didn’t hesitate to apply.
“I wanted to be there,” he said. “I know the MA program. I know what people need and the motivation they need. They need someone to tell them they are going to be there for them. I wanted to give the students some examples of motivation and some examples that they can do it, they are not alone, they can graduate and finish and build a career and do something for their future. They should be proud of themselves.”
In just over a month Fernando has helped 33 students find employment in the field and is managing more than 60 students in their externships. His new position may not be healing people physically, but it is helping them become stronger and more successful.
“To see them building a career and being happy, that’s all I want and all I need. That’s what makes me proud too,” he said. “We’re all here for one purpose and that’s to help students. I think everyone does a great job of that. Every department, every staff member, the communication we have, everyone there is amazing and we all have the same goal.”