Mother, Son Inspire One Another to Become Medical Assistants

Lucinda graduated from the medical assistant program at UEI in Morrow

Lucinda Mayes says her 24-year-old son, Trayvon, has a big heart for people … just like his mom.

So, when he showed some hesitation in enrolling in the Medical Assistant program at United Education Institute (UEI) in Morrow, GA – this despite his interest in entering the medical field – Lucinda knew what she had to do.

“He was iffy, so I decided I would register for school, too,” she said.

The truth is, Lucinda had already been thinking of furthering her career, so this was a great opportunity to do so while offering support for Trayvon.

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) for two decades, during which time she also learned phlebotomy, Lucinda felt it was time to do more with her career.

“I wanted to go to the next level,” Lucinda said. “I always put it off, put it off, but this time I just made a decision that I wanted to better myself, better my goals and learn more. As I was working as a CNA, I remembered seeing a medical assistant, and watching how they worked, I thought, ‘I can do this.’”

The fact her son wanted a similar path for himself inspired her to make the move. And, in turn, Trayvon enrolled in the program a month later. While in separate classes, the two supported one another throughout the journey and are set to attend graduation together this summer.

In the meantime, Lucinda has already completed the program and currently works at the urgent care center at which she completed her externship. Despite her career advancement, however, Lucinda said her greatest sense of accomplishment will be seeing Trayvon walk across the graduation stage.

“I’m more excited for him than I am for me,” she said. “I’m so proud with what he’s doing for himself.”

Dreams of Becoming a Hero

When she was a little girl, Lucinda said she always envisioned herself helping people in some way. It was something to which she aspired.

“I always wanted to say I saved a person’s life … to say I made a different and changed a life,” she said. “As a kid, you always want to be a hero. I always had a heart to care for sick people.”

Lucinda stepped up to help ailing family members when needed, but as she became a teen, basketball emerged as another big focus in her life. She was even offered a college athletic scholarship. But, because she got pregnant with Trayvon during her senior year in high school, she had to turn it down.

She wanted to continue in her pursuit to help people, however, so she enrolled in some courses to become a CNA. She said she was especially drawn to blood and lab work.

“I wanted to say to myself that just because I had a baby, that’s not going to stop me from getting my education and helping people,” Lucinda said.

Accepting and Lending Support

With a background that includes nursing education and two decades of working in the medical field, Lucinda said the coursework at UEI felt natural to her. The technology used, however, was a different story.

“At first, it was a challenge,” she said. “I had no computer skills. I was used to working with paper and pen. It was frustrating, and at times I wanted to give up.”

But, her instructor, Tamika Latham, kept pushing and encouraging Lucinda. Tamika worked with her one-on-one and stayed after hours to make sure the lack of computer skills wouldn’t stand in the way of Lucinda’s success.

“I can work the EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system now,” she said triumphantly.

“Lucinda was a very strong student. When I met her, she was one tough cookie,” Tamika said. “I found out later on what her biggest fear was, and that was the computer. She wanted to give up, but because of support from me, staff and fellow classmates, she overcame her fear. She is now running the office where she did her externship and is the head medical assistant at a COVID site.”

“Lucinda was extremely eager and passionate about learning skill sets to become a medical assistant,” said Instructor Tolelia Starks. “She demonstrated this by being a leader and support to her classmates. I believe she will have a bright future as a medical assistant.”

Lucinda, in turn, helped and supported her son whenever he struggled with his homework. This was especially necessary when Trayvon contracted COVID-19, which delayed his coursework by a couple of months.

“I knew I had to finish because I was a role model to my son,” she said. “I was there to help him when he got stuck, and he motivated me to do well and finish.”

Lucinda said she also remains thankful to her instructors for lending support to her and Trayvon whenever they needed it.

“The instructors and the staff there, they don’t give up on you,” she said. “They understand your life’s going to change, and they try to help out as much as possible to make it easier and make you successful.”

“Lucinda came to the campus with the intentions of supporting and encouraging her son, Trayvon, to activate his career,” said Deborah Davis, Campus President at UEI Morrow. “And, although she had a career as a CNA, she was so inspired that she also enrolled into our MA program to pursue her long-term desire for growth and advancement in her career. Congrats to both!”

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