Nancy Gonzalez’s oldest daughter is in second grade, and she’s already taking after her mom when it comes to putting her all into personal achievements.
“After she’s taken a spelling test, she’ll come home and say, ‘Mommy, mommy … I got 100 percent!’” Nancy said. “She gets all excited because she wants to do so well, and I get that.”
Having such high standards for herself is part of why Nancy, 24, had recently been feeling unhappy in the workforce. A new mom at age 16, Nancy forged ahead with her education and graduated from high school before taking child development courses at a Sacramento-area community college.
Her plan was to eventually transfer into a nursing program at a four-year college, but that never materialized. When she became pregnant with her second daughter, her focus changed to raising and supporting a family.
It didn’t take her long to realize, however, that she was destined for better things. And to get there, she would have to go back to school.
“If I didn’t take that leap into getting back to school,” she added, “I couldn’t find myself being happy with my three girls.”
Rather than going back to community college, however, Nancy enrolled in the Medical Assistant Program at UEI College in Sacramento. Over the course of nine months, she completed the program with a 4.0 grade-point average and was recently placed in a full-time medical assistant career at a cardiology clinic.
“When I came and toured UEI, I just felt like it was the right school,” Nancy said. “Being able to have hands-on with the materials and with other students, support from instructors … I just felt this was the right fit.”
STRIVING TO BECOME HER KIDS’ SUPERHERO
Nancy said she didn’t have a strong adult presence around her through a good portion of her youth. Her dad was a truck driver who spent a lot of time away from home, and she wasn’t very close to her mom.
So, now that she’s a mother of three, being a positive role model – especially for her girls – is important to her. Going back to school at UEI College, she said, helped her achieve this.
“I feel like I have to be my kids’ own example and their superhero,” she said. “My biggest thing, I’d say, is being my daughters’ role model and saying to them that you can always achieve what you put your mind to.”
Nancy supported this in practice by earning perfect marks in all her Medical Assistant classes.
“I’m an overachiever,” she said. “I like to go above and beyond. I’m not going to be perfect every time, but if I can push for that, I’ll do whatever I have to do to get that. If I’m going to achieve what I want and get the grades I know I can have, it takes a lot of hard work.”
It’s also taken some great instructors, Nancy added, which she found at UEI College. Jessica Cook and Charlyn Abellana, she said, were always motivating and offered great advice throughout the program.
“I feel like I’m a little closer to Ms. Ebony because she understands where I came from,” Nancy said. “I’ve been able to open up to her. She’s a listening ear. That’s something I didn’t grow up with, so it means a lot.”
“It was such a pleasure to have Ms. Gonzalez in my classroom,” Charlyn said of Nancy. “Every day she came to the lab ready and happy to learn new skills. She had such an amazing attitude, and I loved seeing her enjoyment when she mastered new skills.”
Charlyn said that Nancy wasn’t just concerned about her own success. As a student ambassador, she also did what she could to help her cohorts thrive.
“Nancy always stepped in to help not only myself, but her fellow classmates when learning new skills or assignments,” Charlyn said. “I was very excited to see her grow as an ambassador for UEI, and I know she will do great things as a medical assistant in the medical world.”
CONTINUING THE JOURNEY TOWARD A NEW CAREER
It was important for Nancy to point out that her success at UEI College was also thanks to plenty of support from home, as well – especially from her husband.
“He had just got into a full-time position at the hospital he’s currently working at, and we had our doubts about having to financially support ourselves with one income,” Nancy said. “So, when he said, ‘No, don’t worry. I’ll do whatever I have to so you can finally go back to what you started,’ that’s when it all fell together. That’s when I quit my job and got back into it.”
The sacrifice has certainly paid off so far. After completing her externship at Folsom Cardiology, she accepted a full-time medical assistant position from the private practice clinic. Nancy hopes to quickly work her way up to become the clinic’s lead medical assistant.
“My job here has been a blessing,” she said. “I am currently surrounded by a group of people who are all down to earth and are very helpful. We all look out for each other and have a bond with each other.”
And, from working at the clinic thus far, Nancy said she believes she discovered a new passion with the medical field.
“Once I started working here, it has also been brought to my attention that I love learning about the heart,” she said. “I soon hope to return to school and study more about the heart and take my career off into the cardiology path.”
Such passions, and the work it takes to properly achieve one’s goals, are qualities Nancy looks forward to passing along to her children. She hopes to do this by showing good work ethic and providing them a better life.