Kristina overcame a lot of personal challenges while pursuing a Medical Billing and Insurance Coding diploma at UEI Las Vegas

Through Heartache and Loss, Las Vegas Graduate Finds New Path

In the past two years Kristina Marage lost her brother, her friend, her father-in-law and even her condo to a fire but to distract herself from all those troubles she decided to throw herself into getting a college diploma through United Education Institute (UEI) in Las Vegas.

“Everything went haywire,” she said. “I didn’t have a whole lot of time on my hands because I was working two jobs, but I didn’t feel like I had enough to do to keep myself preoccupied so that’s why I decided to do school.”

Kristina had already been working in the medical field. She had worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and had also done some scheduling, referrals, and a little bit of billing. Though she had some experience, she didn’t have any official medical billing and insurance coding training which made it hard to find jobs or move up in that field. She decided to enroll in the Medical Billing and Insurance Coding Program at UEI Las Vegas.

“It was kind of crazy,” she said. “I was nervous, I was excited, but at the same time, I was like ‘What am I doing?’ almost 35, going back to school. I hadn’t been in school for years. Am I really going to do this? With everything it was a whole bunch of mixed emotions but once I started it was nice. It kept me preoccupied and it was something I wanted to do so it was really good.”

Shortly after beginning the program, Kristina hit another roadblock. She tested positive for COVID-19, which aggravated other health problems, and she ended up in the hospital.

“My intestines had ruptured,” she said. “At that point I didn’t know what was going to happen. In my last surgery in 2018, I died. I didn’t know what would happen in there. Trying to deal with all of that and get my schoolwork done was nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what would happen if I had to go in for surgery.”

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Kristina was able to recover, but she missed several weeks of school and fell behind. She thought she would have to drop the program, but her instructor encouraged her to keep going.

“There is so much that I can say about Ms. Marage. She was an amazing student she always walked around with a smile on her face and was willing to help others,” said Karla Lara, Kristina’s instructor. “She maintained a 4.0 GPA for most of her time here at UEI she only lost it due to her ending up in the hospital, but she went on to retake the course and pass with a 98 and then pass her externship with flying colors. I am glad to have met Ms. Marage and I know she will achieve much success in her new career.”

Kristina was able to graduate in less than a year and was hired by her externship site.

“I got my diploma in Medical Billing and Insurance Coding,” she said. “It was a lot of work, but I managed to do it.”

“Don’t give up. Even when it seems like everything is against you, and it feels like you’re never going to make it, keep going. You never know what’s going to be on the other side. Don’t let everything negative hold you back. If it’s something you really want and have your heart and mind set on it, keep going.”

Kristina gives all the credit of her success to her faith.

“This was all possible by the grace and glory of God almighty himself, without his love and faithfulness I would not have been able to make it through the storm alone,” she said. “He carried me to the finish line and now he is walking with me as I continue on to my next chapter.”

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