The week Treasure White first applied to UEI College in West Covina was a memorable one, but for mostly all the wrong reasons.
Having recently moved to Azusa from L.A. following the theft of her car, Treasure was able to secure the lease on a new apartment. Just five days later, she was fired from her job as a security guard. The day after that was her birthday.
“It was really bad. I was on my own,” Treasure said. “I only have me to rely on to get back on track, so I basically just had to pick myself up. The plan was to come here and go to school anyways, and so I used that as motivation to turn things around.”
UEI College’s West Covina campus was just down the street from her new apartment, so she called and met with the campus director of admissions, Diane Villa. It was just what she needed to refocus her life toward a new goal.
“Diane saw a lot of emotions from me that day,” Treasure said.
“From the first moment I met Treasure, I knew she would be a top student,” Diane said. ”She was going through a rough patch but kept a positive attitude and her head held high. She is a true inspiration, and I feel very fortunate getting to know an individual like her.”
Treasure registered for the Medical Billing and Coding Program at UEI. The result: she became a straight-A student, graduated, and quickly found a full-time position within her career of choice.
“Literally, I turned 25, and I was already a billing specialist,” she said. “My goal already became my truth.”
Mission to ‘Be the Best Me’
Treasure has always been the type of person who goes into everything full-tilt. So, soon after high school when she was unable to complete her degree at a school in Los Angeles, it was a personal wake-up call.
“I was going to that school, maintaining a 3.0, but I messed up,” she said. “I took a turn at not being the best me, and I kind of took the idiotic route.”
What she really wanted was to have a stable, long-term career. And, she knew she’d find that in the medical billing field.
“I felt like I was getting to a point where I had to choose something or I won’t have anything,” Treasure said. “I have an aunt who does medical billing, and my dad’s wife also does medical billing. I grew up knowing women who did it, so I was familiar with it being a stable career choice.”
When she signed up for medical billing and insurance coding classes at UEI, she was determined to not make the same mistakes. Treasure said she recommitted to her previous philosophy — that if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
“Even if you go off and work at McDonalds, you have to put your best out there,” she said. “If you put out mediocrity, that becomes you. So, I made it a mission to be the best me — to get through school at the top of my class.”
A New Career in Medical Billing & Insurance Coding
While going to UEI, Treasure found a job so she could support herself through graduation. She often worked graveyard shifts, so doing homework and sleeping in her car became normal occurrences.
But, she found she really enjoyed the challenge of medical billing and insurance coding.
“I like that it challenges you and it keeps you learning,” she said. “It’s always something new, and yet it’s repetitive in a way you become familiar with.”
Treasure also appreciated that her instructor, Ninive Martin Del Campo, provided just the right amount of guidance and structure in her classes.
“She was really great because she was really involved,” Treasure said. “She actually cared. If she sees you struggling somewhere, she would pull you aside and try to help. Since we’re adults, she wouldn’t hold your hand too much, but I kinda liked that.”
After successfully completing her classes and externship, Treasure quickly found a full-time position in the medical billing field. And, so far she loves the career path she chose.
Becoming a billing specialist has provided the stability she needed to buy a new car and look for a nicer place to live, and it continually offers opportunities to advance both educationally and professionally. Currently, Treasure is studying to earn the designation of Certified Coding Associate (CCA).
All throughout this journey, Treasure says the UEI College team has been there to offer support and encouragement, and to celebrate achievements.
“As of right now, I can say everything’s great,” she said. “Diane made it a point to call me to say congratulations on the job, and I still keep in touch with Ms. Nini, who reached out to me around Christmas … and again around the New Year. They’ve been supportive, and I can honestly say I think I’m a better person.”
“At UEI College, we try to provide a smooth transition for all our new students, but I’ll never forget the day Ms. White started with us,” said J.C. Rivas, Campus President at UEI College West Covina. “It was her birthday. What a great way to start a new chapter in life! It seems like yesterday that we sang Happy Birthday to her in class. I could not be more proud of how much she has grown since then.”