Oluwafemi Awomoyi, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
As an immigrant from Nigeria, Africa, seeing my people die from diseases that are preventable or even insignificant to the Western world was always a difficult pill for me to swallow. In one fateful weekend during my teenage years, I lost my three-year-old cousin. She died of pneumonia. I can still picture her twin brother crying inconsolably, witnessing his best friend weak and gasping for air before she died. She could have survived with just a simple shot of the pneumococcal vaccine. That day, as I was feeling angry at the world, I decided that I would go the distance to prevent other unnecessary losses of life. I would become a renowned physician.
“As an immigrant from Nigeria, Africa, seeing people of my kind die from diseases that are preventable or even insignificant to the Western world was always a difficult pill for me to swallow.”
Coming to the United States to pursue a better life and carry out my goal of becoming a healthcare professional has given me a fair share of challenges. Up against the peculiar hurdle many immigrants like myself often face in needing to start over in their career path once abroad, I have sometimes felt as though my dreams were fading away. However, if you are focused, it is not impossible to achieve one’s dreams in this land filled with dreams and opportunities. Having completed years of education in Africa that sometimes feels like a waste, I am left with the conclusion that I must start wherever I can.
First Steps Toward a Brighter Future
The first big step I took toward that end was becoming an NHA Certified Medical Assistant. Serving as a medical assistant has been the perfect opportunity to rekindle the passion that the challenges of being an immigrant had threatened to extinguish. Working in the medical field in this beautiful country has given me new life, allowing me to take a small part in that same dream borne of my young cousin’s tragedy. I believe I still have more to offer, however.
If I am able to pursue residency and further my medical education in the United States, I will be able to come into the fullness of my desire to save life whenever and wherever I can. The NHA Career Bridge Scholarship will aid me in paying for the USMLE board exam, which is the next step toward me becoming a medical doctor in this great nation. The prospect of being awarded such a scholarship excites me. It allows me to imagine a reality where the death of my young cousin and millions of others, which could have been prevented by the medical knowledge of persons like me, was not in vain.
Amy Kennalley, Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT)
My family runs a non-profit equine rescue, which keeps home life interesting, to say the least. I feed the horses twice a day and find impactful ways to help by organizing fundraisers and events. I also volunteered in the emergency department of my local hospital last year. However, the COVID-19 shutdowns paused the volunteer program. Knowing I needed to find ways to help the healthcare field during this unprecedented time, I completed a Phlebotomy Technician program.
I received my Phlebotomy Technician Certification concurrently with my master’s degree in the program at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. I also sit on the executive board of the Graduate Student Council as the Health, Wellness and Social Engagement Chair, all while working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Behavior Technician and fulfilling my duties at my family’s equine rescue.
"Knowing I needed to find ways to help the healthcare field during this unprecedented time, I completed a Phlebotomy Technician program."
My ongoing education at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, along with my emergency department volunteer experience, and becoming a phlebotomist, position me to considerably and efficiently assist the local COVID-19 efforts, so I applied to be a COVID-19 tester. With COVID-19 as an ongoing threat, I am eager to learn safe healthcare practices in a high-risk environment. I am excited to understand more of the inner workings of patient care in pursuit of my medical degree
Ever since I was a kid visiting the children’s hospital in Oakland California with my mom, a pediatric nurse practitioner, I knew I wanted to work in healthcare. Seeing my mother’s empathetic care of critically ill children inspired me to pursue medicine. I saw the difference she could make, not only in their health, but in their spirit.
The future of healthcare is changing each week, but I hope that, with my strong adaptability and resilience, I can make a difference.