A CYD Career Academy Graduate Returns in a New Role

Michelle smiling, wearing scrubs and stethoscope

The CYD Career Academy’s newest part-time tutor is familiar not just with the course material, but the Academy itself, since she is an alumna. Michelle Maldonado has come home, after working for the past four years as a Certified Medical Assistant.

Her journey has been a challenging one, but her interest in healthcare has been a constant in her life. As a teen mom, she was living in a foster care facility but was determined to improve her future and that of her daughter. Michelle became the first member of her family to graduate from high school.

“I’ve always been obsessed with science,” Michelle says. As a student at the CYD Career Academy, “I always looked forward to my classes, and I loved the clinicals as well, because I was applying what I learned.” Her favorite course was Anatomy & Physiology, the course she now tutors students in, and she is delighted to share her enthusiasm with them.

“It’s like déjà vu working with my students. They sound just like me when I was a student! When they get discouraged, I can relate.”

She also found great value in the workplace preparation classes: “They helped us with communications and gave us practice in how to write professional emails, follow telephone etiquette, dress professionally, prepare for interviews, present yourself. You have to know how to talk to patients before you touch them.”

Michelle is continuing to work for the cardiology practice that hired her right out of her clinical internship at the Career Academy, and at the same time is studying to become a nurse, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner or even a cardiac surgeon.

Sandra Morales, Director of the CYD Career Academy, says, “We are so incredibly lucky to have Michelle. She was an outstanding student and always stepped up to provide support to her classmates. As a tutor, she is not only an academic leader but also a wonderful role model for our students.”

Speaking with her students, Michelle says, is “like déjà vu. They sound just like me! When they get discouraged, I can relate. It can happen. What matters is how can we get past it and keep our eyes on the prize?” And her students appreciate how much extra work she puts into helping them, including creating weekly study guides and quizzes, knowing that she has her own nursing school coursework to manage.

Michelle attends the Trinitas School of Nursing near her New Jersey home, where she lives with her family, and will graduate with an RN degree next year. If there is one lesson she tries to impart to her Career Academy students and her own children, it’s “you get out what you put in.” And Michelle packs an astonishing amount into every day: RN classes, sessions with students, remote administrative work for the medical practice, and raising her daughters. Michelle says, “I’ve always been a heart girl.” She is referring to her affinity for cardiology – but for anyone who knows her, the metaphor is equally apt.

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