Alumni Success Stories
Unitek College alumni are doing interesting and amazing things all over the Bay Area. Here's a small sample of Unitek College graduates who are making significant strides in their professional field and/or community.
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Julie BroyerMedical Assisting
Julie Broyer is one of Palo Alto Medical Foundation's newest Medical Assistant. She started her new role on December 16th, just two days after speaking as the Valedictorian at Unitek College's Medical Assisting Class Graduation. During her speech, Julie thanked "the Unitek College staff, Career Services, and Dr. Ghizali, for their hard work in helping her achieve success." She says, "their helping guidance has prepared me for the real world, as I start my first day of work on Monday as a Medical Assistant for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation."
Julie's road to graduation was not an easy one. She commuted from her home in Hollister, to the Unitek College Main Campus in Fremont, five days a week. By the time she finally entered the classroom, she would do a little dance "to start the day off right" with all her pent-up energy. The rest of her energy, however, was focused on one thing: Medical Assisting training. Julie studied hard during her time at Unitek College. "You have to be on top of it 24/7 to be successful," she says, "to get into this field, you need to be committed."
And Julie was committed. She would do her homework the day it was assigned, she had a group of friends in class who would quiz each other before tests, and she spoke up in class whenever she needed clarification. All this dedication paid off, as she was named class Valedictorian for her high grades. Julie drew inspiration from one of her heroes, Helen Keller, who once said "character cannot be developed in peace and quiet. Only in experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened and success achieved."
Julie is done with her education for now, but not for good. She plans to come back to Unitek College for the Vocational Nursing Program, and then the Registered Nurse Bridge, as becoming a nurse is Julie's ultimate goal. But for now, she will learn and grow in her new role as a Medical Assistant. She is a member of the Float Team at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, travelling to medical facilities between Mountain View and San Jose, filling in for other members on leaves of absence. Her role will be dynamic and constantly changing, but one thing is certain: it will involve lots of patient interaction, which is one of Julie's favorite aspects of Medical Assisting. "I will be doing a lot of what we did in class, and I will be working within different departments: pediatrics, family practice, and more," she says.
"I wasn't sure what to expect when I started at Unitek College," says Julie, "Not only am I leaving with a great education, but I am leaving with lifelong friends, and it really doesn't get much better than that."
Margaret HsuVocational Nursing
Margaret Hsu is a proud 2013 graduate of Unitek College's Vocational Nursing program. She is proud because she had a wonderful experience at Unitek College. Between the faculty, the learning environment, and the staff, she knew she made the right decision in attending. The feeling is mutual, as Margaret's instructors, peers and admissions staff are all very delighted to be part of her success.
Margaret never planned on becoming a nurse, or working in the healthcare field. She got her MBA from USC 25 years ago, and worked in the business world ever since. Ten years ago, Margaret began working at the Tzu Chi Foundation. It was while working in business operations for this Buddhist Relief Foundation, when Margaret found her true calling in nursing. The Tzu Chi Foundation's mission is to relieve the suffering of the global poor. The department Margaret worked in was the "Mission of Medicine", whose mission was to provide medicine, healthcare, and holistic treatment to people suffering from conditions they could not afford to treat. Margaret was responsible for coordinating everything for Tzu Chi's medical teams: from finding volunteer doctors and nurses, to scheduling their travel, to coordinating plans with the local hospitals in the areas in which they would be volunteering. It was during this time that Margaret realized she wanted to directly help the people for which she was organizing care for. She wanted to be a nurse. "I saw how the medical team changed the lives of low income people. I saw how badly these people need their service," she says. So she decided to dedicate her life in their service. "Life is short," Margaret says, "helping others makes my life so much more meaningful and profound."
Margaret will be continuing her healthcare education as well. She plans on working for a year as an LVN to gain hands-on experience, and then coming back to Unitek College for nursing school. She wants to return to Unitek College, she says, as she has found no other nursing schools that compare. "I worked in the business world for 25 years, so when I walk into an organization, I can tell how they operate management-wise. And Unitek College is heading in the right direction, for a number of reasons," says Margaret. Among those reasons are the management team, the instructors and their accreditation status. "Accreditation is really important," says Margaret, who first started her nursing education at an unaccredited institution which ended up cancelling her classes and forcing her to start all over again without any transferable credits. "The fact that Unitek College is accredited is huge. It confirms the school as a legitimate educational institution."
For Margaret, instructors are the most important part of an educational experience. "You can have the most advanced lab in the world, but if you aren't being taught well, it's worthless." Margaret is beyond happy with the quality of both Unitek College's SIMS labs and instructors: from their academic achievements, to their personal work experience, to their skill and passion for teaching, she appreciates the excellent faculty at Unitek College. "I have been to nationally-ranked universities and had average professors, but here at Unitek College, a vocational school, I have top-notch instructors," beams Margaret. By "investing in excellent instructors," Margaret says, "they are investing in the future of the school."
Not only was Margaret impressed by the instructors, the rest of the faculty was supportive too. "Unitek College doesn't have to hire the best, but they do. They don't have to address every student issue, but they do. The school really bends over backwards for students." Every time Margaret had a question or concern, she knew it would be resolved, be it from the Admissions Department, the Career Services team, and the Financial Aid office. "They listen to you, they try to solve your problem, you know that they care, and they want to help you succeed."
Margaret highly encourages others interested in the allied health and nursing fields to take a tour of Unitek College and meet with an Admissions Representative. "I recommend Unitek College to anyone willing to put in the effort, and anyone who wants to change the lives of others through a career in healthcare."
Philip SuchikulMedical Assisting
Philip Suchikul is a former employee of the Toyota Nummi automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA. He gained 17 years of experience working in the auto industry, but he never looked back once he was laid off. Philip took it in stride and immediately placed his focus to the expanding field of healthcare. After comparing different schools, Philip visited Unitek College and reminisces that "it just felt right. It felt like home."
After graduating valedictorian on November of 2011 from Unitek College's Medical Assisting program, he was able to receive an on-call assignment with Kaiser Permanente by February 2012. He was then promoted to a full-time position in the surgical department by September 2012. While gaining experience in different departments, he had tasks ranging from prepping schedules, rooming patients, preparing patients for surgery, and aiding surgeons during procedures. Philip turned a potential disaster into his dream job, claiming that he "can't believe they pay me to do this because it's so much fun."
Philip was dedicated to his studies, but always made sure to give a special thanks to his favorite instructor, Miss Lisa. He appreciated her real-world education focus that helped him pass his skills from the classroom to his career. He enjoyed her refusal to just open up a textbook and read directly from the book. Philip recalled how she drew from her personal experience, allowing him to use this knowledge to make a seamless transfer to his externship at Kaiser.
His love for his job has shined through, earning him a prestigious "Above and Beyond Award" from Kaiser Permanente. This coveted award is earned when a patient submits a special recognition honoring an employee after exemplary service. While they keep the submissions anonymous, Philip has a hunch on who may have sent in this special thank you. One patient had come in for a routine procedure, but Philip made sure the service was anything but routine. Working closely with the patient, he formed a strong emotional connection, and even gave him a call on Thanksgiving to wish him a happy holiday. While he may have been recognized for going above and beyond, Philip feels like it is just another one of his duties. He makes sure he always remember that patients "don't go to the hospital if they're feeling good… that's why they're there. Always smile, always be nice to them, and put yourself in their shoes".
Best advice for future medical assistants: Doctors appreciate good medical assistants. Pay attention to the doctors and understand that each doctor has different preferences.
Hope ReedVocational Nursing
Hope Reed is a bubbly, energetic woman with a welcoming personality – traits that will definitely serve her well in her future career as a nurse. Upon meeting her, you would have never guessed that she has spent more than ten years serving in the military between the Air Force and the Marines. She is now a wife, mother, and full time student. Hope has always wanted to go to school to be a nurse. In fact, she joined the military in large part for the educational benefits. Now at Unitek College, Hope says she is "finally seeing my dreams come alive." Hope's passion for nursing shines through.
Many people and experiences have inspired Hope on her path to nursing. She knew she always wanted to be in the medical field. In the Air Force, Hope worked as a Medical Service Journeyman. Medical Service journeymen work as the Paramedics of the Air Force, taking patients on and off the plane, while keeping them stabilized. Hope loved the work she was doing, and the impact she was making on patients' lives, and knew that she wanted to continue that work when she left the military.
Unitek College was an easy choice for Hope. Two of her cousins are Unitek College grads who now work at Kaiser. She said she had been "begging to come to Unitek College ever since I toured the school back in March 2012." And as soon as her Federal Aid and VRAP benefits got approved, she enrolled in the December class. She has had a great experience at Unitek College so far; citing the support she gets at home, along with strong relationships with professors, as the main catalysts of her success here. "The professors care to see you succeed," she says. "They will help you outside of class. They will even find other students for you study with." The student-teacher relationship is fundamental to student success, and highly valued by Unitek College. "We are on a cellphone-basis with professors," Hope says.
Hope will graduate from Unitek College in 2013 with the goal of becoming a flight nurse. She likes caring for patients during transport, and having previously been a Medical Service Journeymen, being a flight nurse is the perfect fit. Hope likes the idea of pursuing a specialty in nursing – especially one that she is passionate about and has experience in.
Hope has a word of advice for other veterans leaving the military and thinking about going back to school: "do it," she says, "don't pass up an opportunity to learn more." And there are plenty of opportunities, you just have to look. Unitek College is proud to offer veterans the opportunity to use their educational benefits. "There are people that want to help you," says Hope, "if you look, you will find them."
Michelle LeeVocational Nursing
Michelle Lee had been selling cars at a Mercedes Benz dealership, when she woke up one day and realized that it just wasn't working for her. She didn't enjoy her job, which was all about making the sale and getting the paycheck. Although equipped with a bachelors, masters, and P.H.D in Biopsychology, her attempt at medical school was badly tainted with memories of working on cadavers. But her most memorable position was working with autistic children. It was time to give healthcare another shot.
Being the kind of person who seeks instant gratification, Michelle didn't want to wait on a list to become a nurse nor did the luck of a lottery system appeal to her. After touring various private technical colleges in the Bay area, Michelle settled her sights on Unitek College. Why? "I felt like the Educational Advisor answered all my questions and alleviated any fears I had. Other schools were more focused on making the sell."
During the program, she established a very strong tie with one of instructors who was even there during some of the most crucial moments in Michelle's life. They still keep in touch.
Michelle graduated in May of 2009, and now works full time at California Community Operations. The nine months between graduation and employment was spent applying to various positions and working her externship with Interim. Although nine months may seem like a long period of time, Michelle had certain standards for her employment and would turn down a job that didn't fit. Many fellow graduates took the first job offered, but Michelle waited patiently and feels that she was better for it. "There is no more complaining about my job. I feel like I have real job security, and at the end of the day I know I am making a difference, not just a paycheck."
The Sallie Mae loans, which covered Michelle's training, have already been paid off and she is now considering returning to school for her R.N.. She may very well return to Unitek College, unless she decides to go for her Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
Michelle is currently the only medical person on staff other than the doctors. She acts as a liaison between the clients she serves, and their specialists or primary care physicians. It's a stressful job, but Michelle enjoys it; she is the Gate Keeper.
Best Advice: If you're training for strictly monetary reasons, this is the wrong place for you. The money is there.. but at the end of the day you need to want to care for people.
Jen FreemanVocational Nursing
Jen Freeman, who graduated from Unitek College's Vocational Nursing program, had her eyes on the ball from the very beginning. "I was standing in the ICU at a Children's Hospital with my son when I first realized I wanted to be a Nurse," Jen explains. The only thing holding her back was her full-time position as Mom to four kids; she had to juggle her time wisely. As we catch up with our Vocational Nursing graduate, she is exactly where she envisioned herself: working at the Children's Recovery Hospital in Campbell. A job she acquired within a week of gaining her temporary license. In the following interview, Jen reminisces about her experience at Unitek College and the role it played in bringing her vision to life.
So, why Unitek College? "It was good marketing on your part," she comments. "I never seriously looked anywhere else." The campus's location in her hometown provided the ultimate convenience. She laughs as she describes her first encounter with our admission representatives, who had only the time to tell her how much it would cost before the conversation ended. But after considering the perks of an accelerated program with no wait time, Jen enrolled. "How long would I wait somewhere else?" she asks.
Jen found the curriculum understandably challenging since she had no medical experience (the endocrine system proved difficult in particular). However, she dealt with these using two methods. The first was that she followed the program laid out before her to the letter; soaking up her education in large quantities by frequently re-reading chapters and taking every opportunity to dive in. "A lot of people like to watch while others go first... but not me. I went first because I wanted the experience," she explains.
The second method enabled Jen to really explore her passion for giving care. Instead of thinking of her education as a list of key terms or clinical diagnostics, she related them to people. As she describes, "I thought of these lessons as my patients, and I want to save their lives... so I have to know this information." She also believes that it's this passion which gets a Nurse to work every day, and there is no reason to become a Nurse other than the intention of making a difference in people's lives. Sometimes it's a small difference, like the painting the nails on her patient and sometimes it's much larger; such as changing the outcome of events in more critical patients. There is a future for her in pediatrics, but not only as an LVN; Jen plans to continue her education and gain her registered nursing license.
Grecia BenetizVocational Nursing
Grecia Benitez is not your typical nursing student. She has already served five years in the military: three in the Air Force, and two in the National Guard. Now she is enrolled at Unitek College, preparing to become a nurse. Grecia is currently enrolled in the Vocational Nursing program. Once she graduates as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in 2013, she plans to return to Unitek College for the Registered Nurse Bridge – LVN to RN program. Her ultimate goal is to work in a hospital, since a hospital could offer her the opportunity to work in various departments. Another option, Grecia says, is to graduate with her RN degree, and go back into the Air Force to be an Air Force nurse. The options are truly endless when one is equipped with a drive to succeed, and a diploma.
Grecia's time in the military helped prepare her for life at Unitek College. "Discipline," she says, is the key. Unitek College programs are accelerated, and it takes discipline on the part of the student to maintain the accelerated workload. Grecia honed her self-discipline in the Air Force, and is putting it to good use in the Vocational Nursing program at Unitek College. Another trait learned in the military and applied by students at Unitek College is "understanding what is expected of you," says Grecia, "You have to try, you have to study a lot."
Grecia was referred to Unitek College by a friend who is a nurse who has a lot of colleagues who are graduates of Unitek College. Her tour of the school sealed the deal. "Your school is equipped," she says, "I really like how there are classrooms with modern equipment designated for teaching specific skillsets. It is just very hands on." Grecia is pleased with her experience thus far. "If nursing is what you want to do…I would definitely recommend this school," she explains.
Thuy HuynhPharmacy Technician
Thuy is a man of many hats, but none fit him quite so well as his certification as a Pharmacy Technician. Born in Vietnam and raised in the South Bay, California, Thuy has walked different paths in his search for a career which started as a degree in kinesiology (specialization Athletic Training), Information Technology during the dotcom boom, and before beginning his training at Unitek College, Thuy worked in Real Estate. When asked why he chose to train as Pharmacy Technician at Unitek College he replies, "I had a friend at Unitek College's Medical Assisting program who referred me. I've always been interested in pharmaceuticals since partaking in Magnet program in high school."
The biggest challenge for Thuy was overcoming his fear of the board test, where proper preparation is key. This wasn't too difficult to manage, as he felt inspired by his teacher Dante; "he made you want it," he exclaims. Dante's attentive teaching style made Thuy feel that he was aptly prepared for the exam. And nothing is better proof of his claim than his current employment at the in-patient pharmacy at UCSF a mere 6 weeks after his graduation. He also credits his success to a confident group of classmates, and that their interaction during his training made him feel comfortable. Ultimately, this created an easier training environment where he could focus on the task at-hand. Thuy looked forward to his externship at Kaiser Permanente and is sensitive to the nervousness that potential students feel while facing this training requirement, but wants students to know that "After the first week, it gets easier. Don't feel overwhelmed."
For anyone out there who is on the fence about whether or not they should pursue healthcare training, Thuy points out the less than obvious benefit; developing social skills. In a fast-paced healthcare environment, you are continuously interacting with the general public and dealing with people becomes effortless. He also was a fan of Unitek College's circular training; meaning, you can enter the program when you're ready, and your lessons come full circle-- you create your own start time.
Thuy is extremely satisfied with the direction his career has taken, and is thrilled to be living in San Francisco. He feels that his Pharmacy Technician training at Unitek College has opened the door to a whole different world full of diversity. And while he has no current plans to continue his education, his adaptive personality may see him to Pharmacy school in the future.
Lannel De Los ReyesPharmacy Technician
Lannel De Los Reyes knew from a young age that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others. She watched her dad suffer through rheumatoid arthritis and gout, and wished more than anything that there was more she could do to alleviate his pain. Today she is pursuing a career in nursing, so that she may do so for others. Reyes said her dad's illness "motivated me to become a nurse and take care of people."
In part to get assistance for her college tuition, Lannel joined the Air Force right after high school. She served active duty in the Air Force for six years, and then two years in the reserves. Lannel's enlistment was motivated by her desire to serve the country, and the fact that the military would help pay her tuition.
When Lannel left the Air Force, she started looking at various nursing schools. Unitek College stood out to her, particularly because it was one of the few schools to accept her military educational benefits. Her tuition is being covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Many schools have yet to accept the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but Unitek College made it a priority to make quality education available for America's returning veterans. "Unitek College is 100% committed to assisting our dedicated service men and women in making a successful transition into civilian life. Our main priority is to help them obtain the necessary education and training that can be parlayed into a lasting and rewarding career. Serving our veterans is a privilege we don't take lightly." Navraj Bawa, COO and Executive Vice President, Unitek College stated in a press release.
Lannel will graduate from the Vocational Nursing program Unitek College in 2013. Serving our veterans is a privilege we don't take lightly," stated Navraj Bawa, COO and Executive Vice President of Unitek College. Afterwards, she plans on completing the Bachelors of Science Nursing – RN to BSN program, and returning to the Air Force as an Officer. Reyes advises other veterans to "definitely take advantage of your GI bill. That is part of why I joined the military." Reyes advises other veterans to "definitely take advantage of your GI bill. That is part of why I joined the military."
Helen TsaoMedical Assisting
Helen knew since college, where she attained a bachelor in Neuroscience, that she wanted a career in the healthcare field. Although first involving herself with research, she craved a more hands-on approach.
When first beginning her Medical Assisting training, Helen was intimidated by the idea of giving shots and drawing blood. It's an invasive procedure, and all students are haunted by medical procedures gone wrong. But with the support of Dr. Midue, an instructor for the MA program, Helen was able to overcome this challenge. Dr. Midue provided excellent feedback and helped Helen strengthen her weaknesses during blood draws. This one-on-one attention gave Helen every opportunity to perfect her techniques and feel comfortable with a syringe.
During her externship at Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Helen was shown the ropes and describes it as "a lot of fun." In fact, she clicked so well with AACI, that she was hired as soon as her externship ended and went full-time in April. Helen finds herself much more comfortable with people in general and her current position has done wonders for her social-skills. Helen plans to "sit still" and gain more field experience.
To anyone who is currently debating about entering the healthcare field, Helen encourages them, "it doesn't hurt to try!" Unitek College's unique stop-payment agreement allows students to leave if they have second thoughts, without holding them to the entire tuition. Let's face it-- the healthcare field is just not for everyone. Additionally, Helen advises students to clear their heads and work their hardest; "Put your heart into it!" Your success depends on your drive, which is a direct reflection of how bad you want it.
Alessandra SenhRegistered Nurse Bridge - LVN to RN
Alessandra Senh is entering her third course of study at Unitek College, and could not be more excited about it. In 2013, she graduated from Unitek College's Registered Nurse Bridge – LVN to RN program, and shortly thereafter passed the NCLEX, achieving her lifelong goal of becoming a registered nurse. But she isn't stopping there. Alessandra is going straight into the Bachelors of Science Nursing – RN to BSN degree program.
Her drive to pursue a higher nursing education, and her ability to do so, can be attributed to her work ethic, her academic inclination, and the environment at Unitek College. Alessandra worked hard throughout the Vocational Nursing program, and then the Registered Nurse Bridge – LVN to RN program, and is now embarking on her RN to BSN degree with self-stated the goal of "going as high as she can within her chosen profession". Alessandra is able to go from LVN to RN to BSN with Unitek College, because the institution hosts a comprehensive offering of nursing programs. "Unitek College is very convenient," says Alessandra, "I like the way the program is set up. I like the way I didn't need to go out looking for classes and buying books."
Classes weren't only convenient, they were compelling and comprehensive, and in conjunction with clinicals, prepared her well for the NCELX. "I had a good experience at my clinical sites, for both LVN and RN," she says. Clinicals were a chance to put her classroom learning into practice. Alessandra also worked hard in the classroom. "I like to read a lot," she says, "So I really prepared myself that way. I like the reading material and the subjects in the nursing programs." Because class material was covered so thoroughly, Alessandra was fully prepared for the NCLEX. She passed it on the first try. "The curriculum, the course itself, the labs, the simulations," she says, covered the essentials of nursing education, in a variety of applications.
One of Alessandra's fondest memories of her time at Unitek College was the chance to volunteer at Trauma Sundays. Volunteering was already a hobby of hers, and she enjoyed being able to combine her volunteer work with her nursing education. "I like volunteering outside of school, so I was really happy that I was able to combine nursing studies with volunteer work."
Alessandra's nursing aspirations are selfless and commendable. She entered the Vocational Nursing program, and continues her education, because she wants to help others. She is truly committed to nursing for the right reasons. Once she graduates, she says "I want to be part of more…I am in this profession to help people. There are so many fields in nursing that you can do that. For example, there are people in the street because they don't have the right medication or care, there are so many people dying of diabetes because they don't know what they can do to prevent or treat the disease… So I hope that my path will lead me to something where I can make a difference."
Her BSN degree will most definitely help her down that path, where she can take on a role in patient advocacy or healthcare policy. And we are excited to see what she does!
Danielle MooreVocational Nursing
Danielle Moore has big goals. Her drive and her ability to thrive in fast paced environments are helping her reach those goals. She graduated from Unitek College's Vocational Nursing program in 2013. After taking the NCLEX, she will return to Unitek College for the Registered Nurse Bridge – LVN to RN program. But her education won't stop there. Her ultimate goal is to get a Master's degree in Nursing. Danielle is funding her ongoing education thanks to the benefits she is receiving from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Prior to attending Unitek College, Danielle served as a Coreman (Navy Medic) in the United States Navy. She served active duty for seven years, and is currently completing one year in reserves. Her service to the country deemed her eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which helps cover tuition and other educational expenses of veterans.
She says her experience using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at Unitek College has been phenomenal. "It's been so easy. No holds. No bumpy roads," she says. Unitek College has made it easy for her to apply federal aid and Post-9/11 GI Bill funds to her tuition bills, leaving her to focus on what matters most: her education.
The seamless application of aid was just one of the reasons that motivated Danielle to attend Unitek College. Another reason is that fact that there is no waitlist. "I could be done with school and already working in the same amount of time that I would still be on a waitlist at any other college," notes Danielle. Moving quickly is something Danielle learned in the military, and is a trait that helps her excel in nursing courses at Unitek College. "The way they do courses is very similar," she says. Danielle is referring to the fact that the Unitek College Vocational Nursing program is an accelerated program. It reminds her very much of the accelerated courses she took while training to be a Coreman in the Navy. At both Unitek College and the military, students must "pick things up quickly" in order to stay on top of their classes. Danielle thrives in that type of environment, and says she is looking forward to graduating so she can pursue that same fast paced environment with a career in nursing. And she is serious about the "fast paced" part: she wants to be an ER nurse. She thinks working in an emergency room would suit her personality the best, because she wants a job where she can collaborate with others and work quickly.
Danielle has a word of advice for other veterans leaving the military: "go back to school before life gets in the way."
Gainful Employment disclosure related to this program can be read in our Medical Assisting Program Gainful Employment Disclosure page.
Gainful Employment disclosure related to this program can be read in our Pharmacy Technician Program Gainful Employment Disclosure page.
Gainful Employment disclosure related to this program can be read in our Vocational Nursing Program Gainful Employment Disclosure page.
Gainful Employment disclosure related to this program can be read in our Registered Nurse Bridge - LVN to RN Gainful Employment Disclosure page.
Gainful Employment disclosure related to this program can be read in our Bachelors of Science in Nursing Completion Degree Program Gainful Employment Disclosure page.