Jennifer Martinez is a first-generation American and the first person in her family to go to college. She attended Florida Career College in Houston and graduated from the Medical Assistant Technician (MAT) program in January of 2020.
She now works at a family practice in general surgery in Houston. In the front office she takes care of payments and bills insurances. In the back office, she takes care of patients using skills she learned in school such as taking vitals, injections and EKGs.
“Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve picked a better career than being in the medical field,” she said. “There are many people in need during these times and that’s what we are here for.”
The COVID-19 pandemic changed Jennifer’s day-to-day work life earlier this year. She learned a lot about telemedicine and helped doctors prepare for virtual patient appointments. Her workplace is now back to taking patients, but they are limited.
“We work long hours, we get stressed out but at the end of the day we are satisfied that we’ve helped,” Jennifer said. “I don’t miss a day knowing I have patients to take care of because that’s my job.”
Jennifer’s childhood influenced her decision to pursue an education at FCC and a professional career. She and her family didn’t always see eye to eye. Her hopes and dreams were always bigger than what her family expected of her, so she made a tough decision to part ways. “I decided to leave home to create a brighter future for myself.”
Jennifer found the support she needed at FCC and still keeps in touch with instructors, even after graduating.
“Jennifer was a really responsible student who took her education at FCC seriously. She did very well academically and performed like a pro during her externship. We are all very proud of her,” said Eduardo Velasquez, Senior Career Services Specialist at FCC Houston. “Even before she started her externship, I knew she was going to be a great Medical Assistant and would have a passion for helping people in need.”
Since graduating from FCC, Jennifer has discovered a new confidence in herself and in her skills. Her education and hands-on learning at FCC prepared her well and she has never doubted herself in a professional setting. “My friends have told me they see a difference in me since graduation,” she said. “They sort of look up to me, like a role model because they know how far I’ve come.”
She’s embraced this role as a mentor to her peers and encourages them just as the FCC community encouraged her. Mentees come to her with their fears and nerves of starting school or starting a new job.
“Everyone starts out at the beginning,” Jennifer said. “That’s what I tell them. Everyone has been in their shoes at some point and they are not alone in the way they feel.”
FCC gave Jennifer so much more than an education. The experience helped her realize her capabilities and have the strength to pursue them to their fullest potential.
“My FCC experience changed the way I act and carry myself,” she said. “It feels good to be recognized by my friends for the hard work I’ve put in to get to where I am mentally, emotionally, and professionally.”