When we last shared her story, So Ma was a recent North High School graduate and working part-time as a greeter/COVID-19 screener at Akron Children’s.
Today, she has her associate’s degree from Stark State College and is working full-time as a medical assistant in Akron Children’s Allergy and Immunology Department. She will take her test to become a certified medical assistant and is considering the next step in her career path. She is looking at enrolling at either Kent State University or the University of Akron to pursue a bachelor’s degree with an ultimate career path in either pharmacology or hospital administration.
After a rotation through the department, So Ma said she fell in love with the Allergy team.
“The doctors there … everyone was so polite and nice,” she said. “And they had a job opening as a medical assistant. So, before I even finished my externship, I reached out to the hiring manager and told him I really liked it there and would love to interview.”
And whether she is assisting a provider or testing for allergies, So Ma said she is learning new things every day.
So Ma feels fortunate to have been enrolled in Akron Children’s Hospital’s Academy of Health and Human Services at North High School, which exposed her to many health care career opportunities and helped her get her foot in the door. The hospital’s Career Launch Program has covered almost all of her educational expenses to date. As she pursues her bachelor’s degree, she will be able to use the hospital’s tuition reimbursement program.
These programs made both her transition to college and her career entry fairly stress free.
“I didn’t have to worry about the financial part of college and I could just focus on my school work,” she said. “Most kids, that’s their first priority – the financial part.”
Sometimes she just has to stop and pinch herself to confirm it’s all true and she has come this far in such a short time.
“When I realized I was actually done with the programs and had a full-time job, I thought, “Wow, I actually did all of this, right? It’s amazing.”