By Stephanie Santiful, MLIS
Graduation is an exciting time for students where they are rewarded for their hard work and dedication toward earning their degrees. Often times they are joined by friends and family who wish to celebrate their accomplishments.
For the commencement ceremony on July 21st, the Hunt family found themselves experiencing the same excitement and joy as other students.
Only, there story is perhaps a little different.
Cloris, Harold, and Justin Hunt are a family of wife, husband, and son who all graduated together after successfully completing UAV's Medical Assistant program.
When asked what made Cloris Hunt look into enrolling into UAV, she admits that she hadn't actually been planning to attend. "I decided my husband was going to go to college. I wasn't thinking about me. I was thinking about what he could do right now," she jokes. However, the day she and her husband, Harold, visited UAV to learn more information about the Medical Assistant program was also the same day she decided to enroll.
Initially, when her children were younger, Cloris didn't feel like she had time to go back to school. "I didn't want to go back to school. I didn't feel like I needed to go back." However, she explains that once her children grew older that, "Life changes."
She mentions that one of the reasons she chose UAV is because of the open and welcoming atmosphere of the admissions department. After speaking with former admissions representative, Theresa Lawrence, who is "always happy," Cloris felt that things would be less complicated than she previously thought. "With other colleges, it's like ants scrambling everywhere, and that kind of deters you from going. I was happy to find out it was simpler to get back into it."
When describing her overall experience with the Medical Assistant program, Cloris gives credit to her instructor, Gary Denson. "Having my husband and son in the class may have given him some gray hairs," she says with a chuckle. She compliments Denson on being an excellent instructor, and feels that he explained everything so that students could understand it, and then apply it during their externships.
Even though she was reluctant about the many hands-on opportunities the class provided at first, she expresses her thankfulness for the experience. "When you get into the world, you haven't just read about it. You have haven't just seen it. You actually did it," she states.
Medical Assistant students are required to participate in an externship in order to complete the program. Cloris did hers at Olive View—UCLA Medical Center. She performed both front office and back office duties, and is grateful that the program taught her how to connect with people. "When you first interact with someone, you don't know how to approach them, but you know they're there for help," she says. Luckily, because of the role-play scenarios performed in class, she knew how what to do and how to do it.
Cloris feels that the Medical Assistant program has helped her perform better at her current job working for the County of Los Angeles at Olive View by further explaining and giving more depth to certain rules and regulations. "It helps me to help people," she proclaims. "I don't like to go any place, and feel like I'm not being helped, so I go the extra mile to help people."
Though she may be finished with the Medical Assistant program, her journey isn't over yet. Her next step is to become a registered nurse. Cloris proudly boasts being a UAV Pioneer, and believes that being proud of being a Pioneer will help to open doors for others to attend, and possibly start a new path onto something new.
Harold Hunt wasn't exactly sure what he wanted to do in regards to a career. He just knew that he needed one. After driving by UAV one day, he and his wife, Cloris, agreed that it couldn't hurt to stop by to see what UAV had to offer.
Initially, Harold was interested in UAV because of the recommendations he received from various associates. "I know some cooks that came out from here, and they're working at high-end restaurants right now," he explains.
Once he arrived at UAV, he points out that the campus was full of nice people who were all willing to help, which encouraged him to enroll. Harold had tried other schools in the past, but none of them were willing to work with him when it came to an externship. "UAV was," he says. "They did everything in their ability to get me on the path of finding a career. I did want to get into the medical field, and this place made it happen for me."
Harold feels confident in what he learned at UAV, and thinks the instructors are great. "Not just the one that I had, but the other ones that I've come to know, and see, and come across," he asserts. He commends UAV instructors on being "precise and accurate," and believes that they want to "help students get to where they're going."
He refers to the time spent in class with both his wife and son as an "experience," but definitely not a bad one. "It's a little different when you're in class versus when you're at home, but we never changed, so I think that was a real treat in class. It was interesting."
Though the experience has come to an end, Harold is thankful for the time he spent at UAV. He believes that UAV gave him the tools and game plan needed to succeed, which is why he didn't hesitate to put in an application for Medical Assistant at the hospital where he currently works.
While UAV gave him the tools he needed to begin a career in the medical field, Harold's family was the driving force behind his motivation. "When your youngest son says, I want to do what you do, dad. I want to go to school with you and mom. I want to get in the medical field." It's a "great" feeling, Harold says.
Being in the same program, and attending the same class, helped to strengthen the Hunt family's already unbreakable bond. Harold feels that studying, working, and testing together helped the family as a whole. "None of us would let the other fail. We all wanted to do well, and not just average. Failure is not an option."
Harold wants to thank UAV for all they've done, and encourages the staff to keep up the good work. "I talk highly of the place at my hospital. A lot of people want to know where I came from. I came from UAV, baby," he proudly gloats. He also wants to thank Denson for always believing in him.
Justin Hunt was already thinking about pursing the nursing field, and was looking at colleges to decide which one he wanted to enroll in. Once he learned more about UAV's Medical Assistant program, he felt that it would be a great opportunity to get his foot inside the door.
Justin says his mom was the person who suggested that he enroll at UAV, and that he felt more comfortable with her as a family member encouraging him to enroll. Once he looked into the university, and the program, he discovered how friendly the faculty and staff were. "Everybody was friendly. Everybody told me everything I needed to know. It was kind of like my own family I'm meeting for the first time," he says.
One of his favorite things about the Medical Assistant program was how quickly it grabbed his attention. "It kind of grabs you into it," he exclaims. "I liked it a lot."
Liking the program and excelling at it definitely benefited Justin during his externship at Advanced Endoscopy and Pain Center. "For me coming in as an extern, they really embraced me." There was even a situation where the supervisor over him wasn't available and they had total confidence in Justin to handle things on his own.
Though he enjoyed the Medical Assistant program, Justin admits that he was nervous about the phlebotomy module. "We just jumped straight into it," he says with a laugh. "I didn't want to hurt anyone, and I didn't want to get hurt." At first he only trusted his parents, but eventually he became comfortable working with everyone else.
When asked what it was like attending classes with his parents, Justin confesses that, "It wasn't that bad," but would have liked it if his mom had left some things out when speaking about him to his classmates and instructor. Still, he's happy about the unique "pioneer" experience that UAV provided to his entire family. "You have to pick your own career in this field, and apply it to the job you're trying to go for. You have to be determined to do the program and classes, and then put it into action."
Though finishing the program depended solely on Justin's determination, he still wants to thank his parents for always being there for him. He also wants to thank Denson. "Anything Mr. Gary tells you is true. He will not guide you in the wrong direction."
So how exactly do a mother, father, and son behave in a class together?
Many people may assume that Justin might have been a handful in class with his parents, but Cloris has other news. "Actually my son's not that bad. It's the husband. We have to always keep an eye on him. You would think that he would set a good example for our son. Nope, he's the class clown," she quips.
Justin enjoyed being in class with his parents, but says that the module on reproductive health was "awkward."
When asked if the three competitive family members could visualize themselves all working together one day, Justin responded that if that were to happen, it would be "easy." Harold thinks it would be "comical," and Cloris believes it would be "stressful." But still wants them both to know that she's extremely proud of them. Justin is also immensely proud of his parents and their ability to work, raise children, and still manage to go to school.
Though the idea of attending class with a spouse may seem strange to some people, Harold didn't have a problem with it. "We've done a lot of things over the past twenty plus years as husband and wife, and this is just something else we can add to the portfolio of what we've obtained together in life—a medical education at UAV."