HSE & College Prep - Amanda Lawrence
I am 31yrs old and have two boys. I was born into the foster care system because my mom was mentally and physically incapable of taking care of me – I was left at the hospital after my birth. My grandparents raised me in the Castle Hill projects located in Bronx, NY. I moved around most of my childhood and adulthood. I went into shelter at the age of 20 with my first born. I had no support from my family or friends, but remained strong in the process. Eventually, I moved into my own place and had my second child and kept putting my life on pause. My only concern was parenthood.
College was always a thought in the back of my mind, but I never took my education seriously because I was committed to the other stuff in my life. Initially it was my children who motivated me. I am fully invested in my children’s education. I am the mom who sits on the PTA board/SLT committee at their schools and participates in any and all academic activities that may benefit my children’s education. During this time, I started to feel hypocritical and felt as if I was doing myself an injustice by not putting those same efforts into my own education.
Now I have plans to major in Psychology because I am fascinated with how the human mind works and what intrigues people. I feel that this major is more personal for me because I will help people overcome their weaknesses, triggers and traumas, as well as my own.
There is no time limit on your education and you should never stop believing in your goals and aspirations! Take your time and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who want the same things as you and encourage you every step of the way!
College Prep - Cynthia Martins
During these challenging times, it is good to know that there are still some great things happening to our community residents. The Bronx EOC had a chance to interview one such individual, Cynthia Martins, who shared not only her success of obtaining her HSE diploma but also being accepted into the CUNY College of her choice Hostos Community College.
Cynthia came to the United States from Ghana. Along with the numerous hardships that confront many immigrants, Cynthia also shared the dream of creating a better life for her husband and three beautiful daughters. At a young age, she had always wanted to not only attend college, but also work in a field that would help people. Over the years, her focus shifted to the Health/Medical field. This selfless passion not only motivated her, but also helped her realize what specific steps she needed to take to make her dream a reality.
Mrs. Martins first enrolled in the HSE program at The Bronx EOC. After earning her diploma, she immediately signed up for the College Connection Initiative. It was during this time that the COVID-19 pandemic causes a massive shutdown of schools. Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Cynthia was determined not to let anything stop her dream. She applied to Hostos Community College and was accepted into the Dietician & Nutrition program. With this major, Cynthia can work as a Dietician in numerous areas, including hospitals, community-based organizations, and private practice.
When asked if she could share some advice to other students who may be in the same situation, she replied, “Never give up on yourself until everything is over because there is always help not far away. It is not easy, but you must always keep pushing and never doubt yourself."
Medical Assistant - Fatoumata Tambadou
Fatoumata Tambadou came to New York City in 2004 from Gambia in West Africa in search of a brighter future. Mrs. Tambadou and her husband are the proud parents of three loving children, two boys and one girl. In 2012, after receiving her permanent resident card, she started to search on the internet for opportunities in the medical field. She found the SUNY Bronx EOC’s website. She could not believe that the programs and services offered were free of charge. Shortly thereafter, she registered to take the Medical Assistant program.
Since her program of choice was not starting any time soon, she decided to begin her educational journey with the Microsoft Office Specialist course and successfully became certified in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Mrs. Tambadou then enrolled and excelled in the Medical Assistant program thereby receiving the Achievement Award from SUNY. Additionally, as part of the Medical Assistant course she became certified in Access. After the instructional part of the program, Mrs. Tambadou went on to complete an internship at North Central Hospital.
Upon completing her practical experience requirements, she returned to the ATTAIN Lab to complete the Outlook certification and thereby officially became a Microsoft Office Specialist. As if all of that was not enough, Mrs. Tambadou also became a Certified Phlebotomy Technologist. In June of 2013, she successfully obtained a full time position as a Phlebotomist with the New York City Health & Hospital Corporation at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. Currently, she is looking forward to gaining as much experience as possible to further her career in the healthcare industry.
Mrs. Tambadou continues to be an example of persistence, perseverance and success. She is an inspiration to her family, friends and community.
Medical Assistant - Mark Hernandez
Mark Hernandez, born and raised in the Bronx and has many dreams and aspirations. Mr. Hernandez and his wife are proud parents of a four-year baby boy. In the fall of 2012, encouraged by his family, Mr. Hernandez decided to pursue his high school equivalency diploma at the SUNY Bronx EOC. His goal was not just to obtain his equivalency diploma but to start a career in the healthcare industry. It took Mr. Hernandez only two months to fully prepare and pass the high school equivalency exam (formally known as GED) in just one try.
Immediately after receiving his diploma, Mr. Hernandez enrolled in the Medical Assistant program and also became a certified Microsoft Office Specialist in Word and Access. He then obtained and successfully completed his internship at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. Upon completing all requirements of the program, Mr. Hernandez obtained his certificate and a full time position as a Medical Assistant with a pain management clinic in the Bronx. Since he believes in sharing his success, he encouraged and referred his wife to take the high school equivalency exam. Suffice to say, that with his support and guidance she also passed the test on her first try.
Mr. Hernandez wants the best for his family. He has his sight set on a college degree to better provide for his family. He is currently enrolled at Bronx Community College as Liberal Arts major.