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Alumni Spotlight: Medical Assistant Graduate Deandre McGinnis

Follow your passion for a career in healthcare and make a difference.

Deandre “Dre” McGinnis overcame obstacle after obstacle to achieve his dream of working in the medical field. Even homelessness did not stop him from fulfilling his dream. He graduated from our Tucson campus in 2019 with his Medical Assistant certificate. Dre has now enrolled in the online Health Care administration associate degree program with plans to finish the online bachelor’s degree program as well.

“I grew up a troubled child in a single parent home. My mother worked three jobs to support my sisters and me, and by the time I got to high school, I had attended 14 different schools. I tried community college but dropped out and for the next 10 years, I built up quite the resume, but I always had a nagging feeling I was supposed to be so much more.

Since the age of 12, I’ve had the dream of working in the medical field. I identified as a transman and I knew I wanted to eventually become a surgeon and give back to the transgender community. In 2018, I found myself living near a Pima Medical Institute campus and I decided it was time to stop peaking over the fence and start living my dream of a career in the medical field so I enrolled in their Medical Assistant program. Although it was nerve-wracking starting school, I quickly adjusted and got excited about learning. I had wonderful instructors and I learned I had a knack for medicine. I was worried about being transgender but the classmates and instructors that I told were kind and accepting. I faced many obstacles during my program including having to move several times. For a while, I was getting up at 3 am to ride my bike and get to class on time. It was extremely hard, but I would show up each day with positivity and an eagerness to learn.

I was placed at the Center for Neurosciences for my externship. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions and I wanted to learn all I could. I found out that after only a week they had already decided to offer me a position when I graduated. During the last part of my program, I was homeless, working at my externship site during the day and working a 12-hour shift at Target overnights. With the help of Pima Medical’s student services department, I was able to find resources for food, toiletries and even a place to shower. Life was certainly a struggle, but I wanted to be successful more than I wanted to sleep.

Pima Medical was the best decision I have ever made. I had amazing instructors and they gave me a great start in my medical career. Recently, I enrolled in their online Health Care Administration associate and bachelor’s degree programs. I love my job as a Medical Assistant, but I want more. Just remember … you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. Just ignite your hunger for knowledge.”

Do you have a hunger for knowledge? Are you considering a career in the medical field? Get started now!

July 24, 2020
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