Home > Blog > December 2020 > Alumni Spotlight: Jasmine Zapien Castillo

Alumni Spotlight: Jasmine Zapien Castillo

Posted: December 23, 2020 by Kasey Bowser
Photo of Mesa Campus Medical Assistant graduate, Jasmine Zapien Castillo.
Mesa Campus Medical Assistant graduate, Jasmine Zapien Castillo.

Jasmine Zapien Castillo had her first child as a teenager and was forced to drop out of high school and later get her GED. It wasn’t until her mom’s passing from a thoracic aneurysm that made her realize she never wanted to be put in a position where she couldn’t help someone. That’s when she decided to enroll in our Medical Assistant program at our Mesa Campus. She graduated in 1997, and after working 23 years in the field, she is now an instructor at our Phoenix Campus.
Here’s her story from her own words.
“Back in the 90’s I was a teenage mom and was forced to drop out of high school and later get my GED. I wasn’t doing much with my life until I had a traumatic family experience. My mom became suddenly ill, we brought her to the hospital and they brushed it off and sent her home. Unfortunately, shortly after, she died of a thoracic aneurysm. I decided then and there that I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare and never be in a position where I didn’t know how to help someone.
I enrolled in the Medical Assistant (MA) program at Pima Medical Institute. It was tough! I had three kids, I was working and I hadn’t been a student for a long time. It became so difficult I had to drop out for a time. But I came back and had great instructors who believed in me and helped make the textbook learning practical. 
After completing the program, I worked in a number of different healthcare settings, but I always had my mind set on working at the Arizona Heart Institute. One day, I got the call for my dream job and ended up working there for seven years. As I worked with the surgeons, I finally learned the what, why and how of thoracic aneurysms. One day, I had a patient who had an abdominal aneurysm. We caught it and I was able to help save his life. It was like a completion of a goal and a dream. 
After working 23 years in the field, I decided it was time to give back. I am currently an MA instructor at Pima Medical Institute’s Phoenix Campus. My goal is to help my students succeed. I think my experience as a single mom helps me be a better instructor. I know that pushing through and doing the hard work will pay off. It is so rewarding knowing I am making a difference in my students’ lives.”
Are you looking for a fulfilling career? Check out all the programs and locations offered at pmi.edu.

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