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From Homelessness to Bachelor’s Degree: This Graduate is the Definition of Determination

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

Rebecca Knuth is the definition of determination. After starting her Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Pima Medical, penniless and homeless, she is now on her way to completing her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration. Here is her inspiring story in her own words.

“I have overcome unusual circumstances and outright hardship to graduate from the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program at Pima Medical Institute. I began my OTA program homeless and penniless. A divorce necessitated looking for a new place to live in the weeks prior to school and plans to live with a friend fell through the weekend before school started. I was scrambling to find a domestic violence shelter for my three kids and myself, when at the last minute, my brother a disabled veteran, offered his one bedroom apartment where we could stay with him.

We all learned what you can accomplish with dedication, hard work, sacrifice and family support. After a grueling 35-mile commute to and from my children’s school, each day I helped with their homework, did my homework and scraped together a meal, which we ate on the floor in the tight quarters where I slept on the couch and my kids on the floor. We had no Wi-Fi so I was forced to do most of my homework either on campus or at a library. The support of my brother and my children allowed me to successfully complete the program, but it wasn’t easy. At times, it felt like Pima Medical was the only positive thing in my life and it kept me going. I’m so grateful to my instructors who were so supportive of me. I had no money to give my kids Christmas gifts that first year so they arranged to provide presents for my children. I have recently moved into an adequate place for my kids and we’ve begun to rebuild our lives.

My graduation has been a source of pride and relief for my children and myself. I really enjoyed my clinical experiences and can see myself in a position as a pediatric COTA. I have always dreamt of completing my bachelor’s degree, so recently I enrolled in Pima Medical’s online Bachelor of Science in Health Care of Administration program. My kids and I have learned that anything worth doing is worth sacrificing for.

Have you been considering a career in healthcare but thought you had too many obstacles to overcome? Take the first step toward a rewarding new career now.

April 22, 2022

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