Mackenzie Stefanini – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce one of our newest graduates, Mackenzie Stefanini. Mackenzie graduated from United’s Medical Assisting program this month and is already working in the field!

Mackenzie began her journey at United right after high school! She attended a presentation in one of her classes that sparked her interest, and went for an interview afterward and loved it!

Mackenzie has always known she wanted to be in the medical field. However, she knew she needed a school where she could get her foot in the door of the medical field that also provided one on one time with instructors in a small school atmosphere. She said, “I chose the MA program so that I could get my foot in the door and be sure that this was the career I wanted and because I have always wanted to do something in the medical field.” Mackenzie continued,  “I chose United because it was hands-on experience and was a small building with not a lot of people at one time, allowing more one-on-one time with teachers for any questions you might have had.” United’s small class sizes allow plenty of time for one on one help if students need it!

The familial atmosphere was Mackenzie’s favorite part of attending United. “My favorite part was how friendly and family-oriented the building was. They made you feel at home while you were there,” she said. While the family-like atmosphere was Mackenzie’s favorite part of attending United, Kelli, United’s Allied Health Program Coordinator, was her favorite instructor. She said, “I would say my favorite teacher was Kelli. She was the teacher for my clinical classes, and I loved my clinical classes. She always told stories to help remember things.”

One of the most exciting parts of a student’s experience at United Career Institute is the externship they get to participate in their last 12 weeks of the program. This externship allows students to get real-world experience in medical settings. This experience can sometimes lead to job opportunities, and that is the case with Mackenzie! She said, “I am currently working from my extern because they hired me at Conn Family Medicine.”

Mackenzie has big plans for her life in the next five years, both professionally and personally! “I would like to be living in my own house, and starting a family, possibly even go back to United for their LPN program.” Many United students who graduate from the Medical Assisting program go on to the Practical Nursing program because the MA program offers an excellent base to build on.

Mackenzie says she would absolutely refer a friend to United because of the friendly environment and staff! “I would definitely refer somebody to United because of how friendly the environment is. Also, because of how great the teachers are, and they love what they do. I loved the hands-on experience that I also got being at the school.”

If your story sounds similar to Mackenzie’s, request information here!

Q&A With Kelli Workman

What is your educational background?

My educational background is an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting, Licensed Practical Nurse, and Certified Postsecondary Instructor. All of which I earned at United Career Institute.

What are some of your prior work experiences?

My prior work experiences are at Flores and Flores Medical Associates, Maxim Healthcare, Henry Clay Villa, and Harmon House Care Center.

What is your current role at United Career Institute?

My current role at United is the Allied Health Coordinator

Why did you choose to work at United Career Institute?

I chose to work at United because teaching has been a passion of mine since I was a student. I always enjoyed helping fellow classmates with assignments and studying.

What is your favorite part of working for United Career Institute?

My favorite part about working at United is the friendly atmosphere and the sense of family among staff. Also, watching the students grow. You watch them come in during orientation and they are nervous and shy. Then as their journey progresses, you observe them transform into confident, self-assured health care professionals. Going through this life-changing event with them is very rewarding.

What, or who motivates you and why?

The things that motivate me the most are my children.  Also, my students, it warms my heart to see them succeed.

The best book I have ever read is “The First Day of the Rest of My Life” by Cathy Lamb. It showcases the empowerment of overcoming emotional and physical pain through traumatic events. It demonstrates that even the darkest times can’t be shadowed by faith, determination, and strength.

I am most proud of my children. They are my world. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

My long term goal is to earn my BSN.

Hannah Matheson – Graduate Highlight

Hannah Matheson is a 2019-2020 graduate from the Medical Assisting program at United Career Institute. Prior to school, she was a full-time student at California Area High School and worked as a cashier at Foodland. Hannah learned about United through our Facebook page and continued her admissions process through our high school admissions advisor, Meghan Murray. Hannah was also awarded a high school grant to help with her financial needs while furthering her education.

Hannah chose United because of the small class sizes, the one on one relationship with instructors, and the amount of time that was offered in the lab. United prides itself on the specialized attention it shows each student who walks through the door.

Hannah decided to pursue medical assisting because she ultimately wants to be a nurse and knew that starting with the Medical Assisting program would help prepare her for the more rigorous Practical Nursing program. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start nursing directly so working my way up and getting my foot in the door of the medical profession seemed like the right thing to do.”

Hannah’s favorite part of attending United was her time in the lab practicing skills, her externship, student Thanksgiving (hosted by the faculty and staff for the students each year), and the lifelong friends that she met along the way. Her favorite class was Anatomy and Physiology. “I really like learning about the human body,” she says. Hannah liked and respected all of her instructors. However, Kelli Workman was her favorite. “Kelli took time to explain things when we didn’t get it and she would stay after class to further explanation whenever we needed her to.”

Currently employed at Centerville Clinics in California, Hannah has utilized all the skills that she has acquired during her time at United. She is the lead medical assistant for her physician and is thriving in her role. When asked where she sees herself in five years, she stated “I want to be a labor and delivery nurse in Pittsburgh and I am currently working towards that goal.” Hannah is currently working through the Practical Nursing admissions process and is set to start in September.

When asked if she would recommend United to a friend Hannah had no hesitation, stating “Yes. You get one on one time with instructors, the environment is very positive, you can go to any staff member at any time and they help you, and if you ever need a pep talk any instructor will be there to lift you up.”

To learn more about United Career Institute’s medical programs, request information here!

Chelsea Lee – Student Highlight

Chelsea Lee is a student in United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program. Chelsea also works at Applebee’s while she is going to school. Working while in school is common amongst United students and we strive to offer our students the services they need to balance family, work, and school life. Our fast-track programs are also designed to get students into the professional world as quickly as possible, helping to facilitate that balance even further. Chelsea has worked at Applebee’s since she was in high school, which coincidentally, is where she heard about United Career Institute. Meghan Murray, United’s High School Admissions Advisor, visited Chelsea’s school and piqued her interest in United. Chelsea was also a high-school scholarship recipient.

Chelsea says that she chose United because of the recommendation of a friend who recently graduated from United’s Medical Assisting program. “It seemed like a fun school to go to. The staff seemed helpful,” Chelsea says. Pursuing medical assisting seemed like a logical step for Chelsea. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and thought medical assisting would be a good start.” (Many United students choose to pursue a Medical Assisting degree before moving into nursing because it helps prepare them for the fast-paced Practical Nursing program.) When asked what her favorite class has been so far, Chelsea said that the anatomy and physiology courses were her favorite because she loves learning about how the body works. Chelsea also said that, while she likes all her instructors, her favorite instructor is Medical Assisting Program Director, Kelli Workman. “I enjoy all the instructors, but Kelli Workman is my favorite because she explains things so that they are easy to understand, she doesn’t give up on us, and she will push you until you get it.” United Career Institute prides itself on the one-on-one attention our instructors give our students and the support we offer to help our students reach their educational and career goals.

Chelsea’s ideal job after graduation is in a pediatrician’s office. She wants to work with children because they touch her heart. Her five-year goal is to become a pediatric nurse. When asked If she would refer a friend to United she quickly responded, “yes, it is a fast-paced environment, but at the same time the ultimate learning goal is accomplished.”

If your story sounds similar to Chelsea’s and you would like to learn more about United Career Institute’s fast-track programs and hands-on training request information here today!

Jennifer George – Graduate Highlight

Jennifer George had been working as a hospital tech in Latrobe and Westmoreland Hospital through Excela Health for two and a half years when she started her conquest to find the perfect school to further her healthcare education. However, she, like many of our students, did not have any postsecondary education experience and wasn’t sure where to look. Fortunately, Jennifer’s co-workers and former UCI graduates were happy to point her in the right direction. Through the interview and admissions process, Jennifer realized that she had made the right choice. When asked why, she stated “I was so nervous and scared and the staff and instructors made the transition an easy experience. They were awesome.”Jennifer Georgen - Graduate Highlight

When asked why she chose her program of study Jennifer stated, “I knew that it was only one year and that in one year I would be working doing something that I have always loved and this would help me work my way towards entering the LPN program.”

Jennifer stated that the best part of attending UCI was that “the teachers treat you like you are one of them, always with open arms no matter what you are struggling with. They take the time to help you understand the material no matter what it takes.” Jennifer said that her favorite instructor was Kelli Workman. “If I wasn’t confident in myself she was always cheering me on and letting me know that I could do it. I just had to have faith in myself.” Her favorite classes were her clinical courses instructed by Jade Teets.

Jennifer’s short term goal is to return to United for the Practical Nursing program. She has already been accepted into the 2020 fall class. Jennifer is still gainfully employed through Excela Health. When asked where she sees herself in five years, Jennifer said, “I am working as nurse with the help of all the nursing instructors at United Career Institute.” When asked if she would refer a friend, she said, “yes, and I already have. Some of my coworkers are now interested in the school’s Practical Nursing Program. This is by far the greatest school.”

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request info here!

Elizabeth Compton – Student Highlight

Before April’s Student of the month, Elizabeth LaRue Compton, decided to join the United Career Institute family, she was a culinary arts student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a kitchen manager for the Ohiopyle House Café.

Elizabeth Compton - Student Highlight

However, her children inspired her to reach for more and to better herself.  Liz was interested in the medical field, with her eye on becoming a surgical assistant.  She felt that the Medical Assisting program at United would help her toward achieving that goal.

Her favorite part of attending United Career Institute is meeting new people, many of whom have turned into lifelong friends.  She also appreciates that the instructors are understanding and do their best to only move on to new material once they are certain a student has mastered current material.

Her favorite teacher is Kelli Workman who does an amazing job at teaching anatomy. “She makes sure that everyone understands it before she moves onto the next part of the chapter.”

After graduation, she hopes to work at J. W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.  Her five-year professional goal is to be a surgical technician at Ruby Memorial.  Her personal goal is to be married and living in Uniontown with her little family.

“I would love to refer a friend to United Career Institute because it is a wonderful place to go to and there is someone always there if you need help or just need someone to talk to. Everyone is very understanding, even when you are going through a rough time.”

To learn more about United’s medical programs, click here!

Amber Berdar – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is the first post-secondary school Amber Berdar has attended. Before coming to school here, Amber had just graduated from high school. She heard of the school during a job fair at California University of Pennsylvania, where she met our High School Admissions Representative, Meghan Murray.Amber Berdar-Student Highlight

Amber decided to become a medical assistant because she wanted to further her education in the medical field, growing from her current position as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She has always felt the need to help others and had the desire to work in the medical field.

She decided to start out as a medical assistant, because she believes in working from the bottom up. She wants to start with the basics so she will have a lot more knowledge and experience as she advances in the medical field.

Amber can’t pick a favorite part of attending United Career Institute. She has loved the whole experience, from meeting all the teachers to being able to learn so much from them. The school feels like a second home to her.

Amber has two favorite teachers, Kelli Workman and Rachel Osniak. She likes Kelli because she has taught her everything she needs to know when it comes to medical knowledge, and she likes Rachel because she taught her many things she can use after she graduates.

Her ideal job after graduation would be working somewhere in a lab, where she can perform phlebotomy all day, or somewhere in an ER setting.

In five years, Amber would love to have her dream job as a trauma nurse. She would also like to be living on her own and have a family.

Amber says she would definitely refer United Career Institute to a friend because this place is an amazing learning environment and everyone is so supportive here. She says you have the opportunity to make many new friends and many memories that will never be forgotten.