Shannon McClain – Student Highlight

Like many students before her, Shannon McClain attended a local community college before coming to United Career Institute. When asked what made United different than her previous school, Shannon said, “the staff at UCI are friendly and, all the classes are relevant.” United has six-week modules, this allows classes to go by quickly while ensuring that all the information they learn applies to the workplace.

When asked why she chose medical assisting, Shannon said, “I have a passion for helping others.” Her mom is also a medical assistant and an alumna of our Mount Braddock campus, so Shannon has a good understanding of the profession. 

Shannon’s favorite class in the program has been Anatomy and Physiology because she, “loves learning the body and body systems.” Anatomy and Physiology provide United students with a great understanding of how the body works and various diseases and disorders they will see while working as a medical assistant.

Five years from now, Shannon sees herself as a graduate of United Career Institute, owning her own home, working in a cancer center, and “striving to be the best she can be at 25!”

To learn more about United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program, request information here!

Brandon Hegland – Student Highlight

People always dream of studying abroad, which is exactly what United Career Institute  Practical Nursing student Brandon Hegland was able to do. His studies led him to South America, and upon his return to the United States, he attended Mutual Aid’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program.  Though the training was rigorous, Brandon said it was an “amazing training experience.”

That rigorous training helped to prepare him for what to expect from United’s fast-track Practical Nursing program.  When asked about why he chose United, Brandon credited his sister, a graduate of our Mount Braddock campus, as his “inspiration for becoming a nurse.”

Brandon enjoys the small class sizes and the individualized instruction provided by his instructors. When asked who his favorite instructor was, he said Tina because “she really does know the material she teaches and is more than willing to present the material in different ways so that all her students can comprehend the lectures.”

Clinical experiences are Brandon’s favorite as they help put students in the industry and showcase their skills and work collaboratively with other nurses and patients.  Brandon says clinical allows him to “put all the skills learned into good use.” Clinical experiences have also presented the opportunity for Brandon to reflect on how much he has grown as a practical nurse.

When asked about his ideal job, Brandon didn’t have a specific organization or area in mind, but he does want to be somewhere where he can see the difference he makes in someone’s life.  In his time here at United, this comes as no surprise since Brandon can always be found conversing with his peers and the faculty and staff of United Career Institute with a smile on his face. Five years from now, Brandon sees himself being successful and back to traveling abroad while still keeping in touch with his fellow classmates, particularly Jodi.

To learn more about United’s fast-track Practical Nursing program, request information here!

Stacey Davis – Staff Highlight

“Being in control of your own motivation and happiness is a great feeling!” Those are the words of the newest team member of United Career Institute Irwin’s Campus, Stacy Davis. “I like to motivate myself, and that can be very rewarding.” Stacey’s path to joining our team may not have been a traditional one. She graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Marketing and put that education to use by moving to New York City, where she was a fashion blogger and involved with social media marketing. She recalls that move as one of her proudest moments, and says “I moved to NYC on a whim, and it was terrifying! But I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it, and it was an experience that I will never forget!”

Upon returning to the area, Stacey worked in the restaurant industry and recently managed a wedding venue as a wedding coordinator. She relates that experience to why she originally applied for Front Desk/Registrar at UCI-Irwin. “I like seeing and helping people when they are happy and pursuing their dreams. That certainly is the case as they plan for their wedding, and I believe that is the case for students beginning their path to reach their career goals.” She says she chose to work at UCI because she liked the atmosphere from the very beginning, and she made her final decision based on her favorite thing so far, the people. “Everyone has been so nice and welcoming; it’s like an extended family.” Stacey sees herself as a creature of comfort and would love to have a long career at UCI. She believes her attention to detail and organizational skills will help her tremendously in her role.

To say Stacey might be a little bit of a cat person is an understatement. Stacey and her husband once decided to foster a group of kittens for the local animal rescue shelter. “Our guest bedroom quickly turned into a kitten sanctuary until they were able to be adopted out. It was really wonderful for us, even though my cats didn’t particularly like all the extra house guests.”

So far, Stacey’s Type A personality has been a great fit for our school and our students, and she has been a quick study on the responsibilities of her position. Join me in welcoming Stacey to the United Career Institute Irwin’s family and being a super addition to our team!

Martina Mullen – Student Highlight

Martina Mullen has been a student at United Career Institute’s Irwin campus since January 2020. She is currently enrolled in the Medical Assisting program. She chose Medical Assisting because she knew she wanted to go into the medical field, but wasn’t sure which direction to start in. On top of nearly perfect attendance since the beginning, Martina has also made the school’s President’s list by holding a 4.0 GPA for the first term of her program.

Martina Mullen - Student Highlight

Martina tried a different post-secondary school before, but it just wasn’t for her. She felt like her professor made the class rushed and that it was just a waste of her own time and money. “My favorite part about attending United would be the class schedule and how each class is set up. I don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed with work,” said Martina.

Just like many of our other students, Martina likes the smaller class sizes. “I chose United because I loved that it was small and that I knew if I needed it, I could get one on one help. I also love how everyone is so welcoming and supportive.” Her favorite instructor so far has been Kelly Shriver. She likes that Kelly pushes her to do her best and tries to make everything positive! Martina said, “I like how she doesn’t look at herself as an instructor. She also talks to us about our personal lives.” Her favorite class so far has been Student Success Strategies. She liked that the class helped the students open up and get to know one another. It also helped her to realize the habits she has, good and bad, for both school and life.

Eventually, Martina wants to go to school for Nursing. After she graduates, she hopes to work at either Children’s Hospital or in a doctor’s office. Down the road she hopes to have her student loans paid off, have her own place, and happy with whatever job she gets. She just really wants to help people!

To learn more about United’s medical classes and student services, request information here!

The Value of Externships

The Value of Externships

A key component of all United Career Institute medical programs is an externship with local employers. It provides a real world aspect to the program and gives students valuable hands-on experience that enhances the skills they learn in the classroom. Externships also provide students a great opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals in their chosen field and get a good idea of the culture of a given employer. Whether it is a 2 week externship in the Phlebotomy program, or a 12 week externship in the Medical Assisting program, we encourage our students to look at their time during externships at a job interview of sorts. Often times, employers use this time as an opportunity to evaluate both clinical and soft skills and how a potential employee may fit in with the company long term.

While UCI students are on their externship, they obtain career-focused experience such as checking vital signs, point of care testing, specimen collection, phlebotomy, and sterilization procedures.

These valuable externships would not be possible without the support of local employers. United Career Institute Irwin is so thankful that our local employers like Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, and Premier Medical Associates have provided the opportunities for our students to complete this on the job training.

Leah Judge – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Medical Assisting student, Leah Judge, has always had dreams of working in the medical field. “I enjoy my job waitressing at a great restaurant in Greensburg, but my passion for the medical field kept picking at my brain. It just so happened that I was talking with a customer who ran a local school and he invited me and my mother down to see it, and it was exactly what I was looking for.” United Career Institute gave Leah the opportunity to pursue her dream. Leah loves helping people, and United’s Medical Assisting program gives her the opportunity to do just that. She is an awesome addition to our student body!

Leah Judge-Student Highlight

Leah tried the traditional route of attending the local community college, but that was not her idea of learning. The campus was too large, the classes made her feel like just another number, and individual help was never available. She also disliked the idea of having to take a lot of general education courses to reach her goal.

Leah’s favorite class so far has been Medical Terminology I because she likes learning all the new concepts. Her favorite instructor, Kelly Shriver, breaks down the learning material so it’s easier to understand. After graduation, Leah sees herself working in a specialty office, possibly specializing in dermatology. Five years from now, Leah wants to be well into her career and maybe even have her boyfriend become her husband.

Leah says she wouldn’t hesitate for a second recommending United Career Institute to anyone else because it provided her everything she hoped and dreamed of in a school. Leah has the distinction of being the very first student to enroll at UCI Irwin, and we can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes on her journey toward a medical career!