Rene Hernandez posing with his family in concourse after graduating.

Graduate thankful for Glen Oaks Tutoring Center

When 160 graduates at Glen Oaks Community College happily received their diplomas at the end of April commencement, one face seemed to beam more brightly than others. For Rene Hernandez the road to a college degree and a new career in an exciting medical profession has been a long and difficult journey.

Hernandez, a 45-year-old LaGrange father of two, took a look at his life several years before he lost his factory job. His only other work experience in 20 years in the United States was back breaking field jobs picking area crops. He knew education would be his key to a solid future.

“I decided I wanted to make a better life for my family and be an example for my two daughters,” Hernandez explained. So he attended Sturgis Public Schools Adult Education classes each night after work. He did his homework early in the morning or during work breaks to gain a high school degree. When the plant closed and his factory job came to an end, Hernandez told Maria, his wife, he would continue his education at Glen Oaks Community College.

Hernandez enjoys helping people so the medical field was an obvious career choice. “I began taking classes leading to the Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health Degree and the Medical Assistant Certificate,” he explained.

Studying for college level classes was difficult for the Mexico City native. Like many students at Glen Oaks he turned to the Tutoring and Testing Center on campus for free assistance. “Some classes like Medical Terminology were really tough, but then I guess it was sort of a foreign language for all the students,” he laughed.

Fellow student and peer tutor Zakiyyah Campbell of Three Rivers assisted Rene with a Business Communications course. “I found Rene to be a good listener. He was always on time and ready with questions. He was easy to tutor,” she said.

Rene Hernandez studying with Zakiyyah Campbell, a TTC tutor.
Rene is shown studying in the Tutoring and Testing Center with Zakiyyah Campbell, a Three Rivers student who was among the center’s trained assistants.

Brenda Luczek, Allied Health and Medical Assistant Program Chair, said, “Rene is an extremely dedicated student who put forth incredible efforts to achieve success in the MA/ALH Associate Degree programs. His efforts are remarkable!”

Marlene Livingston, an Allied Health instructor echoed Luczek, “I had Rene in several clinical classes within the medical assistant program. I am so proud of him. He worked very hard and was liked by all his classmates. He added humor to the classes.”

Hernandez explained, “The tutoring center became my ‘office’ on campus. I enjoyed the friendship I found in the TTC. I learned so much about taking notes, reading tips, study methods, managing my time, how best to take exams, and assistance from fellow students. Coming to the TTC the past few years really helped me. I would recommend the Center to anyone who needs help with understanding course work and with studying.”

The required Medical Assistant Internship he completed at Colon Medical Center only confirmed Hernandez choice of a profession. Now he is seeking a job as a medical assistant with the credentials and professional training earned through his hard work. “I feel confident that I will succeed. Best of all, I was an example for my daughters. I want to see them gain a good education too,” said Hernandez.