It was through attending Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast’s (OSTC-NE) Health Sciences classes that recent International Technology Academy (ITA) graduate Emily Castaneda-Espinoz learned that a job in the health care industry “is not just a job, but a place where the smallest actions can make a difference in a person’s life.”
As part of the classes and in order to become a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Emily worked at a nursing home, where she was able to experience firsthand what the job actually entails.
“I felt like I was actually making an impact,” Emily said of the experience.
That was during the 2020-2021 school year. Fast forward a couple of months later, and Emily is one of 15 seniors in the Health Sciences program at OSTC-NE.
According to Paul Galbenski, dean of OSTC-NE, the CNA program requires 95 hours of training and encompasses 52 skills to be completed at 100% proficiency, as well as exam scores at 80% or higher, along with 32 hours of clinicals at a nursing home.
In June, Emily took the state certification exam and passed. She is just recently out of high school and already possesses a CNA certificate. Additionally, Emily now finds herself as a freshman on the campus of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor aiming to major in a health-related field. She earned the Go Blue Guarantee from the University of Michigan, which covers tuition for four years.
“Despite not knowing the exact career path I want to take, I do know that I will work in the health field. There are so many choices,” said Emily. “Health science seems to be a great fit for me. When I was around 6 years old I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, so I kind of grew up in hospitals. I would always go, get blood drawn, take tests. It felt inspiring to be around so many people who cared about me and my health and I want to do something similar.”
Jenna Doyle, RN, BSN, Med and Health Science instructor at OSTC-NE, isn’t surprised by Emily’s success.
“Emily is a natural leader who genuinely uplifts those she encounters,” said Doyle. “She is always the first student to offer help to classmates and embodies the characteristics of a born caregiver.”
Emily, for one, is happy she made the choice to go to gain new skills at OSTC.
“I went to OSTC for two years and it opened up many opportunities I never would have received otherwise,” said Emily. “My teachers were both amazing and I learned something new every day.”