Student Stories

Penny HansenPenny Hansen

Medical Assistant graduate
Certified Medical Assistant, Cardiology department, St. Charles Health System

"I was a medical assistant while working at a local ophthalmology clinic but wasn’t certified and really wanted to be. At COCC I gave my instructors a challenge because I thought I knew it all — I soon realized I was wrong! The class was well organized and thought out. Our instructors were monumental, always available for help. Once I realized this, and buckled down, I learned so much. My husband has had multiple strokes and I wanted to learn more about how to help him and take care of him. This program allowed me to learn more. The moment I knew I was ready for my new role was when I finally understood the math…and everything else started falling into place. I am currently working in the heart and lung center at St. Charles in the cardiology department. I’m absolutely loving my position."

Student Success StoryLucy Lawrence

Medical Assistant graduate
Certified Medical Assistant, St. Charles Health System

Being a medical assistant opens doors to many health-focused career possibilities. Program graduate Lucy Lawrence was recently accepted into medical school and is hoping to funnel that foundational experience into becoming a physician.

"It's a great steppingstone to more advanced careers, such as nursing, physician’s assistant, or physician," shares Lawrence, who works as an MA for St. Charles Health System’s clinic in La Pine. "I hope to serve as a physician in a small town or rural community in Oregon."

"My instructors ensured I had the skills and knowledge to succeed in the field and provide high-quality care to my patients."

A nontraditional student, Lawrence earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Pacific University before coming to COCC, where she now serves as a part-time MA instructional assistant. The program, she says, has offered her a meaningful career while she seeks to continue her education.

"I go to the clinic every day, knowing that the work I do has a positive impact by improving the health of both individuals and the greater community, which is incredibly rewarding," she says. "As a medical assistant, there are endless opportunities in both direct patient care and administrative settings, depending on your interests and where your passion lies."

At COCC, she found the career restart she was looking for. "I can confidently say that the COCC Medical Assistant instructors are second to none in their knowledge, real-world experience, professionalism, and the degree of support they offer to their students. My instructors ensured I had the skills and knowledge to succeed in the field and provide high-quality care to my patients."