Military wife put her needs last until she joined SJVC’s Medical Office program

by Nyla on August 25, 2015 · 9:00 am

Medical Office instructor Tawny Williams

Tawny’s grad-to-instructor experience gives her students a good look at what their career education can provide.

Tawny Williams is her family’s support system. Her military husband, Melvin, and their 14-year-old son, Melvin, depend on her to keep “all systems go” at home. “A military wife is one of the biggest honors in the world, but it is a selfless life,” says Tawny.

That busy life was rushing by. “By the time I turned around and looked at myself, I had to ask, ‘What are you doing for yourself, Tawny?'”

All options were on the table. “I knew my husband would totally support anything I wanted to do,” says Tawny, who tells of Melvin carrying her books home from school when she was just 12. And for years, her aunt Jackie encouraged Tawny to – like her – get into medical coding and billing.

“When somebody thinks about 20 times more of you than you think of yourself, it’s overwhelming and makes me feel like I can’t lose,” says Tawny.

One of her greatest back-to-school fans was her son Melvin. “I had been home with him for so long, and the guilt of leaving to go to school was so heavy,” says Tawny. “He said, ‘This is so great,’ and totally took the pressure off.”

She felt in her innermost being that this was the perfect time – her time – to feel that love and support.

“I got set up to go to school with the GI bill, and when Melvin was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, I started the Medical Office program at the Temecula campus,” she says.

Everything fell into place for Tawny. “It was such a great time in my life and I was ready to embrace everything this institution had to offer,” she says. “I love so much that it is fast-paced; and I think that is what prepared me to go out into the job field and be successful at it.”

Tawny made the Dean’s List, was Notable Newbie and kept a high GPA throughout her program.

Graduation was suddenly a reality. Tawny’s husband, son and aunt Jackie were there to see her walk across that stage and take the prize of their shared sacrifice.

Tawny put her new skills and knowledge to work immediately in a large company’s office. Realizing the business was about to be sold, she reached out via Facebook to Shannon Koh, Temecula’s Academic Dean. Before she knew it, Tawny was interviewing for an instructor position at the college.

“As soon as she emailed me, I was excited because she was a wonderful student and I was on the hunt for a Medical Office instructor,” says Shannon. “It was perfect timing.”

It has been just about three months since Tawny began her new and unexpected teaching position at SJVC. If she is shocked to be back on the campus that changed her life, she does not show it. Her greatest adjustment is going from rather isolated “book work” to a decidedly interactive role dedicated to engaging students.

“Going from a situation of working very independently to greeting people in hallways and asking them about their day is a foreign thing to me,” says Tawny. “Now I embrace it, and it fills an important gap for me spiritually, emotionally.”

“Tawny can really identify well with the student perspective,” says Shannon. “She works hard to support them in their first mod so that they are more excited than nervous each day.”

Tawny thrives in this unexpected turn in her career. “When I walk into the classroom, I have the freedom to deliver the absolute best that I can,” she says. “It’s all on me, and I love that. It refreshes me to start a new adventure every five weeks.”

It was a pretty smooth transition for Tawny to interact with her previous instructors as new colleagues. “They welcomed me like I’d been there the whole time,” she says. “It is a unique opportunity to have those who were cheering me on to get a degree, now accept me as a colleague. But, everybody (at home) still has their mouth open about that one,” she laughs.

Tawny believes that all of this came together in the perfection that was intended. “I’ve always had boundaries,” she says. “And now I have to open that door within myself to let people come in, and I go into their lives. I’m at a place in my life where I’m able to accept that challenge.”

It shows.

“I get up in the morning and ask God to let me know what to do,” attests Tawny. “Sometimes I have the reins and sometimes I just have to say, God’s got this.”



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Posted in Faculty Spotlights / Grad Success / Medical Office / Temecula