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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Student Overcomes Language Barrier to Succeed

January 13, 2013

Maryna Roy - Medical Assistant Student at SJVCMaryna Roy came to the U.S. in 2010 from the Ukraine where she met and married her husband Michael who, as a member of the Army National Guard, was there with army buddies in 2009 on a break from their tour in Iraq.

Maryna had earned a Master’s Degree in Management of Organization and worked as an Office Manager for several years. But she wanted additional education so she could combine her office administration experience with hands-on patient care. The problem: she knew her limited English language proficiency could make the classroom experience very difficult.

“I knew I needed to keep up with other students, especially in English language classes,” says Maryna. “I had no choice, so I did extra reading and writing until it got easier and easier.” Medical terminology was especially difficult to master, but she was determined to overcome any language barriers.

Her inspiration was her teacher, Sujanalatha De Almeida, who also came to the U.S. from another country. All along the way her teacher and mentor encouraged her and gave her confidence in herself. “She would tell me, ‘You’re doing great, you’re awesome, you’re smart,’” she says.

Maryna is appreciative of all the support she got from her teachers and advisors. Mrs. De Almeida feels that Maryna is a source of inspiration to other students, as well. “I was impressed by Maryna’s dedication to her education,” she says. “She went through some challenging times, but never gave up.”

One of those challenges was Maryna’s fear of needles. She dreaded performing a venipuncture and was greatly relieved when her first attempt was successful. “It made me feel that it’s the right place for me; a really good feeling,” she says.

Maryna still made time for community volunteer work, including Hats for Hope, Visalia Rescue Mission events, Kid’s Day, Tulare County College Night and Constitution Day, while continuing educational opportunities such as Preconception Peer Educator Training (CSUF) and medical educational seminars.

Maryna gives full credit to Michael, who has supported her throughout her return to college.

“He let me go to school and I didn’t have to go to work, so there was no excuse for me to be a bad student,” she says. Although Maryna has had to leave her family behind, she feels as though Michael’s family welcomed her like a daughter. “His family became my family,” she says. And, somewhere, she knows her parents and younger sister are feeling some pride in her success, as well.

Maryna just got the news that her extern site wants her to come to work as a Medical Assistant after she graduates. She is on her way and loving all of it.

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