Mountainland Technical College awarded the 2015 Student Of The Year Award to ShaNelle Stevenson. Stevenson is a graduate of the Medical Assistant Program. She is now working at Utah Valley Pediatrics where she completed her class externship. For students like Stevenson, education means a lot. It wasn’t simply a program that she wanted to do, it was one that is helping her fulfill her dreams. She said, “I’ve always dreamed of working in the medical field. I want to become a Registered Nurse.” But there were times in her life that it seemed that the dream was out of reach. ShaNelle had gone through a tough transitionary stage in her life. Raising her children by herself she knew that she needed to find a better way to provide for them. Stevenson had given birth to a beautiful new baby two months before she began the MTECH program. She said, “My parents helped a lot early on helping take care of my baby while I was at school.” MTECH was the perfect fit for her situation and her family. MTECH prides itself on being one of the most affordable higher education institutions in Utah. Stevenson said, “I looked around at various places, but none of them were as affordable or accommodating as MTECH.” She also noted that MTECH’s open entry/open exit style of teaching attracted her to the program. ShaNelle began the program in September of 2014 and finished March of 2015. In a program that students typically take around 10-11 months to complete, she finished it in just under seven months. She attributes her laser-like focus to her children and the motivation they are to her. She says, “I wanted a way to provide for my kids and give them a better life.” As part of the Medical Assistant Program, students are required to complete a 180 hour externship. This provides students with real-world experience and the ability to leverage their network for future employment. ShaNelle not only completed her externship, but she was also hired immediately after she finished it. She said, “I finished my 180th hour and my boss came up to me and said, ‘You are now on payroll’. I was so shocked, but so excited to have a job.” Not only was she employed, but she also gained a new family. She said, “When I was named Student of the Year they decorated the office and catered in food to celebrate.” Many people took notice of the hard work she put in to her education and skills. Shelly Curtis, her Instructor at MTECH said, “ShaNelle is the student every teacher wishes she has in class. As busy as she was as a mother, she came to class prepared to accomplish her goals for the day.” Her boss also recognized her skillset very quickly. ShaNelle was promoted to lead Medical Assistant within two weeks of being hired. She now works directly under a Nurse Practitioner. Stevenson said, “I am getting a great experience working and I hope to eventually continue my education and become a Registered Nurse.” MTECH wasn’t just an educational program, it was her springboard to a better life. ShaNelle will compete at the UCAT Student of the Year Gala in January. She will compete for a prize of over $3,000 in addition to the $1,000 she won for being the MTECH Student Of The Year. But most importantly, she is proud that she can support her two young boys and give them a better life. MTECH is proud to award the 2015 Student of the Year to ShaNelle Stevenson.