Student makes a better life for her son through MoSTEMWINs

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Destinee Harris was working 15 hours a week as a custodian, making minimum wage when she found out she was pregnant.

She knew that to support her child, her life was going to have to change, so she enrolled at St. Louis Community College.

“Now that I have a baby on the way,” Destinee explained, “I have no other option. I have to find something I love, or I won’t stick with it.”

First she enrolled in the CNA program under MoHealthWINs, but then she had to drop out to have her baby. When she came back, she enrolled in the medical assistant program under MoSTEMWINs, but she still wasn’t out of the woods.

“I wanted to give up so bad because I had fallen so far behind,” Destinee said.

Between staying up late to complete her assignments or to take care of her new baby, it was a challenge for Destinee to keep up with her work at school.

“I remember calling Laurie, my advisor, and saying I can’t do this,” Destinee said. “I’m trying to handle my baby, and I’m trying to do my work. Most nights I would stay up until 2 to 3 o’clock in the morning just trying to do my assignments.”

With support from her peers, her instructor and her advisor Laurie Hawkins, Destinee was able to make it through. Her mom helped take care of her son Noah while she attended class and went to work.

Now Destinee is a valued member of the team at Washington University’s Medicine Multi-Specialty Center.

“I did things that I never thought I would do,” Destinee said. “I changed every negative into a positive, because I had to find a way to make it work.”

Destinee loves her job now, and the team that she works with, but most importantly, she knows that both she and her son Noah have a brighter future because of her new skills.