Shaun Hudson-Gilpin is a self-appointed Ambassador-at-Large for San Joaquin Valley College’s Lancaster campus. Once he discovered what a perfect fit the Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting program was for him, he made certain that others in his personal orbit explored their career destinies at SJVC, as well.
Shaun brought his buddy Marcos when he dropped in to check out medical programs at the campus. Admissions Advisor Crystal Molina asked him lots of questions to help him find his perfect career match.
“Crystal knows how to pick your brain so that she can direct you to the right path,” says Shaun.
Marcos was inspired to enroll that day, as well, but in the Criminal Justice program. “Marcos is excited about his program, and thanks me every day,” says Shaun.
At twenty-five Shaun had spent a few years trying out different jobs. It wasn’t until he lost his customer service job at a local bank that he put on the brakes and decided that he wasn’t going to get ahead without going back to school.
His brother, Michael had studied hard to become an Emergency Medical Technician, and his sister, Brianna was in community college taking all the prerequisites necessary to get into a nursing program.
“I had worked since I was out of high school and never had the time to go to college,” says Shaun. “But, now I had the free time and the opportunity to get a degree.”
Shaun threw himself into his education and found that his instincts for a medical career were spot on…with just one small area of concern.
“Drawing blood was hard for me in the beginning,” he says. “It’s a 5-week course and it took me 3-weeks to work up the courage and confidence to stick a needle in someone else’s arm. Now I feel like a vampire, always feeling for good veins,” he laughs.
His amazing progress was not lost on Brianna, who was still struggling to get the classes she needed. She decided that Shaun’s was a better and more direct route to a nursing career, so she soon followed suit at SJVC.
Since enrolling, Shaun has participated in every single orientation for new students. He assists with breakfast set-up, helps students to get settled, gives them information about programs and stands by for any testimonial input requested by SJVC presenters. Shaun has ‘sleeve’ tattoos and is occasionally asked to talk to students about how body art might be camouflaged for a work environment.
Shaun says that Campus Director, Joel Morgan has called out to him during orientation, “Shaun, come up here and model for us.” Shaun will show his tatts and explain about special detachable sleeves that athletes wear, which work well and are more comfortable in warm weather, than long-sleeved shirts.
Mainly, Shaun wants to make sure that these new students know they have found the right place to get their careers lined up. He wants them to know that they have found a home.
“A lot of the time you are in different classes with lots of the same people and you feed each others’ good energy,” says Shaun. It is family-oriented here. Students, staff, teachers; everyone gets close.”
Shaun doesn’t miss a chance to recruit more friends and family toward education and a better career path through SJVC.
His friend Zac didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. Shaun brought him in to see Crystal and as he promised Zac, she got to the heart of his natural talents and career fit. “Zac started the Business program in December and is in Academic Excellence, too,” says Shaun, who already has another friend lined up for the Industrial Tech program.
Shaun credits Crystal with providing the insight and support he and his friends have needed to pursue their educational and career success.
“Other college advisors are like, ‘welcome…goodbye’”, says Shaun. “She has tons of patience and empathizes very well. She’s there for us for the long-term.”
Shaun’s ultimate goal is to get a B.A. degree in nursing and eventual certification in anesthesiology.
“I know the things I want in life and where I want to be,” says Shaun. “I want to go to Russia for the World Cup – I’m a die-hard soccer fan. I will be at the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016. I want to be financially able to do pretty much whatever I like.”
We are happy to have helped ignite the fire for that future.