FirstPerson: How Education Helped Me Become Well-Rounded and Socially Conscious


By Odane Campbell, NEA Intern


While school is primarily an institution of learning, it can also be an enriching and fun place to meet new friends, gain new experiences, and find love. And the West Hartford, CT branch of American Institute (AI) has offered many of those occurrences for me.  American institute is a career training school, not unlike a traditional liberal arts college or university; except AI houses different learning facilities that offer areas of career interests where students can study courses like medical assisting, dental assisting, and medical billing and coding.

I currently attend AI, where I’m studying to become a medical assistant, because of my love for helping people. The Medical Assisting course I’m enrolled in teaches many different ways to help save lives. So far, students have learned how: to perform CPR, check patients’ blood pressure, weigh patients using a doctor’s scale, test urine samples, prick fingers for blood tests, interact with patients, and much more.

One of the most rewarding things we do is going out into the community to volunteer, offer our services, and show love. Recently in class, we not only helped raise money for a shelter in New Haven, to help feed homeless people, but ended up spending the day volunteering. Because service is one of American Institute’s core values, we plan to continue raising money and donating goods for those in need.

Students are often prompted to step outside their comfort zones, and sit next to someone they don’t know in class, and learn about them. This learning tool is essential in the medical field, where medical assistants often rotate and work at different medical facilities throughout their career, where they have to interact with new co-workers. It also encourages classroom comradery amongst the students.

The American Institute staff is very personable, passionate, and goes out of their way to make sure students have a productive and fruitful learning experience.

I, personally, could say I’ve learned a lot, and have become friends with some amazing people since coming to the U.S. from Jamaica four years ago. The group I socialize with now is an amazing and intelligent bunch, and I couldn’t ask for a better support system. Then there’s Ms. Nila Maulucci—an AI instructor and the Director of the Medical Assistant program I’m enrolled in. She’s a phenomenal teacher, very maternal, patient, helpful, kind, and excellent at what she does.  Ms. Maulucci also has an incredible sense of humor, which makes for a fun learning atmosphere… The brownies and pumpkin squares to bakes and brings to class also help!

Another phenomenal teacher is Ms. Martindale… a kind, well-dressed, and outgoing instructor that’s determined to make sure everyone grasps the information. Her door is always open to talk about anything, she brings delicious cookies to class, and she’s wonderfully supportive of our career goals.

There are so many wonderful people to tell about and experiences to recount at American Institute-West Hartford but, I’m proof positive that you can school can be a fun institution, while learning something. As long as you stay engaged and have a passion for the course work. There’s a quote that I love from motivational speaker, author, and Minister, Eric Thomas, which says, “If you want to be successful as bad as you want to breathe, you will be successful.”

Odanepic2Odane Campbell is a graduate of Weaver High School’s Journalism & Media Academy in Hartford. He is currently enrolled at American Institute-West Hartford, and has been a longtime intern at Northend Agent’s Newspaper.