Alumni Spotlight: Guadalupe Calderon

Tell us more about yourself, your background and what brought you to CBD College.

Well, everyone calls me Gigi.  I came to the country when I was 7 years old; my parents are both immigrants.  They brought me here for a better life.  I’ve always wanted to help people, even as a little girl.  The medical field was the answer.  I researched a couple schools, but CBD was the one that caught my attention – amazing reviews, the area is nice.  When I spoke to Admissions, I knew this would be the perfect fit.  CBD College is non-profit, and the Medical Assisting Program actually includes the board exam.  Other schools charge you extra for that.  I love how neat and clean the building is.  When I spoke to Mrs. A, our program director, it all just seemed like everything I was looking for.

What was CBD like when you started?guadalupe calderon

I started in November of 2016.  When I first got here the environment was really friendly, I made a lot of good friends that I’m still in touch with.  The instructors were so sweet and so friendly, yet so knowledgeable.  I loved it.  The first day I got here she said, “You guys are going to poke each other with needles.”  I was freaking out!  I was also really excited and just said: “Yes, let’s do this.”  It was so hands-on.

Tell us about your current job.

I’m working in vascular surgery.  It’s really cool.  When I first got to the clinics, the surgeon was looking for medical assistants because he needed someone to be his personal assistant, but also scribe during the surgery.  I always pictured myself at a clinic, that’s where an MA usually works.  However, the surgeon liked the leadership and initiative I displayed.  He said he was going to give me one shot – one day that’s it.  Most people fear him because he’s an internationally known surgeon, he used to be chief of heart surgery at a hospital – he has quite the resume, so a lot of people are intimidated by him.  I saw this as a perfect opportunity.  I took the chance, and I loved it.  Surgery is completely different than working in a clinic because I’m literally in the operating room, assisting the nurse, the surgical techs, the surgeon and the patient.  It’s one on one with the patient.

What do you find most interesting about your job?

It’s interesting because time seems endless, but it also goes by so fast in the OR.  I love the adrenaline.  It’s there I realized I want to go back to school to be a surgical tech.   It just goes to show you, you think you’ll end up in one place, but you take a completely different route to get there.

The best part is definitely saving lives — the fact that we complete a surgery, and we know it was successful.  I mainly work in Vascular and many of the patients we get are older, many of them can’t work or can’t use their legs.  The feeling of knowing we helped them walk or open up their arteries and get to keep both of their legs is amazing.  Even when we’re tired from being up since 6:30 in the morning, and haven’t eaten all day and just need a break after a 12-hour day, it feels amazing because we saved someone’s life today.  I’m blessed that CBD placed me at this site.

What is your most memorable moment at CBD College?

Lab.  Lab was awesome.  Most schools are lecture only and books, but doing lab helped me meet my best friends Jamie and Byron. I made a lot of great friends in lab and we challenged each other.

Who/what is your biggest inspiration/influence?

Mother Theresa.  She was so selfless and lived just to help people.  It was a lonely journey for her, but she gave all of herself.  It wasn’t easy all the time, going to places where she wasn’t wanted or where people didn’t want her help.   She never gave up and that’s exactly what she did despite the obstacles.

What is your motto?

If you aren’t happy, do something about it.  And if you can’t do something about it, let God deal with it.  I feel like most people are so afraid of change, even though the situation they’re in is hindering them.  You only have one life to live, so live it.



For more information on the Medical Assistant program or to schedule a tour, call 213-247-2200 or click here!