The mother of two already had an undergraduate communication degree from a college in Cameroon in Africa. But by entering the medical field, she knew she could make a difference for people like her uncle, who suffered from congenital heart disease in a village that lacked access to diagnostic imaging.
After taking the English placement test at HCC, Arlette enrolled in 2017 as a diagnostic medical sonography student.
“I was a mother and a housewife, so I started by taking only one class per semester,” she said.
A few years after she enrolled, Arlette divorced and ended up homeless and jobless. Still, she found courage in the face of adversity.
“I couldn't afford to pay for school and living expenses, and I didn't want to give up on my education,” she said. “I was living in a shelter, and I had no financial resources… but once you feel like losing all hope, you try harder.”
Looking for help, Arlette turned to HCC’s Career Links, which provides single parents and displaced homemakers with resources and programs to achieve their educational goals.
Career Links staff members worked with Arlette to help her build her credit score, pay off debt, and receive food and health care assistance. She has used the food pantry at HCC to supplement her food needs. She has received several scholarships to continue her studies, including the HCCEF Career Links Scholarship, the Kenneth Strobel Endowment, the McCuan Family Foundation Endowment, the Kahlert Foundation Career Links Scholarship and the Maxim Charitable Foundation Scholarship.
“HCC was a way out of my stressful life, and it was also the only chance for me to be financially independent one day,” Arlette said. “I knew it would take time, but I never gave up.”
Arlette’s long-term goal is to create a nonprofit organization that offers mobile ultrasound services and spreads awareness of the imaging technique’s benefits in less-developed countries.