Erika Torres

Accounts Receivable and Corrections Clerk

Name: Erika Torres

Employer: United Petroleum Transports

Accounts Receivable and Corrections Clerk Values Learning

Erika Torres had a job she enjoyed, but wanted to develop some additional work skills. She was drawn to Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City because of the flexible class options and one-course-a-month format.

“I found I could learn at a better pace by focusing on one subject at a time,” she says. ”It was very personal, with small sized classes that allowed me to get to know my peers and instructors.”

Erika worked full-time and cared for her two children on her own while she earned her degree. “Finding the motivation to wake up and go to school was hard, but it was totally worth it,” she says. She graduated from Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City in 2015, feeling good about achieving her goal of earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Accounting Technology.

She applies her new knowledge in her position of accounts receivable and corrections clerk at United Petroleum Transports in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “I didn’t really enjoy math in high school, but accounting math is different,” she says. “It is more enjoyable. I like creating spreadsheets and researching payments.”

Erika works with clients to ensure payments are submitted in a timely manner. “Every day I check customer accounts, post payments that are due, and send out invoices and statements,” says Erika. “My education has helped me become better in my position, with more highly developed critical thinking and communication skills.”

Erika appreciates the support she found among her peers, advisors, and instructors at Brown Mackie College – Oklahoma City. “Everyone was very concerned about my future,” she says. “Instructors were always available to help through emails, phone calls, and even tutoring.”

Now more confident in her own work, Erika finds herself better equipped to professionally navigate through difficult situations and build relationships with different types of people. “Earning my degree even helped me learn how to manage my own personal finances better,” she says.

She advises other students to be persistent, especially when you feel like quitting. “Find a peer to help you stay motivated,” she says. Now that Erika has knowledge of finances and taxes, she contemplates returning to school for cosmetology. “I would love to own a beauty salon and take care of the finances and taxes of my own business,” she says.

Licensed by the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools.

Jenny Brown

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Name: Jenny Brown

Employer: Mid America Rehabilitation Hospital & Delmar Gardens of Lenexa

Navy Veteran Helping Patients Live Independently

Jenny Lea Brown turned down a college scholarship and opted to serve her country when she graduated from high school. “I wanted an adventure and found that I had many [adventures] during the four years I served in the U.S. Navy,” she says. She rose to the rank of an E5 Information Systems Technician, Petty Officer Second Class, before returning to civilian life.

She joined the workforce, trying many different fields. “I worked in makeup artistry, the funeral industry, customer service, and as a bartender,” Jenny says. “After turning 30, I finally realized that I was just drifting and I needed something more substantial in my life.” Looking back over her job choices, Jenny saw a common thread. “However eclectic the job, I was helping others in one way or another,” she says. She began a research blitz, examining career options.

“I stumbled upon occupational therapy, and found so much compelling information; I thought this might be something I could be naturally good at, and do for the rest of my working life,” says Jenny. She focused on creating her own career path. While researching schools, Brown Mackie College repeatedly came up. “They didn't have a branch in Las Vegas, where I lived at the time, but I was already thinking I needed a big change and would be willing to relocate,” Jenny says.

After her initial inquiry, Jenny received a call from a Brown Mackie College representative, who put her in touch with the Kansas City location. She liked what she heard. “I just had a good feeling about it.,” says Jenny. She packed up her home and relocated to Kansas.

Before 2014 ended, Jenny graduated from Brown Mackie College – Kansas City, earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant. She passed the credentialing exam and today works as a certified occupational therapy assistant. She found employment at Mid America Rehabilitation Hospital & Delmar Gardens of Lenexa, with locations in Leawood and Lenexa, Kansas. “I help patients gain the strength, endurance, and skills to maximize independence in activities of daily living,” she says.

“I help patients focus on improving fine motor skills and areas of self-care, including safe transfers in living and bath areas. I also educate patients and their families regarding discharge and home safety,” Jenny says. “The thing I like most  is being there every step of the way, seeing the patient grow stronger and gain the confidence needed to go home and resume life after a turbulent event, be it a stroke, or a planned procedure.”

Jenny works with patients in the facility’s household settings and in a gym. She is knowledgeable and skilled at helping them learn adaptive techniques and develop strength, endurance, balance, fine/gross motor skills.

“I am most proud of my abilities to empathize naturally and gain the trust of my patients. I find that I know very quickly what they need from me to succeed, be it a gentle or more assertive push, or sometimes just someone to listen,” she continues. “Sometimes it is difficult for me to separate my emotions from my work. I tend to take things to heart and sometimes take work home with me. It has also been challenging to face the more severe conditions, and the emotions that come with them. With direct supervision and support of my peers on staff, I am gaining more confidence in this area.”

Jenny attends as many continuing education unit (CEU) classes to learn as much as possible about her work. “I am interested in being knowledgeable in all aspects of occupation therapy assisting, but also in following my heart toward the specific area that calls to me. At Mid America, I have been especially interested in learning more about our new amputee program, and attaining more knowledge of prostheses,” says Jenny.

Jenny encourages others to follow their heart. “I traveled a very long road before arriving in this field,” she says. “I have learned that a goal without a plan is just a wish," says Jenny. “Set goals for yourself, and make a plan to achieve them. Make time to study and do not be afraid to ask questions!”

Brown Mackie College – Kansas City is one of over 25 schools throughout North America.  Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Brown Mackie College – Kansas City, 9705 Lenexa Drive, Lenexa, KS 66215 © 2015 Brown Mackie College. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@brownmackie.edu.

See ge.brownmackie.edu/programoffering/2112 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Brown Mackie College – Kansas City is approved and authorized to grant the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and diplomas by the Kansas Board of Regents, 1000 SW Jackson Street, Suite 520, Topeka, KS 66612-1368.