Career Development Specialist, IndianapolisLee-Ann

“In June, I will have been at Brightwood for three years. The short version of how I started working here was that I needed insurance. Before this, I was working with people with disabilities, so I switched industries completely but I’ve channeled everything I learned previously and applied it to this position.


As a Career Development Specialist, I prepare students for employment and help them find and secure jobs. I do a lot of work in the classroom on topics such as being professional, building a résumé, interviewing, etc. However, I also meet with the students one-on-one so they can practice and I can provide immediate feedback. I really want them to be successful and see them use what they train so hard for. They may not always interview well, but they definitely have the heart and skill. I also believe there is a job for everybody, so I try to marry the right graduate with the right employer.

“I really want them to be successful and see them use what they train so hard for.”

There is a lot of maturing and confidence building during our students’ schooling. It’s extremely rewarding to watch the evolution from when they first walk in to when they walk across the stage at graduation. Our student population is often non-traditional, they’re not fresh out of high school. They’re parenting, or they’re first generation. Because of this, I’ve seen their remarkable tenacity and resilience. I’ve learned more from my students than they’ll ever get from me.

I have one student who particularly sticks out. She’s currently in her final week of the Dental Assistant program and while at school, her mother entered hospice and passed away. Because of her mom, she never stopped going to school. She wanted her mom to see her finish — she didn’t get to — but she did it for her mom. I don’t know too many traditional college kids that could deal with that. At times, I felt that she and I were living parallel lives. I lost my husband last year, which was right around the time her mom got sick. Through the grief process, we became each other’s support systems. This is why after his death, I only took two or three days off because that’s what my students do. The love I got from my students is what kept me going.

“The love I got from my students is what kept me going.”

Another connection I have with my students was my own education. While working, I was able to finish my master’s this past January in higher education with an emphasis in student services. I now know what it is like to work and be a student! All the work and sacrifices I had to make to complete school are the same sacrifices they had to make.

Besides all my students, I also love my co-workers. I love walking around the school and catching up with various departments. I think keeping a community at school is so important because we are all in this together, and we all do love our students.

The main advice I tell them is that getting an education is one of the healthiest things you can do for your life. At times, it might be tough, but coming here is an investment that will pay off. No matter what, they have to show up and put on their seatbelts, because their life is going to change.”

We’re in this togetherRead More of Our Stories

Richard, Nashville“I’ve got to give my children something to look at so that they feel proud of me.”

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Rakeea, Nashville“I’m the first one to graduate high school and the first one trying to push through college in my family.”

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Miranda, San Antonio - San Pedro“I came here a year after high school. I wanted to start my career and establish myself.”

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Are you a Brightwood College student, graduate or staff member?We’d love to hear your story!

“I came to the United States searching for a future with my husband and two little boys. I wasn't sure how I was going to speak another language or where to start seaching for a job. I learned the language and got more confident about myself, but I felt like I was incomplete. I needed a career.”

Leslie, Laredo Graduate

“I know what it’s like to lose everything then work hard to make a good life for myself and my children. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s not who you are, it’s who you can become.”

Melody Ann, Hammond Student Finance Supervisor

“It has taken me three tries and three different schools to find a place that I enjoy and a career field I love.”

Anna, Friendswood Student

“I realized that college parties, the traditional classroom setting, and being far from home was not for me. I knew I wanted to continue with a career path that would help people and benefit society.”

Natalie, Indianapolis Student

“I help students take the leap every day. The difference is that I refuse to let them fall. I believe in their success!”

Latanya, CharlotteAdmissions Representative

“I make it my mission to create a campus culture of family and a sense of belonging. We know our students' names, we know their stories, we know what makes them smile. We listen to our students, and we recognize them for changing their life and making it happen!”

Shaheen, Fort Worth Staff Member

“I chose the medical field because I want to be able to help people. You have to have a good heart and a lot of patience to work in this field.”

Monica, CharlotteStudent

“I needed to do something hands-on and slightly behind the scenes. So I chose pharmacy technician. The job I am doing is a perfect fit for me.”

Bright, San Antonio - San Pedro Graduate

“As a first-generation American, first-generation college graduate, and having been a young parent, I am motivated to help my students, many of whom share a similar life experience.”

Alex, Chula Vista Campus President

“Technology has always interested me, as well as taking things apart and putting them back together.”

Cory, El Paso Instructor

“I enjoy watching students evolve and become responsible, hard-working individuals.”

Kendra, Fort WorthStudent Finance Support Specialist

“If I can’t be in the Marine Corps anymore and protecting my country, I might as well be protecting people from something else — bad teeth!”

Audrey, Vista Student

“No matter how hard my circumstances were, I never gave up.”

Taviona, Riverside Graduate

“My parents are both immigrants. Being the first in my family to go to college has made my parents proud.”

Leonor, Vista Student

“I chose the Medical Assistant program because I love to help people move forward.”

Rosetta, Fort Worth Student

“My proudest moment was the first day I walked into class and found my place in life.”

Catherine, Fort Worth Student

“Always follow your dreams even if it seems as if you could never accomplish them. Nothing is impossible!”

Gisselle, Las Vegas Student

“Having three small children hasn't always been easy, but striving to make sure they are secure is what drives me.”

Audreyona, IndianapolisStudent

“My kids and my grandkids motivate me. I want them to be able to know, no matter your age or situation, never give up on your dreams.”

Yvonne, Dayton Student

“I have worked in Career Development for over five years and still have the same passion for helping our students as I did on day one. Improving the outlook of someone's life motivates me.”

Athenai, Fort Worth Staff Member

“I was afraid because I have been out of school for a very long time and was doubting myself, but I knew I needed to go back to school.”

Kimberly, Indianapolis Student

“My children are my world, and I want them to see their mom as a successful person.”

Guadalupe, Modesto Student

“I always wanted to go back to school but it seemed impossible working full-time and taking care of four children. My kids are the reason I chose this field. They have a lot of problems with their teeth, and after so many treatments, I found out this career is very interesting.”

Mirla, Indianapolis Student

“You have to believe in yourself and believe that you are worth it every step of the way.”

Stephanie, Fort WorthInstructor

“Students motivate me every day. A chance to speak to them and show them that they do have a chance is extremely rewarding to me.”

Elizabeth, Fort WorthStudent Finance Support Specialist

“The proudest moment of my life was when I had my first interview and they offered me the job. I am happy with the place, and I love my job!”

Mariana, Charlotte Graduate

“How can I make a difference today? That’s my daily question. Coming from circumstances that shaped me into who I am today, I want to give back in a way most of us truly need.”

Kimberly, Fort WorthCareer Development Specialist

“I proved to myself that obstacles do come your way, but when you have your mind set on what you want you will achieve it. I’m now a dental assistant!”

Paula, Corpus Christi Graduate

“I have always been in love with the dental field.”

Tyshawna, Indianapolis Student

“I loved my careeer in healthcare. Now I love passing on the knowledge and real-world experiences to my students.”

Margie, Fort Worth Instructor

“My children motivate me. Their father died when they were 7 and 11. Now I must provide a life for them on my own.”

Rachel, Dayton Graduate

“No matter what may ever happen to you in life, you can pull yourself out.”

Brittany, NashvilleStudent

“I endeavor to remind students that life will happen with or without your personal satisfaction. Do something worthwhile. Do something you love.”

Terra, Fort Worth Dean

“I am motivated by my students who are enrolled to make a better life for themselves and their families. It motivates me watching them overcome many life obstacles and cross that finish line and graduate. The strength of my students is amazing!”

Marianne, Fort Worth Staff Member

“My motivation comes from seeing my students succeed.”

Pamela, HammondSenior Admissions Representative

“No matter what difficulties you face in life there is always hope. Tomorrow is another day with new opportunities. Love life, love people, love yourself. You are worth it.”

Amber, Modesto Student

“I get to help students take that next step and push themselves to be more than they thought they could.”

Joe, El Paso Career Development Specialist

“My daughter motivates me every single day. I want the best future for her. I want to show her anything is possible and to go after your goals.”

Jazmine, Fort Worth Student