Jennifer Mattox was a 4.0 student with perfect attendance who pursued an education in medical assisting at the Carrington College Phoenix North campus. That’s impressive enough, but when you learn that she is also the mom of two kids, a cancer survivor and battles with an auto-immune disease daily, it’s pretty clear Jennifer is an inspiration to her fellow classmates.
Life before Medical Assisting
At age 30, Jennifer was the typical stay-at-home mom of two kids under the age of three. That all changed when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She went through radiation, surgery and recovery, and got a clean bill of health. About six months later, Jennifer began developing symptoms that resembled Sjogren’s Syndrome. It took four years of signs, symptoms and trying to take care of her kids while battling a strong illness before she was officially diagnosed with Sjogren’s. Once she got her official diagnosis, Jennifer was ready to fight. She changed her diet, her exercise routine and was determined to live as normal of a life as possible for herself and her family.
Journey Back to School
Jennifer’s diagnosis of Sjogren’s disease led to a bunch of questions, especially since the disease has no determined cause or cure for the disease that affects four million Americans. White blood cells attack the individual’s moisture cells, causing fatigue, joint pain, and overall dryness. Jennifer’s heightened interest in medicine through her diagnosis led to a desire to be part of the medical industry. Six years after her diagnosis, Jennifer decided to completely change her life and she enrolled in the Medical Assisting program at Carrington College.
While preparing for a career as a medical assistant, Jennifer took classes while her kids were in school, allowing her to be full-time mom and a student. With classes that fit with her busy schedule as a mom, she was able to gain “hands-on” experience through training that uses the technologies and processes that are used in the field. Jennifer is excited about the possibility of going to medical school, becoming a physician’s assistant or starting a career as a medical assistant. The sky is the limit and the training to become a medical assistant was the perfect stepping stone for whatever comes next.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in medical assisting are expected to increase 23.5% between 2014 and 2024. Medical assisting students learn an skills like recording vital signs and conducting a variety of diagnostic tests such as EKGs, drawing blood, giving injections and removing sutures as directed by the physician, assisting with routine patient procedures and assisting physicians with in-office surgical procedures.
The everyday battle
Living with Sjogren’s can take a toll on everyday life, but Jennifer is determined to take charge of her life. As an active member of the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, Jennifer is in charge of planning an upcoming walk-about fundraiser at a local mall to raise money for the foundation. She also just completed a 10k race with her husband, raising more than $3,500. It is her passion and goal to raise awareness to protect the next generation. She’s ready to take on the world as a medical assistant, mom, philanthropist and fighter.
Jennifer’s motto in life? Just keep positive!
 For comprehensive consumer information, visit carrington.edu/cc/ma
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm (visited February 09, 2016).