For UNLV Medical Student Marvi Moreno, the Road to Success Includes Six Years of Learning—and Teaching—at Carrington
What a difference 10 years can make.
When Marvi Moreno moved to the United States from the Philippines in 2010, he was an anxious 17-year college student with big dreams—but no idea what his future in America might hold.
“All I knew about the U.S. was what I saw on television and what my father told me,” Moreno recalls. “He moved to Las Vegas when I was just a year old, and I only saw him one month every year. Our family’s dream was always to reunite and live together in America, but our first immigration application was rejected. Ten years ago, it happened. One day I was finishing my first year of pre-med, the next I was packing my suitcase. Life as I knew it changed almost overnight.”
Not all the changes were easy. For a teenager who lived a very comfortable life in the Philippines—complete with a maid—the financial struggles and culture shock he and his family first experienced were jarring. When Moreno arrived in the United States, he lived with his father, mother, and sister in one bedroom at his grandparents Las Vegas home. The family lived on his father’s earnings as an airport luggage cart collector.
Within a month, Moreno was working two part-time jobs—one as a JCPenney sales associate, and the other doing clerical work. When a family friend who knew of his ambition to work in the medical field mentioned that Carrington College was launching a new Physical Therapist Assistant program, Moreno decided to apply. Two years later, he graduated as cohort valedictorian of the PTA program’s inaugural class.
“The PTA program seemed like a great way to get started quickly in the healthcare profession,” Moreno says. “Within 24 months, I had my degree, passed the national exam, and was working with patients.”
While working as a Physical Therapist Assistant in a variety of settings—a private practice, a skilled nursing facility, a home health care agency, and a hospital—Moreno completed his BA in Technical Management, with a major in Healthcare Services, from DeVry University, graduating summa cum laude. In 2016, he returned to Carrington as an Adjunct Instructor, teaching some of the same classes he took as a student just six years earlier.
“At Carrington, I studied alongside—and later taught—a lot of people who overcame adversity just to be in the classroom,” says Moreno. “I have so much respect for underdogs because I’m one of them. I’m the first person in my family to attend college. Some students return to school because they want a career instead of a job, and have to juggle working full time with going to school and raising a family. Others struggle with financial pressure or self-doubt. What each of them taught me is that investing in yourself is always a good idea and it’s never too late to take your shot.”
That’s exactly what Moreno, who now lives in Henderson, continues to do. Even though he loves teaching and caring for patients as a Physical Therapist Assistant, he recently stopped doing both to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. Last week, Moreno began medical school at University of Nevada-Las Vegas—on a full tuition scholarship.
“As much as I enjoy teaching, I still have a lot more learning to do,” says Moreno. “Being at Carrington for six years—two as a student and four as a teacher—inspired me every day. Carrington attracts so many committed, high-energy people, both as students and as faculty. The people I’ve met here have constantly reminded me that anything is possible if you make a plan and are willing to work toward achieving it.”
Moreno, who plans to specialize in emergency medicine, says attending medical school in Las Vegas feels like hitting the jackpot.
“Las Vegas is a real melting pot, so it was a great place to land because I never felt different or unusual or afraid,” he explains. “I think I might have felt more self-conscious or intimidated in a different city, but the ten years I’ve lived here have really been amazing. From the minute we moved here, I knew I’d have opportunities I could never have in the Philippines. My job has been to put in the hard work to make those dreams come true, and that’s what I’ll continue doing for the next four years. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it!”