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Carrington College Blog

Honoring Raina Hegwood-Kenney for her Commitment to Excellence

October 31, 2012

Raina Hegwood-KenneyWe are delighted to announce that Raina Hegwood-Kenney is the recipient of the 2012 Carrington College California ‘Commitment to Teaching Excellence’ award for Medical Support. Raina is a Health Care Administration program instructor at our Pleasant Hill campus, but she will soon be transitioning to the Medical Assisting program.

Raina is a Carrington College California graduate and a Certified Medical Assistant. This is Raina’s first teaching job, and she has been with us for a year. She was nominated for this award by La Shawn Wells, Executive Director of our Pleasant Hill campus.

La Shawn, why did you feel Raina was deserving of this award?

“Raina has not been with us long, but in addition to her instructor responsibilities and the care and commitment she shows for her students every day, Raina has also taken on the practicum coordinator responsibilities for our medical assisting students. She is a highly valued part of the team.”

Congratulations Raina, how does it feel to win an award like this?

“I was pretty surprised by it, there are a lot of great instructors at our school. To be honest, the first thing I thought of was how excited I was to tell my 6 year old! Anything that closely resembles a trophy is the best thing in the world to him; he was really excited and so happy for me! I know my students appreciate me, but it’s really good to know that there are people here who recognize what I do.”

Having worked as a medical assistant for six years, what made you want to teach?

“I absolutely loved working at the urgent care clinic, but I have two small kids, aged 6 and 3, and I never got to see them. My instructor here back in 2005 was Rebecca Burford; she’s now the Program Director for Medical Assisting and Health Care Administration and she approached me to tell me that this position was available. Rebecca was an inspiration to me when I was a student; she was very relatable and really, really cared about everyone in her class. It seemed like the right fit for me, and I could spend more time with my kids; they’re at the age where I’m teaching them too, so it all felt right. ”

Has there been a moment in the last year when you knew that teaching was the career for you?

“I think it was my first graduation ceremony back in June. When the students who came in with me a year ago graduated, that was when I knew I had made the right decision. I didn’t expect it, but I did cry a little!”

What drives you forward every day to teach?

“It’s the students. You grow these bonds with them, and you really care about them and want them to succeed. Every day I want to come and do my best to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed. I’m always here for my students… and graduates.

I’ve already had a couple of graduates come back in for a little extra tutoring on a Friday when I don’t have classes. Just to go through a couple of things that had come up on the job. I hope to keep up relationships with my students after they leave.”

This award recognizes your own excellence; what values do you think an instructor needs to excel?

“They need to be caring, they need to be a team player. And they need to be down to earth – students respond better when you speak to them on their level, rather than talking down to them. They also need to make sure that everything they teach is seen to be relevant.

By that I mean I try to make sure that everything I teach relates back to what they’ll be doing in the field. That way they understand a little better why they need to learn these things; if I didn’t do it that way, then I think they would just be trying to memorize medical terms, which wouldn’t really help them.”

What do you do to engage your students in their own learning?

“I try to do a lot of things to help them develop their critical thinking, professional, and communication skills; we have peer group discussions, case studies and presentations. I have them make presentations as if they are dealing with patients. Our students will often go on to become the face of an office – greeting patients, answering the phones, checking patients in – so they have to be able to be professional and good communicators.”

When you get home at the end of a long day, what makes a good day for you? 

“Anytime my students do well on something, I go home feeling good about it. It probably affects me as much as it does them if they bomb a test because it reflects on me. Any day when I feel my students have really understood the subject – that’s a good day.”

Congratulations again on this award Raina. The way you have immersed yourself in your new profession shows the passion you have for teaching, and your ongoing commitment to your students and graduates is very much appreciated. That’s why we’re delighted to recognize your work with this “Commitment to Teaching Excellence” award. We’re positive that you are at just the beginning of what promises to be a very successful teaching career, and we’re very happy to have you here with us at Carrington College California. Thanks for all your hard work, and keep it up!


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