From academically struggling college student to medical assistant and now business owner, LaTasha recently chronicled the challenges and triumphs of her scholastic and career journey in a new book, titled Armed with Persistence: The Business Plan. In her self-help guide, LaTasha points to parental inspiration and her community college's numerous support systems as crucial factors in her success.
Despite being underprepared for college, LaTasha went on to earn two degrees from Parkland, an Associate in Science degree in 2004 and a Medical Assistant degree in 2006. LaTasha then took Eastern Illinois University classes at the Parkland campus, graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Studies from EIU.
"Through Parkland, I gained the education and knowledge to be able to work in any healthcare practice," LaTasha says. "Parkland provided me with so much help, from tutoring programs, the Career Center, and computer labs. The classrooms were small, which was good for me because I needed a close-fit environment to help me with my studies, and all my instructors motivated me by telling me I can do it, even when I had my doubts."
LaTasha also gives major credit for her success to her mother, who raised her singlehandedly and whose hard work provided for her family and gave LaTasha the inspiration she needed to pursue higher education and a rewarding career.
Armed with her Parkland training and a clinical externship, LaTasha landed her first job in the obstetrics and gynecology department at Christie Clinic in Champaign. She later moved to Florida to become a medical assistant instructor at Concorde Career Institute. "Because of the love and opportunity Parkland gave to me, I carried that same passion towards my students."
LaTasha started her company, Extending Hearts Healthcare Staffing, in 2014 to help healthcare graduates embark on their professional careers. She also considers the agency an extension of the assistance she received from Parkland.
"I believe you can't be a great leader if you haven’t walked in the path you set for others," LaTasha remarked. "I don't think I could have made it if I hadn't attended Parkland."
Her most memorable moment at Parkland was "all the times Parkland College provided services for me, including computer labs and the math tutoring center."