Building confidence: Kayla grows as a role model and a medical professional

Kayla Figuera

Kayla Figuera

When Kayla Figuera came to SUNY Broome, she felt unsure and a little bit anxious.

The Lake Huntington native knew she wanted a career in a medical field, but didn’t know which at first. When she decided on Medical Assisting, she worried that she might struggle with the curriculum. Soft-spoken and an introvert, she knew she also needed to come out of her shell and gain confidence in navigating the world.

She has found success, both in her field and as a Resident Assistant in the Student Village, helping her peers.

“SUNY Broome had a very hands-on, individualized experience here. That’s what I was really interested in,” she said of her decision to attend the college.

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While the Medical Assisting curriculum is challenging, it prepares students well for their future careers. The instructors also work closely with students, making sure they understand the subject matter. Figuera particularly appreciates professors Kim McLain and Erin O’Hara-Leslie.

“I like how they’re very tough because they want you to succeed. They push you in a good way,” she said.

After graduating this May, she plans to work in her field, either in Binghamton or her hometown. Eventually, she plans to pursue certification as a respiratory therapist.

“I like the medical field because I like fast-paced environments. As a respiratory therapist, there are moments where you’re going to have a lot of adrenaline and use your skills,” she said. “There are a lot of code blues, where patients need to be intubated.”

On the way to becoming a medical professional, Kayla also became something she never expected: a researcher. She is part of the SUNY Broome Health Research Team, which this year explored campus awareness of hands-only CPR and AEDs and conducted a campaign to inform and teach the community their use. They presented their findings at the Student Undergraduate Research Conference at SUNY Oneonta.

Figuera also expanded her horizons in other ways by becoming a Resident Assistant, a role she has held for the past two years. It can be a tough job for an introvert, as RAs are considered role models and seek to resolve any issues that arise in the Student Village. Kayla found the work enjoyable, and it helped her develop confidence.

“I learned a lot about myself here. I met a lot of different people, people from different backgrounds who have helped me grow,” she said of her time at SUNY Broome. “There’s a lot of knowledge, skill and memories — I think SUNY Broome treated me well.”