Gerald's Story

Uploaded by ATECentral on 04.12.2012

(truck starting)
(hammering, drilling)
So this is what you're going to be doing.
You have to put 100 microliters of the blue one
and 200 microliters of the yellow one,
and you cannot cross-contaminate.
Here you go.
My name is Gerald Kinyua.
I'm a student in the lab science program
at Northern Essex Community College,
and I'm 45 years old.
I came to the United States from Kenya with my family.
I love athletics.
I may not be very good at athletics,
but I did my best.
I also love singing.
Oh yes.
I can sing, maybe in Swahili, if you don't mind.
(singing in Swahili)
I actually won a green card lottery
to come and live and work in the United States.
In the United States, you have the best type of education.
So I was very happy because
now I had the opportunity to follow my education.
I was doing micropipetting,
and I just filled 96 wells in two and a half minutes.
I remember talking with Gerald
during your introductory chemistry lab,
and we were talking about chemistry
and how excited you were about it
and how much you wanted to pursue a career in that,
but that you were frustrated because
you didn't know how to go about doing it.
KINYUA: They were going to start a new course
which would ensure that those who go through the program
would fit into the job market very, very easily,
having acquired the skills that are required by the employers.
They informed me about the lab science program,
who went through it with them,
and I realized that it was a program fit for me,
and slowly, I started having hope.
As soon as he met the staff and he got into the program,
he was very positive about it
and I could see the energy in him to work hard.
KINYUA: Analytical chemistry involves a lot of testing
and a lot of analysis of the results that you get...
It looks good?
Exactly what we expected? order to identify what could be present
in a given sample.
I really love working at the lab.
You are able to see what is happening.
It is very, very satisfying.
One of the first meetings we had with a group of employers,
they said, "We get a lot of applicants
"who have bachelor's degrees, who have master's degrees,
"even who have doctoral degrees, and they know a lot of theory,
but they don't necessarily know a lot of the hands-on,"
and that's been the concentration of the program.
I've been in a program,
but I'm not yet clear about what is ATE?
The NSF, which is the National Science Foundation,
gave us the grant
through Advanced Technological Education, or ATE,
to develop the curriculum and to develop the courses
for the Laboratory Science Program,
which is the program that you completed.
With the money that we received from this grant,
we did the curriculum development,
we bought some of the equipment,
and we also helped with some of the training that you guys had
and also some of the visits to the employers.
(singing in Swahili)
I've built confidence slowly,
and now, I feel very, very comfortable in this place
and also in my career choice.
It was quite difficult to imagine that at my age,
I would be going back to school.
You tend to think that you're done with education,
but you have to look at what is best for your family.
(singing in Swahili)
My wife and our kids, we would like to remain and live
in the United States.
Life is so much better than it was at the beginning.
So, we are fitting in well,
and now I am in a state of hopefulness and optimism.
So I'm ready to face the future.
(singing ends)