Alicia Gentile, now working on the frontlines of COVID-19 in the health-care field, got her start at Middlesex Community College.
As a Dual Enrollment student from Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, Gentile appreciated MCC’s small class sizes and opportunities for growth. Having received flexible course options, supportive advisers and professors, and a strong foundation of knowledge and experience, Middlesex put her on track to help her in her pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree and a career as a nurse.
“My overall experience at MCC was amazing and really shaped who I am today,” she said. “I always loved learning before I got to MCC, but MCC helped me cultivate that love and channel it into action. I felt confident because of MCC, and I feel as though I was able to create a solid path for myself.”
The Groton resident was a Liberal Arts & Sciences major at MCC and worked as a supplemental instructor in Anatomy and Physiology. As a Dual Enrollment student, Gentile took college-level courses starting in high school. Working toward her diploma at Nashoba Tech while earning college credit helped her gain college experience and further challenged her academic abilities in a positive way.
A commencement speaker at her graduation from Middlesex in May 2016, she transferred to the University of San Francisco to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing with a minor in General Business.
“I’m grateful to have felt confident leaving Middlesex,” she said. “I was confident in my ability to take on difficult classes, and I was confident in the foundation MCC provided me. I don’t think I would be as prepared for USF if I didn’t attend Middlesex, and it really just made my transition to San Francisco much easier.”
While she was studying at USF, Gentile was eager to get started in the health-care field and earned an EMT certification. She started work as an emergency response specialist at a biotechnology company in San Francisco while in college and is continuing in that role as she prepares to take the National Council Licensure Examination to become a registered nurse. For even more hands-on medical experience, she volunteers in the intersive-care unit at a local hospital.
Although she calls working in the health-care industry during these times “sad and stressful,” Gentile believes she has learned a lot of perspective from working throughout the pandemic.
“Many of my patients have not been able to see their families during very vulnerable and difficult times in their lives, and I had to become part of their family to support them emotionally,” she said. “I celebrated birthdays with them, I FaceTimed their families with them, I sat with them when they couldn’t fall asleep, and I prayed with them when their families weren’t there. I experienced some of the most amazing recoveries and felt so grateful to be a part of that.”
Gentile said her professors at MCC made a positive impact on her success, and none more than Stacey Hubbard. From answering her questions to fostering her love of science and health care, Hubbard helped push Gentile to pursue her goals.
And when Gentile was struggling to determine where she should go for her Bachelor’s degree, Hubbard guided her through the decision.
“I felt like she truly cared about where I decided to attend,” Gentile said. “I truly appreciate her for her unbiased help, especially during a time where I felt like I had so many outside influences.”