GRCC Student Success Story: Sarah Baker

April 19, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. After successfully completing Grand Rapids Community College's Medical Assistant program, a young woman came back -- and will graduate this spring with a degree from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program.

Sarah Baker knew she wanted to work in healthcare when she started at GRCC after graduating from Hamilton High School. She completed the Registered Medical Assistant certification program and began using her new skills in the workplace.

"Working as an RMA gave me exposure to working with patients, documentation and communication with a multidisciplinary team," Baker said. "All of those skills helped me to establish my professional life."

When she decided to become an occupational therapy assistant, she immediately decided to return to GRCC.

"I knew that working as an OTA is what I wanted to do with my life," she said. "There are only a limited number of schools that have OTA programs, and I didn't think it was necessary for me to transfer to a different college: GRCC already provided me the opportunity to pursue this career!"

Karen Walker, director of GRCC's OTA program, said many of her students have previous healthcare experience.

"A lot of them are nurse's aides or paraprofessionals or have had other direct contacts with patients," she said. "The wonderful thing about that is they bring real-life experiences to our classrooms and we build on their skills."

After receiving her Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences during GRCC's commencement on April 27, Baker plans to take the National Certification Board for Occupational Therapy Assistant exam in June. For her next goal, she's taking a break from academics to get married in September. 

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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