Vanessa Tomas (GNTC Student)

Vanessa Thomas - GNTC

At a very young age, Vanessa knew she wanted to work in the medical field. Over time, the path became clear. Vanessa currently attends Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) pursuing a degree in Vascular.

Although her father once attended GNTC, known then as Coosa Valley Technical College, her decision to attend GNTC stemmed from her desire to complete her GED. Once there, supportive teachers in a nurturing environment encouraged her to continue a technical college education.

On the path toward completing the Vascular Degree program, Vanessa faced many challenges, particularly those brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Her husband lost his employment. She was suddenly homeschooling their two children ages 10 and 6, one with Down syndrome, and she needed to pay for, prepare and pass the required Sonography Principles of Instruction (SPI) exam in order to complete her degree program.

With assistance from the Last Mile Fund, Vanessa was able to take the SPI exam and achieve her goal of obtaining a degree in Vascular Technology. Vanessa passed the exam in May and plans to pursue a career in ultrasound technology.

Tiawanna McDonald Cotton (Central Georgia Tech)

Tiawanna McDonald Cotton photo with her three children.

Tiawanna realized from a young age that she had a heart to care for people. Though her great aunt is a nurse, she will be the first in her immediate family to pursue an education in the medical field.

Tiawanna chose to pursue her technical education close to home at Central Georgia Technical. As an unemployed mother of three small children ages 1, 4 & 5, she found it challenging to secure the funding required to complete her Interdisciplinary Studies and take the Test of Essential Academics Skills (TEAS) necessary to be considered for acceptance into the nursing program.

As a first time Last Mile Fund recipient, she was able to satisfy the remaining balance of her summer semester and take the TEAS. She is now confidently awaiting the results of the test and looking forward to pursuing her goal of completing the two year nursing program and securing employment at the Navicent Health Center in Macon, GA.