PRCC: Mother-daughter duo graduate from CCMA program

After 16 years as a Certified Nurse’s Aide, Kirby Dean was ready for a change. 

Ny’Kiah Dean suggested, “Why don’t you go to school with me?”

That’s how Kirby Dean, 36, and her 19-year-old daughter Ny’Kiah, who both wanted to go into the medical field, found themselves in the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant program, after searching the Pearl River Community College website.

“Both mom and daughter are at the top of the class with their grades,” said Marissa Brandon, PRCC CCMA instructor. “Mom actually had the highest average in the class. Kirby has been a CNA for many years, and her excellent work ethic was reflected in her course work.”

They both graduated from the CCMA program on Dec. 10. 

“Ny’Kiah is following in her mom’s footsteps, not only in her strong work ethic, but with her goal to work in the health care field,” said Brandon. “I would be proud to recommend either of them for any job because I know they will be excellent.”

The intense, four-month CCMA program, which began in 2019 at PRCC’s Woodall Advanced Technology Center, was the ticket. The program affords its graduates with a few options after they graduate. 

A medical assistant is a multi-skilled health care professional who specializes in procedures commonly performed in the ambulatory health-care setting. Medical assistants perform both clinical and administrative duties and assist a variety of providers including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“I decided that I was going to go back to school, and 2020 was my year to do it,” said Kirby Dean. “I thought about getting into medical billing and coding, but I was not sure. I just knew I wanted to do something different.”

Meanwhile, Ny’Kiah Dean was already in school at PRCC, working toward a nursing degree. But she decided, “I was ready to go to work.” 

A light went off in Ny’Kiah’s head. “Why don’t you go to school with me?”

After working to get her finances in order for her new role as college student, Kirby Dean finished her application before her daughter. They commuted together everyday from Foxworth.

“I am so excited to be in college with my daughter,” Kirby Dean said.  

A single mother, she raised three children, including Ny’Kiah who is the oldest, two younger sons, one 17, the other 18, in Marion County.  

Kirby Dean says the decision was a challenging one. She was afraid she wasn’t going to “get it,” after 16 years of being out of school. She feared math.  She persevered, she prayed, “depended on the Lord.” She found the determination and strength to start. “I am going to do it. It is now or never.”

After finishing, and graduating with her daughter, Kirby Dean says she “feels awesome.” She gained confidence.  “It has helped me on, in a lot of ways,” she added.  

Graduation has given them, “more opportunities than we thought,” says Kirby Dean.  It even helps pay their tuition, she added.  

After the graduation ceremony, the two Deans planned to celebrate by “going to get some seafood.”

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

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