Malcolm X College student and phlebotomist Janell Lundy is on the front lines of the pandemic – both testing people for COVID-19 and working as a vaccine administrator.

While she was earning general education and science credits at Olive-Harvey College in 2019, she heard about an opportunity at Malcolm X College to earn a basic certificate in Phlebotomy. She jumped at the chance, knowing it would give her a first-hand look at the medical field she wanted to ultimately have a career in as a nurse.

Thanks to the college’s Workforce Equity Initiative grant, Janell paid nothing out-of-pocket for her tuition and books. Her classes included hands-on learning, as she practiced drawing blood and working with patients in Malcolm X College’s state-of-the-art virtual hospital. She also received help from the Career Services Center to polish her resume, write a cover letter, and learn best practices for interviews as she prepared to look for a job.

All of Janell’s hard work paid off when she was offered a position as a phlebotomist for a private company. Combined with an additional job on the front lines, where she administers the COVID vaccine at the United Center, she is gaining a wide range of relevant experience.

Now, Janell is working toward her associate degree in science so she can eventually become a trauma nurse. Her advice to other students is to ask questions and use the resources you have, like tutoring.

“At first, I would just try to figure things out myself, but I’ve learned to ask questions – during class, after class, during office hours – whatever I need to really understand the material. The instructors are always there to help!”

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