Taking a Flyer: Family Success via NCTC
Gwen Lillard: alumna, medical professional, proud mom
In 2012, Gwen Lillard of Aubrey, Texas, was just over 30 and a self-described stay-at-home mom who hadn’t been to school since she was 17 and a half. Change arrived in her life with “a flyer in the mail,” and she began thinking about taking a few classes at NCTC. Her motivation was simple. “The kids had gotten expensive,” she notes. “I was looking for the fastest way to get some training and become employable.”
In close to a year, she’d completed NCTC’s 12-month Surgical Technology Certificate, and was soon employed at the Day Surgery Center at DRMC. Next came her Associate of Applied Science in the same field in 2016, and she eventually transferred to Medical City Denton, then “got in on the ground floor” with the Wise Regional Surgical Hospital in Argyle. Meanwhile, she continued her education and medical training, entering a 12-month Certified Surgical First Assist (CSFA) program with Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting — based in Nashville and one of just six schools with accredited programs in this specialty.
These days, Lillard maintains a work schedule likely to make anyone else’s head spin. She still works weekdays at Wise Regional, “moonlights” at Medical City Denton’s trauma center — “it keeps my skills up” — and, with an eye on entrepreneurship, has started her own staffing company, SCLS Staffing.
NCTC is where it all started for her just six short years ago, Lillard says, and the college is serving as an important educational stepping stone for two of her three children as well. Her son, Nathanael, 18 and a half, graduated from Aubrey High School at 17, having taken “every dual credit course he could.” He’ll earn his Associate of Applied Science in Radiology from NCTC this spring. Meanwhile, Lillard’s 15-year-old daughter, Sadie, is a sophomore who’s also embracing the idea of higher education via dual credit courses in high school.
“I came from a home that was not education-driven,” Lillard says. “I guess my kids have watched how hard my husband and I have had to work to educate ourselves as adults. So, they’re totally motivated to take classes, and whenever an opportunity is presented, they take it.”
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