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Assembly line worker creates lifesaving medical equipment

Maria Riley is a motivated African/Italian female working in the medical supply industry. She works long hours at a factory job in order to provide for her family. She has overcome being a female racial minority in a male-dominated field, and finds her work assembling lifesaving medical equipment both important and rewarding.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?
Hi! I’m Maria Riley, my job title is hand-piece operator for for a company that manufactures medical devices for cancer patients. I would have to say that I am goal oriented, co-operative, and self motivated.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?
I am African/Italian combo, I call that “combo” because… I consider my self not just a part, but a package as as a whole; personality wise, good attitude, strong individual etc., and of course I am a female, very comfortable in my own skin and who I am. I have to be honest by saying that initially when I was younger, the biggest challenge was my ethnicity — I looked a little different than other typical Americans do, and it used to make me feel left out.

The hardships that I have endured in the past, made me the much more confident and stronger woman that I am today. I am thankful for what I am and who I have become, and I would not trade it for anything in this world!

How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail? Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
What I do, although it’s behind the scenes, is extremely important, from the motor itself to welding the covers together around into a hand piece, placing an inner cannula, aligning it before gluing it together, than placing the outer cannula, repeating the gluing process, while checking the alignment again. Locking the hub line into the hand piece and gluing the line unto it. The hand piece is then placed in a tray and attached into a quad and moved down the line to ultimately testing the final product. In the end it is wrapped and packed.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?
9; Recognition and a fair salary that will sustain my family today’s economy, and to be more mentally and physically challenged would raise my satisfaction to a 10.

If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?
It moves my heart because I know that I am making a difference in someone else’s life, even though is behind the scenes.
Yes, the work that I do makes me the person that I am, and if it’s not at my place of employment, it is through community service or others service opportunities where I can physically and perhaps emotionally give a hand to make a difference in someone else’s life…that is such a good feeling!

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
I always look for the best in others and try to treat others the same as I would want to be treated.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
Looking for a purpose in life, went back to school but was not able to finish due to income and raising children. If I could go back, I would set goals for my self rather than just ”skipping along” life’s long narrow way. I believe education would be my first priority, than a fulfilling job, lots of fun and games, then have a family.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this lesson?
I learned that no matter how nice and genuine you can be, there’s always someone that doesn’t know how to appreciate it. I had a co-worker that was an elderly individual, that had a sense of insecurity and was not trustworthy. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and respect considering that he was just set in his ways.

I’ve allowed that individual to underestimate my tolerance one too many times, I finally decided to confront him and discuss the tension that he was causing between us and that I would no longer tolerate his attitude. That was the last time that I had a problem with that individual.

What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?
It’s a “dog eat dog” world out there. You need to be prepared for any outcome, and ALWAYS be your self. Never let a circumstance change who you are.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
We recently had a fire in the lab, and found out that there was only one fire extinguisher at the facility.

Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud
I am THANKFUL that I have a job, it pays the bills, puts food on the table, and gas in the tank. What makes me feel good…giving someone a hug when they needed the most. Giving an elder a ride to the grocery store. Having a clean house. My kids.

What kind of challenges do you face and what makes you just want to quit?
I have gone through hell and high water, and I have made it this far…there is NOTHING that will make me want to quit.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?
The job is not stressful at all, however the physical and mental effortlessness of the job can be monotonous and psychologically unhealthy. I manage to balance that by doing additional work when permitted. Outside of work I make a point of exercising as often as possible, and eating healthy, but still manage to reward myself with a treat once in a while. I think that’s healthy too.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means? The pay is roughly $12.00hr. Personally I feel that I am worth much more than that, compared to today’s cost of living. No, I don’t feel that I am living within my means.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I generally may take a day or two per month, unless I am saving for an extended period of time for an upcoming trip or other events.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
My experiences has mostly been in manufacturing; building, welding, packing, testing products such as medical devices, quality check, scanning and so on… I am also a firm believer that if someone offers me training or education, I will not hesitate to take the offer.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
Well if it’s on the present job it would be that the importance of the medical devices I make is my motivation, and team work is the key. It is easy, clean work. Being in the medical industry it is a job that will be here for a long time. The company offers exceptional benefits and opportunities for advancement.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
In five years what I would like to be perusing further education, possibly in the medical field, buying my dream home, being debt free, planning trips around the world with my husband, appreciating what I have and do at work or at home, and to LIVE AND LOVE LIFE…

  • jol

    I agree with so many of her sentiments. Being comfortable with yourself and having a job that not only satisfies economically but also meets personal requirements. I hope to one day have a job like that, something that keeps my alive and happy simultaneously. I’ve never really been able to find my passion but I always find myself placing so much energy into projects that I don’t really want to undertake. I’ve always been worried that its impossible to find a job that; pays well, satisfies intellectually and that I love doing. Even now I doubt that my path will place me on a job that I’ll love but reading her responses gave me some incentive to keep searching.

  • Carol Eberhart

    Wow what a strong woman! No only did she defy the stereotypes of her racial background that were put upon her as a child, but she also has pushed through as a female! She has shoved any discriminational ideas aside. Maria Riley has a great mindset which I think is why she has made it as far as she has. She’s positive, she loves the challenge, she is unique and most significant of all, she is very grateful of what she possesses. even though she mentions that she is worth more, she still is happy with her life. She is not materialistic and its inspiring to be happy in the shoes we were given, because its the only pair we will ever get. She also values education, which I think was a huge benefactor of how she came so far, she was hungry for more knowledge.
    Overall, Maria has a great head on her shoulders. She has gone through hardships and dark times and come out with a light she has created for herself on her own. She is a inspiration.

  • Kyla Moss

    I think this is really great. It just goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to be a doctor to be able to help people. I can relate to this story because, like Maria, I am focused on helping people. Even if medical school isn’t where I end up, I pray that I end up somewhere in the medical field so I can continue to help people in any way. I can also relate to Maria because I feel as though she loves what she is doing. And thats honestly what its all about. No matter what you do in life, it should be because YOU enjoy doing it. Very inspiring and interesting read.

  • Rebekah Laursen

    Maria Riley’s story was relatable to me because she feels her profession moves her heart. She knows that her contribution can change the direction of someone’s life, even though it is behind the scenes. I aspire to deliver babies and promote women’s health as an Obstetrician Gynecologist. Women’s health can often be seen as a taboo subject and not is widely talked about among peers. I want to be someone women trust as a confidant in the typically hidden world of women’s health.

    She also comments that she has the power to physically and emotionally change a person’s life for the better. I aim to do this as well, in the case of families. Directly, I influence the life of a mother and the child, or children, she is carrying. In the big picture, I will positively effect an entire family of people, as I have the life of someones daughter/son, niece/nephew, and grandchild in my hands. In my profession, I hope to bring the positivity that Maria Riley brings to her workplace.

  • juliamcnzi

    This is an incredible story. I am so proud that there are women out there who choose to make a difference and do something better for themselves.

  • Zakee Conte-Smith

    I can relate with Maria Riley’s story because when I was young, i was very insecure and had no confidence in myself. My mother would always tell me to toughen up and stop crying because she showed me that when you show weakness in the world, the world will eat you up. The reason why my mother had to teach me this lesson was because my father was never around in my life at all. I had to navigate the course of manhood without him and it was a struggle. Over the years, i had grew more confident in myself and began pursuing my dream in becoming a Medical Laboratory Scientist. My first job in the science world is doing work study as a laboratory technician and i love it every single day. It’s practice for my career later in life. The quote that I follow everyday since high school is “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

  • ggroyals

    I can relate to her because I too am an African American woman who is currently working in a factory setting. I am in the greeting card business and during the course of the past year my life has changed dramatically. A little girl was on Good Morning America and she was dying from a some type of brain tumor. When they asked her what she wanted most, she simply replied that she wanted a lifetime worth of greeting cards. Well the plant I worked has 1,500 associates and the majority of them signed Christmas and Birthday cards to send to her, along with posters and banners. At that moment I felt that this was one of the best experinces that I have had while working there.

  • Jorey Stanley

    I feel my age and upbringing has made it difficult for me to recall an experience in which I can relate to Maria’s life. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed her story and am choosing to comment on it anyways. I am only 19, I have no husband, I have no children, and I have never worked a monotonous menial job in a factory. I have, however, understood what it is like to be a multi-ethnic woman in a situation dominated by men. I am pursuing a career in environmental science and much like in any scientific field, women, especially women of color, are highly underrepresented. My classes tend to be filled with more males, white upper-middle class males at that, than women and it can sometimes be intimidating. While this is a persistent and crippling issue for not just women or women of color, but the entire world, what I find even more inspiring and intriguing about Maria’s story is her passion and versatility. She is not only a worker, but also a wife, mother, philanthropist, and in a sense activist. Maria didn’t just choose to frame this article entirely about her work, but about every aspect that makes her life uniquely hers. She works, provides for her family, but still dreams to do more, not only for herself but also for other women. She admits she doesn’t want this job forever, but she can see the beauty behind the mechanics and importance of the job. She also mentions raising wages to a livable standard, an important issue right now for all workers. She is happiest when she is helping others in her community or at home, something I too am passionate about, and she still wants to continue her education, one of the greatest tools women can have and use to succeed in this world. Her story is truly interesting to me because despite the fact that this job is not glamorous, Maria is doing so much important work behind the scenes that will make an impact. I guess what I mean to say is that her story shows women and girls that you don’t have to do something huge to do something incredible. Greatness can be achieved through a series of subtle, or seemingly subtle, acts that to you may seem ordinary, but to someone else may seem incredible. Stories of everyday women making a difference inspire me the most because eventually I hope their are no more one in a million success stories for women who made it to CEO or founded their own company or broke a world record. I no longer want this to be impossible to achieve because I want success for women, especially minorities, to be an everyday occurrence. I don’t want to make it to the top and look beside me and see only male counterparts enjoying the fruits of our patriarchal society and then look below me and see all my female counterparts struggling to even climb the first hill because the mountain is rigged.

  • Doreen Nakimbugwe

    Women like Maria Riley are so inspiring to me. Being an African from Uganda where most of the managerial positions, especially in health, are dominated by males, the story moves me. I want to succeed in getting my bachelors In health care management so I can also be an inspiration or motivator to other women or girls like me. I know women have a lot to contribute to the health and if they also get into the managerial positions just like the men, then there will be better growth and improvement in the health care.

  • jcucutaharris

    Maria Riley is a prime example of many of the women today who doubt their capabilities. Being a woman of more than one ethnicity it is hard to stay focused and keep up with a male dominating job force, but she did it. She did not want to be like everyone else, she wanted more and knew should could achieve more after looking back on her past experiences. She does not let the men intimidate her in any way and she does get poorly treated; not being seen as equal but she does not give up. She chooses not to give up on herself nor her family. She is truly an inspiration to many women and should be recognized for her doings.

  • NatashaVejar

    Maria Riley is a representation of the millions of women around the globe who work vigorously to provide a better life for their family. Coming from a family of mixed ethnicities , I have witnessed the true struggle made to live the American dream. Like my parents, Maria Riley, sees the value of education. Education can change your entire life. Many immigrants leave their homes to come to this country for education, since there is very little financial aid from governments abroad. Maria has stated that she would like to continue her education to perhaps obtain a career in the medical feild. Although Maria acknowledges that she deserves to be paid more, she doesn’t let her position bring down her sense of pride for who she is. I’m assuming that many people who read Maria’s story have related to it, simply because the majority of us sometimes find ourselves in situations in which we believe to be degrading , and not showing our true potential. Maria teaches us all that whenever we come to those dark places, we must pick our heads up and have a set goal. It is important not to be discouraged when things don’t work out, this is what we must learn from Maria Riley.

    Truly, Maria Riley is a great example for many people who are doubting their capabilities. Being of mixed ethnicities and a woman, she has overcome many types of discrimination. Using her past experiences, she has become a woman who is determined to not be a simple statistic, and will go above and beyond the expectations of others. In my opinion, Maria Riley is a extremely strong and confident woman who deserves recognition for her strong desire to provide for her family.

  • Princeton McBride

    This is a very interesting story. Hopefully in the future I can relate more to this story, because I am going to be studying Pre-Med. The work you do like you said is behind the scene, but without you doing your job then it would be impossible for patients to receive the proper care they need today.
    To me working in a medical field is like being in an assembly line, just like with cars. In order for a car to be built there must be a series of performance preformed by other people to get the job done.

    It is really great to see a worker that is passionate about their job!

  • Bettie Hoppe

    I especially like this story because I am a woman that is from a preacher’s home where I had a lot of issues that I faced growing up. I have been off work and out of school because of a back injury I suffered and had to have two back surgeries this year. I love the medical field because like Maria Riley it makes a difference in the world today. I want to be a hospital administrator because there needs to be balance in hospitals and there needs to be someone that cares about patients and the employees as much as they care about the money that hospitals make today of poor people. I have been a secretary in the past but decided to really make a difference in this world I needed to go back to school and pursue my bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

  • Nanancy

    She reminds me so much of my own mother. My mother also works in medical assembly due and she believes this is due to the fact that she was not able to obtain an education. However, being uneducated did not stop my mother from believing that whatever sort of work she held lowered her dignity as an human being. Though she does not enjoy her job, she believes that the medical equipment they make are essential to the lives of others. She would always tell me that if she had the chance of going to college she would become a lawyer as she is passionate about social justice. However, she’s never once moved on to another job because this job benefits her and our family so well. Regardless of a job she’s never wanted, she’s never once given up about life. She’s still so optimistic about what the future holds even at her age and it’s what I always admire about her.

  • Fali

    Maria Riley reminds me so much of myself. I too am a package, a middle eastern combo that made e quite self conscious in my childhood and teens. It wasn’t until college that I excepted who I was and celebrated my ethnicity. Maria and I both have the motivation to help others in life and we are both tied to the medical field. Where Maria Riley makes devices that aid doctors in the treatment of cancer, I am a biology major and anticipate on becoming a research pharmacist, where I can lead in drug research and discovery. I would like to be a part of every step, from the lab through clinical trials.

    The humbleness and integrity of Maria Riley response to, “Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud.” Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to just have a job, and then we get s caught up in our lives we forget why we have the job. We have them yes to make ends need, for the bills, the family, and for our dreams. Given the opportunity to become a pharmacist, I will be thank for what my job has allowed me to accomplish, for all those I can help, and all those I may return the favor.

  • Bahram

    The community progress is made by the individuals, which
    their daily attempt help the country go forward. Every fruitful work we are
    doing in our job every day is a help to the country, to us and our family
    members. Considering this general point, sometimes we need to have a new look
    over the old structures to bring new and more efficient ideas up. Having a
    creative mind, everybody can bring a new idea to make our lives better. Many
    times the things we are dealing with in our life are not supper complicated and
    just thinking for a better way to do something can bring brilliant results. I had
    this experience to go to many companies for audit to give them consultation
    during my education. Sometimes I get surprised why the people working in those
    companies do not see some of these improvements themselves and did not make
    their working procedures more efficient? The answer I found for this question
    is that, in many fields, being engaged with ordinary and daily works, no one
    thinks about finding a better solution for old problems. Therefore, not only I would
    like to keep my creativity power active in my own future life, if I get a
    management position in my working future, I believe my more important duty will
    be encouraging the people working with me to take their time to think of new
    ideas. I believe it is something we all need.

  • Rupam Nair

    I relate to Maria Riley and her life story because my
    upbringing was full of combination and change. I hail from an orthodox Jain
    community where concepts such as gender equality are relatively unaccepted.
    Business runs in my blood, for that is what Jains do best, and it is also my
    family’s backbone. I belong to a family that is progressive, both in action and
    thought. From my great grandfather who moved from the desert state of Rajasthan
    to Bihar and set up seven jute and mustard trading centres to my parents who traded a palatial house in eastern state of Bihar for a one bedroom apartment in western city and business hub, Mumbai to provide the best of education and opportunity for me, I imbibed lessons of unconventionality and the courage to
    follow my dreams. The abilities to question rote and overcome extreme
    situations are the benefits of the bold choices my parents made, and of a total
    collapse in my family’s fortunes. My mother stood up
    against the mandate that a male child is a necessity, thereby carving a new
    role of womanhood in the community. The 1990’s was a turning point in my life.
    My father’s business losses shook his confidence, and he found solace in
    alcohol, another taboo. For nine years, we fought against the tide of
    alcoholism, attended AA meetings, and supported him as he spent time at a rehab
    camp, where he overcame the addiction. Situations that would otherwise tear a
    family apart made us stronger. We turned our backs on social stigma and focused
    only on my father’s recovery. With it came maturity to understand human
    behavior and gauge circumstances with objectivity.

    Despite the challenges at home, I scored well in school and found my interests
    in History and English. The freedom of choice I got in lineage led me to crave
    a life of independence, and I decided to move to Kolkata to pursue my college
    education in Loreto College. These critical years shaped my ambition by
    polishing my skills and introducing me to various schools of thought. I managed
    through the travails of financial and emotional independence, learning quickly
    about the value of friendships and the necessity of a career that will satiate
    me completely. In the last ten years, I can safely say that I have reported on politics, diplomacy, conflict, disasters and a host of social issues including gender imbalance, violence against women and female infanticide.
    My decision to quit a successful career midstream and apply for an overseas
    education is a combination of sharp instincts and careful consideration. As
    usual, there is a risk, but life has given me enough lessons for me to convert it
    into an opportunity of a lifetime.

  • I felt conected to Maria Riley because we share the same self motivation and goals to make a difference in people lives. Maria Riley does this through manufacturing devices for cancer patients. I plan to make a difference by becoming a doctor. I want to specialize on medical issues that affect people in impoverished and under privileged populations. This is another connection between Maria and I as we are both interested in public health.

    Maria’s story is empowering and gives me a role model to look up to. Maria describes her obstacles such as overcoming discrimation, being taking advanatage of and not making enough money but she is overcoming these barriers. Maria states, “I have gone through hell and high water, and I have made it this far…there is NOTHING that will make me want to quit”. This is truly inspiring. Her words should send a message to everyone, that no matter what the obstacle is you can work hard and become successfull. Maria is the type of rodel and successfull woman that I will strive to be like as I pursue college and medical school.

  • I felt a connection to this article because of my major, Public Health, which, to sum it up simply, aims to analyze and solve the health inequalities and inequities with preventative medicine and education. The preventative side of public health is what drove me to choose it as a major, because one day I hope to become a pediatrician, that way I can ensure healthy adults by the promotion and care of healthy practices at a young age.

    I feel that the work that Maria does is also considered preventative public health work that is just as important and crucial as the work I plan on doing as a pediatrician, even though it seems miniscule to the operation as a whole. To really put the importance of her work in perspective, think of what could happen if there was just one mere miscalculation, and one of the parts that she has to weld together was not combined correctly. This could initially endanger the entire structure, the people within it, as well as anyone near it when it breaks.

    I also feel a personal connection to Maria in that I too am of a sort of “double minority” (being a Hawaiian and female) and I experience discrimination every day in the simplest forms, but coming to college made me realize that these instances don’t define me, they only fuel my drive to do what I want more.

  • Jean

    I believe Maria is a great woman. Her response to the question of “What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?” is so true. She said “It’s a “dog eat dog” world out there. You need to be prepared for any outcome, and ALWAYS be yourself. Never let a circumstance change who you are.” There are people out there who might not like you for the way you look, for what you wear or where you come from. They will make it their job to make your life miserable. You just have to keep your head up and keep moving forward. Do not let them control your future; you decide what you want to be and where you want to go in life.

  • quietpoet

    Oftentimes we do what we have to do for our families. Many
    times we are very much unappreciated in the workplace. It’s very important to
    know our own self-worth so that we can stay strong through adversity.

  • April

    I would have to admit that I admire people like Maria. I grew up thinking that I just wasn’t good enough for anything and wouldn’t amount to anything. It took a long time for me to realize that I had to be comfortable in my own skin before people would begin to appreciate me for who I am.
    I admire that she does something that makes a difference in other people’s lives, whether they realize it or not. I would greatly enjoying doing a job like that, although I am sure I have a long way to go towards getting a degree before I can do that. Working in a correctional setting with the food service is sometimes rewarding when you know that the inmates working with you do so with respect for you because they don’t get any money on their books and sometimes you can get them more food to fill their stomachs. I would like to think that some of the people I meet in my daily work life begin to change their outlook on life somehow because of the way I treat them even though they’re inmates.
    Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and I am no exception. Since coming to terms with myself and realizing that the most important opinion of my value is mine, I have come to realize some of my mistakes in the past. Like Maria, I hope to one day in the near future be debt free and pursuing a new career which in one way or another benefits people with the help of a Bachelor’s of Science in Business. I want to strive to be more like Maria.

  • agileB

    I agree with Maria’s point of view about her experience working in a profession where men dominate. She expresses the inequalities that women face in the work place well.

    In a perfect world everyone would be treated as equals, and with the respect they deserve. I admire Maria’s strength and ability to overcome the obstacles she faced, especially felling like her contributions were not valued.
    I think we can all relate to feeling under valued, and not paid fairly for our work. Unfortunately, nowadays many people have to except what is offered because without an college degree, one does not have a lot of options.

    the lesson I take from Maria’s story is that no-matter what obstacles one faces in life, one should never stop dreaming and planning for the life they want, and one should always be working towards their goals however long it may take.

  • Raevans28

    This woman is the definition of America. She is a strong woman who is fighting her way to the top and with the attitude she has in this article, I don’t doubt that she will be CEO of a major medical corporation one day. I have been ridiculed my entire life for being overweight but that never stopped me from getting into science. Just like the way Maria never gave up when she felt left out. She’s an inspriation.

  • Over my last career, I have seen over 10 people rise to a manager’s role from an assembly line operator. It always teaches me about hard work and endurance.

  • Raycol MC

    My dad used to work for an Assembly Industry in the South area of Alabama, he always been an example of a hard worker, thanks to all his effort and dedication today I am a current student at FNU, studying Radiology.

  • anthony

    Technology is
    the gateway to endless opportunities. It is what connects you and me to others
    across the world. It is also always advancing and adapting to our everyday
    lives.

    I plan to engage the technological
    industry in my future career of Real Estate by developing, renovating, and
    updating houses in various communities across the nation to be technically
    savvy, beautifully crafted, and environmentally friendly affordable homes. When
    I think of houses with newer technology, the first thing that comes to mind is
    the price-range. Second, the overlooked minor choices the architect could have
    made to give the home a more customized feel. Whether or not I am starting from
    scratch, there is always something to improve in or outside a house to make the
    home owner feel a sense of uniqueness. There is also a fine line between wanting
    to make a special impact on the lives of others and wanting to profit as much
    money as possible. If granted this scholarship, I will be able to further my
    education of learning about the world of business by now having the financial
    ability to take the necessary classes.

  • L.Robinson

    Thanks for your insight! I think your story sheds light into what it takes to make it in the work environment.

  • chanta bryant

    Thanks for sharing your story Maria. Your story is uplifting and motivational.

  • mcraven83

    I think that Maria’s story is one we can almost all relate to in one way or another. As a female working in a male dominated industry, I find it very hard to get the respect I deserve for the work I accompolish. Most of the men in manufactorying type industries still hold true to the old ideals that women cannot perfrom to the same levels as they can. BUT, time, educastion, and experience have a way of changing lives and ideas. I am happy that in Maria’s story she is abnle to overcome the things which hold her down and move forward. We should all take a page from her book and look past the onstacles in life to pave our own way!

  • I found Maria’s story to be up lifting. I am a African American woman from Flint, Michigan. When I was fifteen my family moved to Bastrop, Louisiana. People in north seemed much different than the people in the south. When I was fiftteen my summer job was filing documents at the Mayor’s office. It seemed like people were looking at me and wondering why I was there. In Louisiana it is very rare for someone outside of your race to say a simple hello. That reaction I received in Louisiana made me think twice about people outside of my race. To me it seemed like I had to work harder doing the same job they did just to be revelant. Reading Maria’s story and seeing how she stood tall at every challenge and overcame diversity gives me hope.

  • maunaloa

    I too have a different ethnic combination and look a little different compared to others, especially being raised in Wyoming. I really admire that you feel are so confident and comfortable with who you are. I also find it very inspiring that you are so motivated. It is important to always try your best and try to not let things in life get to you. I am glad to hear that you want to further your education. I feel that it is never to late in life to further your education. I also feel that it is very important to have a job that matters, you seem to be pleased with making a difference in someones life. When a job is more than a pay check it really shows in ones work.

  • simmons0423

    I can relate to this story. I work as a phlebotomist at a medium-size health care facilty but I am stationed at a physician’s office. Maria Riley made a difference in lives everyday. However, she did so “behind the scenes”. I believe the same is true for me. Being a phlebotomist is a very important job that helps in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Phlebotomists, like Maria Riley, do not get a lot of spotlight but that is not why I continue to do it. Making a person comfortable and knowing they are receiving excellent care is a reward in itself for me.

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