Sisters Work Side-by-Side in Medical Careers

When sisters Gretel Durruty-Fajardo and Karelia Fonseca Fajardo came to the U.S. from Cuba in 2007, they never imagined they’d one day be working side-by-side as part of the medical team at Louisville Surgery Center.

Like many sisters, Gretel and Karelia are as different as night and day.  “She’s the sweet; I’m the sour,” Karelia said with a smile.  But they both agree on the positive impact that American National University has had on their lives.

Gretel, who was eighteen when she came to Louisville, was referred to ANU Louisville Campus admissions representative Ely Kraft by a fellow Cuban. A bi-lingual native of Venezuela, Ely is well-known throughout the Cuban community as an advocate of higher education.

“It was the best choice I’ve made.”

After she and her mother met with Ely, Gretel knew that surgical technology was the career for her, and that ANU offered the small class size and support that she needed to succeed. “I was excited because it was the medical field—something I didn’t know—and I loved it,” Gretel recalled.

In her surgical technology program, she first learned about the surgical instruments and sterile technique in the simulated operating room at ANU where she received lots of one-on-one attention from her instructor.  And when she doubted herself, Ely was always there to support her and give her confidence a boost.

“School was hard…but I had good help and the training was great,” she shared.

Later, Gretel gained hands-on experience working in clinicals in several area hospitals.  The experience reconfirmed to her that she’d made the right choice in careers.  It also allowed her to demonstrate her skills to the surgical team, who later recommended her for the job at Louisville Surgery Center.

With her new career as a certified surgical technologist (CST) firmly established, Gretel eagerly recommended ANU to Karelia, who enrolled at ANU as soon as she graduated from high school. Karelia earned her degree in the medical assisting program at ANU, and was later hired by Louisville Surgery Center, as well.

“I just bought a house. I’m very independent,” said Karelia, who is continuing her education in the ANU eUniversity medical and health services management bachelor’s degree program.  “I really recommend National to people, especially Cubans. They work with you and take their time with you.”

Gretel agreed. “It was the best choice I’ve made,” she said.

Photo A-ANU graduates Gretel Durruty-Fajardo (far left) and her sister Karelia Fonseca Fajardo (far right) and pictured in the operating room at Louisville Surgery Center with ANU Louisville Campus admissions representative Ely Kraft and Dr. Mark Chariker.

Photo B-Sisters Karelia Fonseca Fajardo (left) and Gretel Durruty-Fajardo (right),who came to the U.S. with their family in 2007, are both working at the Louisville Surgery Center after graduating from American National University.

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