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Office Professional grad uses bilingual skills to make a difference

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NWTC alumna Natalia Ayala sits at a welcome desk
NWTC alumna Natalia Ayala sits at a welcome desk

When Natalia Ayala was 18, she and her family moved from Puerto Rico to the Green Bay area. Unsure of what career path to take, she began exploring options at NWTC and connected with Gema Garcia in NWTC Student Support Services.

During that time, she acted as a translator for her mother who was managing a health condition. Through that experience, Ayala saw a need for bilingual employees in the medical field and enrolled part-time in the Office Professional program.

Her coursework in customer contact skills was critical in preparing for the workforce. She learned to provide the right communication skills while respecting the challenges facing each patient as they enter a medical situation.

Ayala began interning at Bellin Health amidst the pandemic in fall 2020. Feeling scared initially, that quickly disappeared as she felt support from her team and saw the need for her language skills. She sees relief in patients’ eyes when they realize they can express themselves in their native language. 

A non-native English speaker, Ayala is grateful for the tools NWTC gave her to navigate and be successful in her studies. “NWTC sees the potential in all of us,” Ayala said. “They recognize we all have different life circumstances and want us to obtain a degree to provide for ourselves and our families – to be successful in life.”

Ayala graduated from Office Professional in December 2020 and continues to work at Bellin Health.