It is with immense pride and happiness that we announce that 2012 College Experience graduate Denise Riley has earned her certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Denise has had an outstanding career trajectory since her graduation ten years ago and has achieved a career milestone that is impressive for people of all abilities.

Denise has always had a passion for working with senior citizens. With the assistance of her College Experience career counselors, she secured a placement at the Teresian House, starting as a dietary aid. From there, she was promoted to the position of Neighborhood Assistant where she cooked for her residents and assisted them in the dining room.

Denise learned that the Teresian House had positions for Temporary Nursing Aides (TNAs) because of information provided by a caring co-worker named Annakay who saw potential in Denise back in 2020 or 2021. Motivated, she took a TNA course online and passed her certification on her first attempt. Thrilled with the achievement, she transferred from the dietary department to nursing.

Her journey to her CNA certification has not been always easy, however. The CNA preparation class was only three weeks long, which was not enough for her needs, and she did not pass her initial test. Although disappointed, she was not deterred. Andrea Hewitt, a recruiter for the Teresian House, gave Denise information about how to get the practice exam online. This assistance was complemented by the help of Jeanette Allen who is the staff educator. Jeanette told Denise about a web site where they had a TNA practice course online that was necessary to prepare for the written exam. Denise was so determined that she decided to register for the practice course that she studied for all by herself. With hard work and determination, she persevered, ultimately passing both the hands-on clinical exam and written/multiple choice section, allowing Denise to earn her certification.

She said, “It took me a couple of years, and I believe the Lord knew what I wanted to do. It feels nice having a career – this certification will take me anywhere.” As a CNA, Denise has options for growth. She said, “I could probably do private duty, work in a hospital, or work in assisted living. However, the Teresian House is like my extended family, and I have no desire to leave there right now.”

Denise is very thankful for the Teresian staff who have supported her 100%. She is also grateful to her Living Resources staff who have been by her side every step of the way.