Lacey Sterling

Medical Billing and Coding

Medical Billing and Coding student Lacey Sterling’s journey has been anything but easy. However, with support from Yakima Valley College faculty and staff she’s excited to be graduating with a college degree and starting on  a new career path. Read the following reflection from Sterling about her YVC experience.

“Yakima Valley College has been a part of me for two years, and although it is a huge blessing to graduate Winter quarter of 2022 it also brings to me a bittersweet essence as I am losing something I have repeatedly done for approximately 730 days, and now? Well, now it is coming to an end. I’d like to give a special thank you to the YVC team for providing me with the right tools for me to make achievements, set goals, and receive multiple awards throughout my experience. You have given not only myself, but my three young children a step ahead from where we used to be, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity. A special shout out to Jennifer Townsend; she works in the Disability Support Service department and gave me a chance to work alongside her in a work study program. This is an on-campus job — you can make an earning while still being able to study in the college environment. It helped me tremendously and I am truly grateful for the experience.

Let me be honest, it wasn’t always a “walk in the park” the whole 2 years. I have experienced many tragedies and challenges outside of college throughout my two-year degree. It isn’t easy raising three boys during a pandemic, maintaining study hours and all while in an apartment with no yard. I had to do the majority of my timed tests with a toddler clinging to my leg, a 9-year-old autistic son, and a 10-year-old with anxiety. I wanted to give up so many times. I often felt defeated, lost, frustrated, like a bad mom, and most of all sadness. My mother-in-law passed away in 2020 due to a long battle with pancreatic cancer. I need you at YVC to know, I kept pushing and striving. I never stopped, nor did I ask for time off. When I tell you I felt like an old piece of hard candy stuck in the corner of a child’s room, I mean that I have felt my lowest of low. But I was present in class, made the president’s/dean’s list, gaining the knowledge I knew I needed in order to move forward regardless of what struggle was creeping behind my shoulder. I never froze.

My mother-in-law, Sandra Maciel (1945-2020) never gave up, she is my inspiration. Sandra’s life path was far more advanced than mine in many aspects I cannot fathom. Once she passed away, I really felt like giving up, but I could hear her in my ear ’Oh, don’t give up now you’ve came a long way. Don’t worry about me. This woman would take only Tylenol on occasion for her pains from pancreatic cancer. Even before her cancer, she raised five children on her own, who are all grown and well now. But in my eyes, she is the real graduate because she showed me it’s OK to keep moving no matter what you may be going through.

Thank you to all of YVC for working with me during my 2-year journey, it really has been an honor to learn in the environment I called my school. My advisor Sandra Erlewine became a friend too. She retired during my last quarter of college, but I was able to interact with my new advisor Stephanie O’Brine and she did not disappoint. Thank you all! I cannot wait to get started onto my new career and life journey you helped me achieve.”