Malcolm X today, medical school tomorrow

Even prior to high school, Joshua Garner was drawn to a career in the medical field. Now, the aspiring trauma surgeon is gaining meaningful industry experience by working two jobs as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)—positions he was able to score after completing Malcolm X College’s 16-week EMT certificate program.

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2019, where he studied integrated health, Joshua found himself asking “what’s next?” Some quick online research led him to the EMT program at Malcolm X, which he applied for just days after earning his bachelor’s degree. He had taken a few college courses at both Malcolm X and Harold Washington College while attending UIC, so he was already familiar with the City Colleges system.

Joshua’s excitement about the EMT program further increased when representatives from Malcolm X contacted him about Project MPACT, the college’s Workforce Equity Initiative grant program, which would allow him to earn his EMT certificate tuition-free.

Throughout the duration of the program, Joshua says the encouragement he received from professors was exceptional, as they maintained a strong sense of enthusiasm even while transitioning to remote learning as a result of the pandemic.

Through Project MPACT, he was also introduced to LinkedIn, a topic he wasn’t expecting to cover through a medical program, but one that has allowed him to develop a meaningful and robust professional network. While that network continues to grow, Joshua says he still maintains contact with a few of his classmates from the EMT program. He appreciates the relationships he was able to build with people of all ages and from all walks of life – a characteristic he believes is unique to community colleges.

As he now works two jobs as an EMT – one at a COVID vaccination center and one with a private ambulance company – Joshua is excited to ask himself “what’s next?” once again. Inspired by Malcolm X’s EMT program and his experience in the field, he’s currently looking into taking the MCAT and applying for graduate and medical school programs, with a focus on pursuing a career as a physician in trauma/emergency medicine.