Ms. DeVika Szymanski-Lynch admits that she had an “attitude” when she first came to UBEOC. Her persona came from experiencing traumatic life incidents, some caused by her own lack of judgement. However, she says UBEOC never judged her life’s circumstances. The belief that faculty and staff had in her “helped my true character evolve.” The character referred to is that of a strong and independent woman. “EOC helped me take the blinders off which had kept me focused on the past. I envisioned through a new lens; I could see my future.”
DeVika’s decision to enroll in the Medical Assisting program and later in the Medical Clinical Lab Technician program was influenced by watching her grandmother deteriorate in a nursing home, and through her son’s health issues that required six surgeries by age six. She notes that her classroom and intensive clinical training at the Community Health Center of Buffalo taught her much more than just subject material. UBEOC training exemplified and emphasized “human dignity.”
Upon graduation, DeVika worked as a Medical Assistant at Buffalo Medical Group. She then enrolled at Bryant & Stratton College and earned an associates degree in Occupational Studies Medical Assistant. Giving birth to her second son, also experiencing health issues, she worked at Willcare and at Buffalo General Hospital in an environmental services position “to get my foot in the door.” Then experiencing health issues herself, DeVika made a necessary transition and worked security at Buffalo City Mission and then was hired as a Resident Coordinator.
Her strong and independent character was recognized by Opportunities Unlimited, where she presently works part-time as a companion with the mentally challenged. DeVika also serves as a Board Member of Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network Incorporated. DeVika says, “Life challenges are simply understood at UBEOC. UBEOC accepts your past and moves you forward. My character evolved at UBEOC. I was challenged, encouraged and most importantly, respected. UBEOC will always be here for me.”
Alumni Affairs and Student Development Office