By Carol Schmidt
But no one is more surprised than Villegas that she has recently executed an academic turnaround that has given her a shot at success in her personal and professional life.
As of December, when she received notice that she was accepted into the Montana Medical Laboratory Science Training Program, Villegas became the first Native American student accepted into the competitive program that produces certified medical laboratory scientists. Medical lab scientists are in short supply in Montana and elsewhere in the country, so admission virtually guarantees a good job to those who complete the year-long internship.
"I'm so excited and proud," said Villegas, a member of the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribe who is currently a student at Montana State University. "I've made a long trip of it, but I'm proud that I will be able to get a job that will take care of me and my daughter. And I'm doing something my daughter and my family can be proud of."