Meet the Class of 2022: Clintaysha Hampton, Commencement student speaker

By Eric Devlin
Clintaysha Hampton is graduating this year with a Medical Assisting Certificate. She has been named the 2022 Commencement student speaker. Photo by Eric Devlin.

Clintaysha Hampton is graduating this year with a Medical Assisting Certificate. She has been named the 2022 Commencement student speaker. Photo by Eric Devlin.

Clintaysha Hampton was tired of feeling helpless. Growing up, she’d witnessed firsthand as her mom struggled with health problems associated with Type 1 diabetes. She felt powerless when she would visit her mom in the hospital and be unable to do anything to make her feel better. Yet she also saw the way health care workers sprang into action to help and it left a lasting impression.

“I knew I wanted to be in those shoes, those scrubs -- to make that difference for someone, even if it was the smallest difference,” she said. “To be the one to make sure that someone got back to their loved ones in better condition than when they came to me.”

Hampton, 25, who lives in Plymouth Meeting, and graduated from Norristown Area High School in 2015, felt she needed to do something with her life to make her powerless feeling go away. She figured if she studied hard, maybe she could land a job in health care, too, and bring with her the tools and knowledge to begin to help others just like her mom.

Today she’s graduating from Montgomery County Community College with a Medical Assisting certificate and will be this year’s Commencement speaker. It’s taken three tries to get to this moment, but Hampton said she couldn’t be prouder.

“I am a medical assistant graduate and that feels amazing to say, given that I’ve tried this twice and couldn’t finish,” she said. “So, it’s safe to say this third time has been the charm.”

Rather than wait for high school graduation to begin her career, Hampton enrolled in a biomedical technology course at Central Montco Technical High School to get a head start. Then after high school, she saw an advertisement in her local pharmacy looking for technicians 18 and older to work in the store, so she applied and got the job. She did that for two years before deciding it was time to go back to school. She started her first semester at MCCC in the fall of 2017 and took a job as a server to help pay for tuition.

She ended up dropping out after one semester. Looking back, she said she didn’t have a clear enough goal in mind when she started school and took on more than she could handle.

“I was living on my own. And having to write a three-page essay, after working an eight-hour shift on my feet, wasn’t something that I wanted to do,” she said. “I eventually became very drained, trying to juggle it all.”

When she tried to enroll again shortly thereafter, she became pregnant with her daughter, Naiomi, and knew she wouldn’t be able to balance being a mom with work and school just yet.

“Learning to fit your usual work and school schedule around someone who doesn’t yet grasp the concept of time is difficult, to say the least,” she said.

Finally in 2020, Hampton made the decision to go back to MCCC and enroll in the Medical Assisting Program. This time it all worked out. The program was perfect for her. It gives students experience in the administrative and clinical sides of medicine, enabling them to perform numerous medical assistant roles in physicians' offices, hospitals and other health care facilities. She loved the fast pace and hands-on work environment.

“It’s been great,” she said of her experience at MCCC. “I’m 100 percent more confident. When I first started here, I didn’t know rooms or buildings. I’d get lost and end up in the wrong building. I’m a lot more confident and comfortable this time, definitely.”

Her daughter is also three years older, and Hampton said she’s been the motivation she needs to keep going when times get hard.

“She’s the reason I finished,” she said. “She gave me the push every day to get out of bed. I wanted a better life for her. So, in order to make something better for her, I have to make something better of myself.”

Next for Hampton is an externship this summer at a nearby medical facility. She needs to complete 160 hours of field training to officially complete the program. After that she plans to work in a trauma center, and then continue her education with the goal of one day becoming an Endocrinologist.

“Endocrinology is the study of diabetes and hormonal imbalances,” she said. “I would go with my mom to her appointments, and I loved her doctor. He let me ask questions and saw how invested I was and gave me a shadow tour for the day. I just fell in love.”

Her mom, by the way, is doing much better, she said.

“No more hospital stays,” she said.

Hampton said her speech at Commencement is meant to inspire the next generation of MCCC students to look to her as an example. While the road to her graduation took many unforeseen twists and turns, ultimately, it led to a happy ending.

“I want to show people that this is doable,” she said. “Believe in yourself and have a support system. I want to thank my parents, my beautiful daughter, my semester sisters and the faculty and staff at Montco for helping me get to where I am today.”