Instructor thrives on students’ victories
After having taught at every educational level from handicapped pre-school through college, Midge Shaw has found her niche at Rogue Community College. “Watching my students come alive in the classroom and grow in confidence about what they can do gives me what I call a ‘paycheck.’ And that’s why I’m here,” Shaw said.
A lead instructor with RCC’s Academic Skills Department, she joined the faculty in 1991. Shaw earned a bachelor’s in education from Western Oregon University and her master’s in education and teaching certificate from Southern Oregon University.
She is preparing for her15th medical services outreach trip to the Amazon jungle under the auspices of her church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship. It was on an earlier mission that she met Marcos Cordeiro and with family and church helped him make his way to the U.S. to study to become a healthcare professional.
“Marcos is a hero. His focus, drive, and energy are phenomenal,” Shaw said. “And his ability to succeed in a culture and language not his own — and in one of the most competitive academic programs — is phenomenal.”
“RCC is a doorway to enter and make possibilities happen.”
— Marcos Cordeiro, RCC graduate
Healthcare mission inspires Brazilian
No matter the challenges, RCC graduate Marcos Cordeiro stays focused on his goal — delivering medical services to remote Amazon jungle villages.
Cordeiro, who transferred from RCC to the Oregon Health and Science University nursing program at Southern Oregon University, has for the past seven years remained intent on returning to his Brazilian homeland.“I have always had this dream of helping my people, after seeing so much sickness and suffering,” he said.
Cordeiro, 26, grew up in a missionary family that provides medical, dental, and spiritual aid to impoverished settlements. When he was about 12, he met Midge Shaw, an RCC Development Education instructor, when his father piloted a riverboat for her service group. Shaw’s church later sponsored Cordeiro to come to America and study toward becoming a healthcare professional. Arriving in Oregon at 19, he knew only a few words of English.
“At first it seemed so impossible,” he recalled. “The odds were against me.” Six months of language school dispelled that barrier and he enrolled at RCC. Cordeiro, who went on to complete enough credits to transfer to SOU, with Shaw helping him stay focused and accountable.
“Always she reminded me of what I’m supposed to do: ‘keep struggling, keep fighting…you can do it!’” he said. “RCC felt like a family. They support you and teach toward your goals and vision. To have them telling me ‘you can do this’ helped me keep going,” Cordeiro said. He also drew on his religious faith, while a Sister Margarita Acosta Scholarship awarded through the RCC Foundation provided material support.
“I felt completely prepared for transferring to SOU,” he continued. “I got a good foundation, and RCC classes were content specific. RCC is a doorway to enter and make possibilities happen.”
For his nursing immersion, he’s currently spending 24 hours a week in Providence’s Emergency Room.
“I love it,” he says. “I’m learning what I’ll need to know as a physician in emergency situations: how to assess needs and provide care right away.”
Cordeiro will complete his nursing training in June. In exchange for his scholarship to SOU, he plans to work at Providence Medical Center this next year, saving money so he can return to Brazil and enter medical school — his next goal. There his focus will be acute tropical diseases such as cholera, malaria, and injuries.
“It’s taken some time,” he continued, “but it’s all coming together. I’m very thankful to RCC for pushing me toward my goals. I call it a miracle.”
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