As an emergency physician, Alister Martin, MD, MPP, MGH Emergency Medicine, learned countless lessons working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
True learning happens over a lifetime. That’s something Djems Cazeau knows well.
Cazeau has been at Mass General Hospital since 1984 when he started working part-time in Nutrition and Food Services as a sophomore in high school. He later transferred to the Radiology Image Center, where he currently works as a Patient Services Coordinator.
Since he struggled in high school, it took a few years before Cazeau started thinking of pursuing a college degree. He enrolled in courses in 1998 but realized quickly the timing wasn’t right. “Things in life weren’t going so well and I couldn’t really focus,” says Cazeau. He decided to take a break from school until he was at a place in his life to make it a higher priority.
He didn’t put his learning on hold, however. Thanks to the learning and development opportunities available to Mass General Hospital employees, Cazeau was able to continue his education right at his workplace. He took classes in areas like project management, presentation skills and leadership through the Professional Development Series–which offers classes to all employees throughout Mass General Brigham–with encouragement from his managers. “My supervisors always pushed me, like proud parents,” says Cazeau.
Thanks in part to that encouragement and to earning his citizenship in 2017, Cazeau was motivated to keep working toward other goals he had set for himself, like earning a degree. With financial assistance from the Mass General Hospital Support Service Employee Grant, the AMMP Scholarship and the Tuition Assistance Program, Cazeau enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College, where he is studying to be a Computer Support Specialist with plans to ultimately earn his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
“Being back in school and working toward my degree feels really good,” says Cazeau, “and I’m grateful for funds to get back into it.”
Though it’s been a long journey Cazeau hasn’t lost his passion for learning and still grabs opportunities that come his way. In fact, he recently completed a coding class he saw advertised in an Mass General Hospital communication. And he’s quick to encourage others to persist on their own educational paths, whether on a college campus or right here at the hospital. “It can be done,” Cazeau says. “It takes work, but it can be done.”
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