March 6, 2023

Sophie Cote had not planned to go attend college, and she was frightened by the thought of starting over. But as she watched her older brother “change and evolve into a completely different person” while taking classes at Great Bay Community College, she followed his path.

“I wanted that for myself,” said Sophie, 23, of Somersworth, who enrolled in Great Bay’s Medical Assistant Training Program in February. She will earn her certificate after completing the 12-week program in April, and then begin a professional career performing functions related to the clinical and administrative duties of a medical office.

Eventually, she might consider going into nursing.

Marc Cote, who is four years older than his sister, completed Great Bay’s Medical Assistant program in January and moved directly into a career at Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, a family practice center. He supports the physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in the day-to-day operation of the community health center.

“I take care of everything, whatever is needed in the moment,” he said. “Great Bay gave me a taste of everything and prepared me very well for this career.”

As Marc progressed through the classroom and clinical work associated with the Great Bay program, he watched his younger sister flounder in a job she didn’t love. He knew she would thrive as an MA, and suggested she consider enrolling.

“She is very book-smart and detailed oriented, and I knew this was something she could do well and start a good career for herself,” Marc said.

Sophie listened. “Marc said it would be intense, but it’s a short period – just 12 weeks. Hearing those words ‘short period’ intrigued me,” she said. “I was not looking at a two- to three-year program. It was a short amount of time, and you leave with a job that sets you up for success.”

Their shared Great Bay experience has brought the siblings closer together. Sophie is grateful for her brother’s influence and for inspiring her to work hard to improve her life. “Truthfully, in my past life I wasn’t happy. I was very depressed, and I didn’t want to go back to school,” she said. “But he came to me and said, ‘You are struggling. I have found this path, and I think you should take it, too.’”

She also appreciates the faculty and staff at Great Bay, who have helped her overcome her fear of school and realize the promise of a better, fulfilling life.

“During my time at Great Bay, my world has expanded tenfold,” she said. “I have learned a lot, and I am inspired to not stop, to keep going. The college really has brought meaning to my life. I thank my brother and Great Bay for helping me turn my life around.”