Lapeer County – Koyona Poplar started working as a caregiver and later as a Nurse Assistant as one of her first jobs. After seeing the opportunities in healthcare and enjoying helping others in need, she decided to go back to school. It was not easy as she could not afford to not work, and the LPN program was an accelerated one-year program. This meant that Koyona worked as many hours as she could on the weekends when not in school and in the evenings after class. Before long Koyona’s work paid off and she graduated with her LPN license.
As a new LPN Koyona immediately noticed a pay increase, though it was a while before she could gain experience as an LPN and really see the investment make a difference for her and her family. She worked as an LPN for over 10 years before making the decision to return to school. Knowing it would be hard having been through the process before, her love for healthcare and dedication to move her family forward motivated Koyona to find a way to make it all work.
Though it was not easy, she relied on the support of her family, (her children included) to help rearrange her schedule, make a budget, and find a way to continue investing in her education and her future. One of the resources she used was working for a staffing agency that allowed her a more flexible schedule around her school schedule. Going back to school as an adult requires looking at life differently and finding creative ways to find that balance between career, education, and family. Koyona achieved her goal and graduated in January of 2020. Due to COVID, her NCLEX test was postponed, but Koyona kept up her pursuit until becoming state certified in April 2020.
She is driven to excel in an industry defined by their service to others. As challenging as her path has been, she became a positive advocate for change and a great supporter of GST Michigan Works! by referring others to our agency for the support they needed to make changes in their own personal lives. When you first meet Koyona, you cannot help but be impressed by her dedication and positive attitude. While 2020 was full of challenges, it was also a wonderful year for her. Not only because achieved her career goal, but also because she became mentor and supporter to her daughter who achieved her LPN certification this year. In a zoom meeting graduation celebration, she had the honor of pinning her LPN pin on her daughter!