Fresh faces join Mustang family: Jennifer Carreno

Waking up to the sound of a family member hurriedly leaving for work at 3 a.m. is not an unfamiliar experience for health careers instructor Jennifer Carreno. In fact, growing up in a family of emergency medicine doctors is what originally got her interested in the field.

Carreno — wanting a normal sleep schedule — worked as a medical assistant for nine years prior to coming to Walnut. During her fourth year, Carreno began teaching the subject at the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program (ROP) and Technical Center.

“My favorite part of teaching is that I can be inspiring to the students — I can see that I’ve made a difference in their lives,” Carreno said. “Because we’re talking about something so relevant — healthcare is in the forefront of the media right now — it is everywhere and we are definitely essential workers, so it’s fun to talk about something so relevant.”

Seeking to expand the ROP medical assistance program — top two in California — Carreno adjusted her curriculum from college to high school level after coming to Walnut.

“I’ve always heard that [Walnut] is the best school in the district,” Carreno said. “And I mean it’s kind of amazing here, your school’s awesome [and] you have great people; I just wanted to be a part of it,” Carreno said. “I also know schools, and a lot of people in the Southern California area, so I can help them to grow past high school and that’s exciting. I think they’re excited about it and that makes me like my job even more.”

At daylight, Carreno teaches six classes about advanced emergency medicine and nursing. Not long after, 3-12 hour nursing shifts occupy her day as she works to complete her Bachelor’s Degree Nursing program at Western Governors University. Carreno plans to teach nursing at a college after fulfilling her Bachelor’s Degree in one and a half years.

“I schedule [my shifts] around teaching because teaching is my fun job,” Carreno said. “I’m pretty passionate about what I do, whatever it is, I throw my whole self into it. And so I would hope that my students can see that, and want to find a job that they love.”

By Emily Cao, Feature Editor
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Carreno