In-Demand Program: Sleep Technology

Ernestina Genis

Rain, hail, lightning, thunder…Ernestina Genis won’t go under. Even the odd blizzard will not dissuade the 21-year-old Minneapolis College student from a typical day that looks like this:

A 12-hour shift as an intern at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital or Hennepin County Medical Center from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.; a dash home to take 4-year-old son Ethan to the YWCA for day care; a three-to-four nap; classes in her Sleep Technology classes at Minneapolis College, then back on the merry-go-round for the same curtain call.

Without a car, Ernestina battles assorted varied weather conditions, fatigue, homework, dealing with peaks and valleys of a 4-year-old. She lives in her hometown of Minneapolis with her mother, Angelica, also a single mom, and two younger brothers.

Juggling College and Family is Hard but Paying Off Big

Ernestina wouldn’t trade a minute of her experience for the end result: dual high school and college diplomas from Longfellow Alternative High School and Minneapolis College in June.

“I am super proud of myself that as a teen mother I continued my education and didn’t drop out,” Ernestina said. “I am so amazed that I am able to balance everything – classes, work, parenting a 4-year-old child.”

Typical high school celebrations and milestones are not in the program. “I’ve never been to prom,” she said. “I dedicate myself to education and to my son.”

Has Strong Bond with Academic Advisor

She credits her Minneapolis College advisor, Nicole Thomas, and her son, Ethan for pushing her on.

“Nicole Thomas has been the most influential person at (the College),” Ernestina said. “She always kept me going through the hard times.”

And Ethan? “If not for Ethan, there would be no Longfellow High School, no Minneapolis College,” she said.

“Ernestina is motivated, determined and incredibly hard working,” said advisor Thomas. “She has always been focused on her education and providing a great life for her son. Even when I could tell things were overwhelming and difficult, she would still show up to my office with a smile on her face and continue to move forward. Ernestina has earned each and every one of her accomplishments and I could not be more proud of her.”

Ernestina chose sleep technology after performing volunteer work with nurses caring for new babies at Hennepin County Medical Center. “Sleep Technology is a better fit for me,” she said.

Sleep Technology is a Hot Field

Sleep Technologists play a key role in the rapidly growing field of sleep disorders diagnosis and treatment. In her Sleep Technology studies, Ernestina has learned the skills needed to perform high quality sleep studies, as well attaining a knowledge of sleep disorders and therapeutic interventions used to help patients attain healthy sleep is the basis of the field study and learning how to work with a variety of equipment to perform diagnostic sleep studies and therapeutic interventions with patients.