Katie Lotson

GateWay Grad Overcomes Hardships, Looks Forward to Making a Difference

Katie Lotson has always enjoyed helping others. Prior to joining the Respiratory Therapy program at GateWay, she was a Military Police Soldier in the Army National Guard. After having her first two children, she made the decision to return to school. She chose GateWay because of the affordability and the option to complete her Arizona General Education Curriculum while on the program waitlist.

“I am a hands-on learner and wanted to have that experience in the classroom and in a clinical setting,” she shared.

Lotson quickly fell into the routine of balancing school and family life. She developed close relationships with her classmates and teachers, which was further demonstrated during her third semester. Like many parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lotson’s daily routine was turned upside down. Her two young children who previously attended daycare were now at home with her during lockdown.

“During that time, it was very difficult to focus on school work while having my children home with me.”

To add to the stress of school and motherhood, Lotson also became pregnant. But, she was determined to graduate on time and attended her clinicals until she was 41 weeks pregnant in order to complete all her hours.

“During that time, I experienced horrible back pain and feet swelling but I focused on my goals and was able to fight through the pain. My baby was born one month before the completion of 3rd semester, and I had to balance continuing to study and attending lab classes in person with a new baby.”

When asked what advice she would give to fellow students, she had this wisdom to share, “Don't be afraid to admit you need help.”

This mother of three has a bright future ahead of her. Upon graduating in May, Lotson plans to take her board exam and begin working as a Respiratory Therapist. Her hope is to finish the four classes she needs to complete her bachelor’s degree through Northern Arizona University and find employment that allows her to work in the Intensive Care Unit.

To learn more about the Respiratory Care program visit: http://bit.ly/RespiratoryCareSuccess.