‘Eye nerd’ goes back to school, inspires daughter

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Audrey Broussard only made it through her freshman year of high school. She got married at 16, dropped out of high school, and “put him through college.” 

She then got her GED and began working. “I’ve done just about everything,” she said, “but for the longest length I was in project management” on several different properties.

Now at 39, Broussard has a 13-year-old daughter who’s going into the 8th grade. “It was really important to me to show my daughter just that I could make it through school, that everyone can do it.”

She signed up for the Ophthalmic Medical Technology program at Portland Community College because “I decided I was absolutely sick and tired of wearing a suit every day and not helping the world in any way, not helping other people in any way.”

For the past two years, she and her daughter have been doing homework together.

“You know, we would do a lot of homework together. There were times when I had projects, and I was like, ‘Why do I even have to do this because it’s busy work?’ and she would be saying the same thing about a project that she had to do,” she said. “And so we would laugh about it and just kind of work through it together.”

But it wasn’t easy. 

“I went from having a grown-up life and a grown-up salary, and we ended up like moving into a one-bedroom apartment so that I could afford it,” she said. “And that took a toll on her too, so I’ve really appreciated her patience.”

She went into the OMT program because “I’m such an eye nerd.”

“I’m an artist and a visual artist, and I do a lot of different types of art that it would be hard to interact with. I do painting and sculptures.”

She equates being a certified ophthalmic technician “to being an eye nurse.”

“Helping people be able to see that art and be able to see the world in general, be able to see their grandchildren, be able to see other humans, I think it’s really a special and unique field to be in.”

It was also an eye-opener for her daughter, Broussard said.

“That’s the part people leave out a lot of times when they’re talking to their children and telling them you can be anything you want. No, it actually takes work, and it takes time, and it takes commitment to complete things to become whatever you want to be.”

Audrey Broussard will go to the commencement on Friday, and she’s very excited to begin working.

“I had four different job offers,” she said.

And she has advice for other people: “If you’re not happy in your everyday life, you need to do something to change that.”

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