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The latest news from Northern Marianas College

Eight graduates of Northern Marianas College’s Certificate of Nursing Assistant Program recently passed the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) Exam and are now certified nursing assistants (CNA). They are Jesica Andebor, Rita Atalig, Jan Bobadilla, Shannelle Decena, Cassie Matta, Kiara Manganti, Min Kyu Song, and Jo Rivera. Song is a graduate of the cohort from 2020 while the rest are from the 2021 cohort.

The NNAAP exam is an industry certification developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to measure competency in nurse aide skills. To prepare for the NNAAP, seven underwent a rigorous 10-week training course hosted by the College’s Nursing Department last year. 

“We are extremely proud of our graduates who are certified nursing assistants,” NMC Nursing Department Chair Rosa Aldan said. 

Recently-certified nursing assistant Rita Atalig said she wants to continue her nursing education and return to her home island of Rota to help her community.

“I realized this was a great opportunity in learning what it takes to work in healthcare, especially since I am pursuing a degree in Nursing,” Atalig said. “I wanted to have a glimpse into what goes on in healthcare and found it was something I enjoyed taking part in. My biggest inspiration to continue this field is my family.” 

Jo Rivera, said that being a part of NMC’s CNA preparatory program was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“The clinical experience exceeded my expectations,” Rivera said. “Unlike at NMC, most CNA programs on the island do not include hands-on experience with a patient. You gain clinical experience in a hospital setting with real live patients and gain a wealth of knowledge that you can employ later in your career.”

Cassie Matta shared the same sentiments.

“I have learned a great deal of information and have enjoyed the journey, especially my time during clinicals,” Matta said.

Jan Bobadilla, who is currently in NMC’s nursing program, said that becoming a CNA is a great way to be introduced to the world of nursing. 

“As my first year as a Nursing student comes to a close and I prepare for my second year, I can say with confidence that becoming a CNA has made my nursing experience much better because I use many of the skills that I gained in the CNA program in the Nursing program,” Bobadilla said. “A big inspiration for me is one of my nursing instructors, Rhonda DiCostanzo. She showed me the importance of doing everything in my power to be the best I can be, whether in nursing or some other field.”

Jesica Andebor said she had a great experience in the program.

“Mr. Aldan and Mrs. Aldan were great teachers and mentors,” Andebor said, referring to the program instructors. “I am grateful for all the lessons they've taught me. I had so much fun experiencing new things during clinicals and meeting a bunch of different people." 

Kiara Manganti said she wanted to become a CNA to help people and make a difference in their lives.

“I have learned so many things from providing the basic care, as well as assisting in activities of daily living, and seeing positive changes in patients,” Manganti said.

Shannelle Decena said as a certified nursing assistant, she plans to serve in her local health center, and to be a registered nurse.

“I would like to thank my instructors for their patience, guidance, and advice as well as my classmates for their help and encouragement,” Decena said. “I would not have been able to complete this program without the support of my parents, who at the time took care of my son."

For more information about NMC’s CNA preparatory program, visit or email

Photos are attached below. Photo of Min Kyu Song was not provided.