Student Spotlight: Growing With Grifols


Posted In: Case Studies, Students

Feb • 15 • 2017

Leonor (Leo) Vicente, a loving parent of two children, values family. She lives down the street from her mother and next door to her aunt and uncle. In 2001, Leo’s entire world changed when she lost her husband, followed by the loss of her father several years later. Leo started to feel like she was losing herself, too.

College for America Student, Leo Vicente

Leo Vicente, College for America Graduate

Leo’s journey to get back on her feet began in 2008 when she joined Grifols as a donor processor. With no previous experience in the plasma donation industry, she set out to rebuild her life, her family, her home, and her career. After several promotions, Leo was experiencing rapid growth at Grifols but knew that, without a degree, she had gone as far as she could. “I needed a degree to continue advancing in my profession,” she said.

Not wanting to take on college debt, Leo hadn’t previously considered pursuing a degree. Then she learned about Grifols’ partnership with College for America, a nonprofit, accredited college delivering affordable, applicable, and flexible education to working adults. “My employer announced they would be opening up a pilot program for those interested in going back to school and the cost was 100% paid upfront by the company as long as I remained an employee. Well, I plan on retiring with Grifols so it sounded like a plan,” she stated.

At College for America, students work on creative, real world projects to develop relevant skills and knowledge that can be applied directly in the workplace. With no courses or exams, students can set their own pace, moving quickly through subjects they are familiar with and spending more time where they need it.

It is this flexibility that drew Leo to College for America’s degree programs. She recalls, “It was online and based on past experience.” Through College for America’s simple online learning platform, students have 24/7 access to all of the materials they need to earn their degrees.

Leo enjoyed working on the projects that make up College for America’s curriculum. When asked how College for America’s degree programs have helped her, Leo says, “I now have confidence in my ability to learn new things and to not let the feeling of failure keep me from learning at my age.”

“Today, I stand feeling pretty good about how far I’ve come… I owe it all to a company that gave me a second chance at life.”


Throughout their entire degree program, students at College for America receive support both from dedicated Learning Coaches and from other students in the learning community. Leo has really enjoyed being part of College for America’s learning community, stating, “I used to be a loner… It helped me become more sociable with people whether I spoke to them in person or by internet or social media.”


Earning her Associate of Arts in General Studies allowed Leo to pursue the Assistant Manager position she holds now. On average, College for America’s associate degree students are on pace to complete their programs in 2.1 years, while bachelor’s degree students are on pace to finish in 3.0 years. Leo was able to advance through the programs at an extraordinary pace. After earning her associate degree in just four months, she enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management program, with a concentration in communications, and finished in just over a year. Leo says that having her bachelor’s degree keeps her eligible for future growth at her company.

Since joining Grifols, Leo has been committed to rebuilding her life, her home, and her career. Through College for America’s partnership with Grifols, Leo has made tremendous strides toward that goal. She states, “Today, I stand feeling pretty good about how far I’ve come. I have two wonderful children who now work for Grifols, too. I am an assistant manager with two degrees paid for by this great company of mine… I owe it all to a company that gave me a second chance at life.”