The 26-year-old Oak Lawn native works full time at a job she adores. She is looking for a condo so she can move out of her parents’ house, and she’s planning to go back to school and use the $2,500 scholarship she recently received from her alma mater.
“It’s just so weird that it happened to me,” Malivuk said.
“Weird” because she had to turn her life around to get there. But for doing that in her personal life, as well as professionally and academically, Malivuk recently received the 2011 Dream Award — and the scholarship — from Everest College. She is a 2010 graduate of the school’s medical insurance coding and billing program.
Before her personal makeover, Malivuk faced a lot of adversity, some of it self-induced, in a short period of time. She lost her driver’s license and her job. Then she lost a baby, through miscarriage.
Without a license, she stayed at a local restaurant job after high school until she was 21. When she moved on, it was for a job in collections — and she lost it a year later.
“There was a customer on the phone who continued to profusely swear at me,” Malivuk said. “I’d had enough and I hung up. It’s against company policy to hang up, no matter what.”
Shortly after she was fired, she found out she was pregnant.
“I was scared because I didn’t have a job. I didn’t know what I was going to do after that,” Malivuk said. “I didn’t know anything.”
Malivuk then enrolled in Everest College’s medical billing program at the Merrionette Park campus. She knew nothing about the medical field, but had been an honors student at Oak Lawn High School.
“I worked really hard,” she said.
But just when Malivuk began to feel confident in herself and her plan — she enjoyed Everest, her teachers and her fellow students — she miscarried.
This time, instead of letting adversity hold her back, she was compelled to earn her certification.
“That was really my motivator,” she said.
Malivuk not only excelled in her studies, but as a student ambassador, encouraged other students to do so. She inspired a longtime friend, Chrisoula Tritsarolis, 27, to enroll and complete the medical billing program as well.
“I was so motivated to do well, I wanted everyone else to be motivated to do well,” Malivuk said.
For that, her instructor, Rudaina Swais, nominated Malivuk for the Dream Award.
“I think that Becky wasn’t just able to succeed, she was able to multiply her dream and success and share it with other people,” Swais said.
Malivuk now has been working in medical billing at Practice Management Resource Group in Tinley Park for more than a year and a half. She was offered the job after serving her required externship there.
She refuses to give herself too much credit for her turnaround, though, saying people such as Swais inspired her.
“I’ve never won an award in my life,” she said. “I was that other person.”