May 25, 2021
GC sets milestone with grads from 3 new programs
Addictions counseling, paramedic, sport management grads lauded
Three of Garrett College's newest academic programs recently honored their first group of graduates as part of GC's 2021 Commencement Exercises.
The College recognized six graduates in addictions counseling, five in sport management, and one in the new articulated continuing education-to-credit paramedic program. Graduates said these programs address critical voids in the Garrett County community.
"I have a family member who has suffered with addiction," said Oakland resident Susan Beth Shelton Smith, a retired teacher working toward a second career. "In watching her struggles, I was feeling like I wanted to do something. I didn't want to just sit on the sidelines. I wanted to help addicts and their families."
Chelsea Michelle Sines-Ortiz of Oakland, indicated one of the most valuable experiences of the addictions counseling program is the required internship.
"I had a really good experience in my field work," said Sines-Ortiz, noting she currently works at a local facility with clients who have co-occurring disorders. "I really feel this program has prepared me to help people with addictions."
Josh Bosley, an Allegany County paramedic, said the creation of the paramedic degree allowed him to use both his previous education and experience to earn an educational milestone required for career advancement.
"To gain a spot in our management tier requires some type of degree," explained Bosley, who resides in Cresaptown. " This was one step necessary to move up the ladder." Sport management graduates indicated the practical, real-world experience earned through that program was particularly valuable.
"It taught me all of the aspects to the career," said Andrew Hamilton, who interned with Garrett College baseball coach Eric Hallenbeck. A resident of Fairmont, W.Va., Hamilton said he learned "the whole nine yards" in supporting athletics events while working NJCAA Division II basketball and baseball games as part of his internship.
Michael Joyce of Land O Lakes, Fla., said the sports management program provides him with a potential path to stay in sports, which has been a multi-generational interest in his family.
"I've always been involved in sports ever since I can remember," said Joyce. "I grew up playing baseball and basketball, and my dad played football. My grandfather competed in triathlons. I hope to start off as a coach and work my way up to an athletic director."
"These programs illustrate Garrett College's commitment to constantly evolve to meet community needs," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "I'm very proud that we're always seeking ways to revise our curriculum to support our community."
Across the three dramatically different majors, students said they had similar collegiate experiences.
"All of the instructors for all the classes were wonderful," Smith said of the addictions counseling program. "[Program Director] Nicole Andrews was great to work with – she's always finding ways to make the program work for the students. She's a phenomenal leader and director for the program, but also a great instructor. "
"Everyone at GC was really great," said Bosley. "They helped along the way getting my credits transferred over. The advisors were absolutely wonderful figuring out the classes I needed to take."
Bosley said his instructors worked around his challenging paramedic schedule.
"I had odd hours – 24 hours on, 72 off – and I had tests on dates I'd be working," recalled Bosley. "I'd be taking a test and someone calls 911 – I had to go. The instructors worked with my schedule so that I could complete exams a day early or a day late. Everyone was so helpful."
Bosley said the paramedic program is filling a huge regional void.
"It's one of the only paramedic programs with an associate's degree being offered in our area," he noted.