MORGANTOWN – The separation of some 60 miles doesn’t keep Missy Helmick and Brianna Harlan, two medical assisting students at the WVJC eCampus, from engaging in a lively class discussion about drug testing.
As part of their Anatomy and Physiology III class, both learners participate in the latest week’s discussion forum. Helmick poses her opinion about the merits of drug testing and Harlan answers back in agreement and offers her two cents, as well.
Distance doesn’t keep these two motivated women from learning, helping each other, and getting an education. The discussion – one of the many they’ll participate in – are just part of their shared journey to earn a degree at the West Virginia eCampus and pursue a career in the medical assisting field.
And, even though they live in different towns in West Virginia, they’re both learning a lot and enjoying the eLearning environment together.
“I am in medical assisting and I really enjoy it,” Helmick, from the inaugural eCampus cohort, said. “I wanted to be in a field where I could help people and make a difference. I lost my Mom at a young age to cancer and I always felt helpless and felt like I couldn’t do anything for her. I want to be able to be in a field that is in high demand and where you can feel needed and wanted.”
For Harlan, another original cohort student, it was the same passion that drove her to the medical assisting field.
“I’m in the medical assisting program because I love working in the medical field and love helping others,” said the 21-year old.
The WVJC eCampus offers these learners the convenience of balancing life, work, and school, which is one of the main attributes that attracted the two West Virginia residents.
“I chose to attend WVJC Online because I work a full-time job and I am a single, full-time mother,” Harlan said. “I figured WVJC Online would be most beneficial for me because of my busy life.”
Helmick, who also balances family and work, lives too far away to make a reasonable commute each day for classes. So she said she appreciated the convenience of the online classes and the staff members who assist a student like herself miles away.
Both medical assistant students also added that they have enjoyed their experiences with their online classes so far.
“My favorite class was learning to be an online student successfully with David Grimes,” Helmick said. “I also really love my classes now with (medical instructor) Tammy Kaylor. She is just awesome. She is my favorite and most challenging at the same time.”
Harlan shares the same views with her classmate.
Well, she sort of does.
“My favorite classes are the classes that involve learning about anything health care related,” Harlan added. But, she jokingly quips, “Sorry Dave, not student strategies.”
One thing they both definitely share is the support of their instructors and staff. The open door policy and the convenience of having a teacher’s email, phone number, and Facebook page, has made communication a helpful and appreciated part of the WVJC eCampus.
“I would have to say the person that supports me the most is (Academic Dean) Brittany Nuzzo during the very hard times these past couple of months,” Helmick said. “She has been there for me along with Tammy Kaylor. She is always there for me and is very good about getting whatever kind of help is needed for me to succeed.”
Helmick also thanked Erin Goldman, admissions representative, and Ben Larke, financial aid officer, who worked with her during the enrollment process.
“They both worked very hard to get me into school and helped me in every form that they could,” Helmick added. “Erin did a great job getting me enrolled into school and helped me get my paperwork done correctly. Then Ben took over (and) well, let me say, he had a lot of homework to do when it came to me. And he got A+ for everything he got done for me and is still helping me with certain things.”
Harlan also shared positive praises and appreciated her support inside and outside of the classroom.
“I would like to thank all of my wonderful instructors for helping me with any questions I’ve had,” Harlan said.
She also gave a shout out to her parents, who are her best supporters.
“My parents support me the most,” the 21-year old added. “They always encourage me to keep pushing forward through life.”
When not neck deep in schoolwork, Harlan enjoys anything that deals with basketball. She also loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking or just being out in the sunshine.
For Helmick, she likes to spend time fishing, camping, reading and spending time with her family, especially on the beach. She is also looking forward to the arrival of her new granddaughter any day now.
They will continue to balance their home lives, work efforts, and school days in an effort to become even more successful and reach a goal that they set forth on themselves.
So, even though many miles separate Harlan and Helmick, both outdoor enthusiasts can look up and know that they not only share the same beautiful West Virginia sky, but they also share the same drive, passion, and online journey to graduate and become successful in the medical field.