Michele Davidson is a Medical Assisting graduate from WVJC Morgantown. She worked as a Paralegal for 10 years before she started the Clinical Medical Assistant program. “I chose WVJC because they seemed to be my best option. They were very nice, credible, and convenient for me. I had originally chosen the phlebotomy program. I liked that program, the instructors, and the program director so well that I decided to further my career with the Clinical Medical Assistant program.”
Her favorite part about attending WVJC was the convenience of the school and the willingness of the instructors to help out when you don’t understand something. “Every instructor I had was willing and always had the time to help out. The classes were not so overwhelming that you couldn’t keep up with the courses.” Michele also appreciates what her education has done for her future and the opportunities it will continue to provide. “Attending WVJC has helped me in such a huge way. I never thought that at my age I would be able to do it, but with the convenience and time that WVJC has to offer, I was able to do it!”
Many people helped Michelle reach her goals at WVJC. “I would say that Rayan Matthews and Kacey Eagle have affected my life the most at WVJC. Having known what they have gone through and seeing them at the school every day to help others succeed gives me the will and passion to want to do the same.” Michelle also credits Samantha Esposito, Bryce Adkins, and Matt Hahn for helping her along the way. Looking forward, Michelle plans to use her education in many exciting ways. “I would like to see myself as possibly already being a nurse and maybe even being an instructor, in five years as well helping others learn and teaching them how to have the career they want to have, as I once did.”
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Clinical Medical Assistant program CLICK HERE
Katlyn Gandee is a Clinical Medical Assistant graduate from WVJC Morgantown. She graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 2014. Before attending WVJC, Katlyn attended West Virginia University at Parkersburg for a year and a half. “They seemed to care a little, but it was really up to you if you went to class every day or not. I didn’t like that I couldn’t take classes that were for my major and what I had planned to do for my career.” She then knew that it wasn’t the place for her to continue her education and decided to check into WVJC to see what they offered.
After checking out the programs, she picked the Clinical Medical Assistant program because ever since she was a young girl she was interested in doing something in the medical field so that she could help others. “Before attending college, I worked at Sweet Frog (a frozen yogurt shop). I knew I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. After I worked there, I stayed with my great aunt who has Alzheimer’s.” Katlyn points to that moment as the time in which she found her calling and knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Her favorite part about WVJC was that all the teachers were willing to help her in any way that they could. “The teachers always found time to help and answer questions that I had about classwork or homework. Everyone cared and wanted you to be successful.” Katlyn specifically points to Rayan Matthews, her program director, as one of her biggest supporters. “She always had faith in me and was telling me that I could do it!” Rayan would remind Katlyn that everything was going to be okay and to stop stressing out when she got too overwhelmed.
Katlyn liked many other things about WVJC, particularly getting the hands-on experience (via her medical labs and externship at WVU Occupational Medicine) for what she would be doing out in her career.
When Katlyn isn’t working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends. “I want to thank my family for always being there and supporting me the whole way through and always telling me to stay positive.”
Her advice for new students is that if you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. The instructors will help you in any way they can. “The hardest obstacle was staying positive and reminding myself that I could do it even when there were times I thought I couldn’t. Staying positive really paid off in the end.” Katlyn is now working at Ruby Memorial Hospital as a phlebotomist.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Clinical Medical Assistant program CLICK HERE
Like most loving mothers, all Melissa Wolfe wanted in life was to provide a better life for her daughter, Joyce. She wanted Joyce to have the opportunities that eluded her when she was Joyce’s age. She wanted this for her daughter so badly that she didn’t think twice when it came time for Joyce to start her Medical Office Administration program at West Virginia Junior College in Morgantown. Without hesitation, Melissa decided to make the necessary sacrifice for Joyce to succeed by driving the hour long commute from Oakland, Maryland to Morgantown every Monday through Thursday so Joyce could attend class. Little did Melissa know that her life was about to dramatically change as well.
Melissa settled into a routine. She would wake up early and get Joyce out of bed and then hit the highway. She would drop Joyce off for class and then she would decide how to kill time. Maybe she would go to Walmart. Maybe she would walk around High Street. Sometimes she sat in the car or in the campus student lounge.
It didn’t take long for Matt Hahn, WVJC’s Director of Adult and Online Admissions, to notice Melissa and inquire about her situation. “Matt approached me one day”, said Melissa. “He invited me to explore some programs and take a look at the classes. He said, ‘Why are you wasting time in the parking lot? Why don’t you get some knowledge and training and earn a degree just like Joyce?’ He was the one who gave me the courage to walk in the building and sign up for class.”
Melissa took a leap of faith and soon she found herself in a college where the instructors and staff care deeply for their students. All it took was a slight nudge and she found a revitalized passion for learning and a yearning to start a new career. Along the way, Melissa built long lasting relationships. Kacey Eagle, MOA Program Director, encouraged her daily and helped her realize, “You’re never too old to learn and believe in yourself. She made me see that I could do this and that I still had a few tricks up my sleeve!”
With renewed vigor and enthusiasm, Melissa became a dedicated and successful student. In just 18 months, she graduated and earned her specialized associate degree in Medical Office Administration and was able to walk across the stage with her daughter, Joyce, during their graduation ceremony.
Upon graduation, Melissa worked closely with Career Management Director, Samantha Esposito. They worked on her resume and interview training. She said, “Sam made a big impact in my life. She forced me to take the reins and take action. She gave me the confidence to get back out into the working world.” With Sam and Kacey’s assistance, Melissa is now working in an administrative capacity at a local hospital. While working, she has decided to enter WVJC’s online Medical Coding program to further enhance her skill set and set herself up for even further career advancement. She achieved her goal of watching her daughter Joyce graduate and is now focused on her own career goals of securing a position as a professional coder and eventually becoming a medical auditor. It’s safe to say that Melissa has come a long way from trying to decide how to fill a few hours while her daughter was in class, and is well on her way to an exciting career in the medical field.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Medical Office Administration program CLICK HERE
Robert Lynch is a successful graduate of West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown, class of 2016, from the Information Technology program. Robert became part of the West Virginia Junior College academic faculty shortly after graduating from the IT program. He jumped at the opportunity to work at the college after having an externship within the IT program under the direction of Robin Addis. Robert is a Technical Support Analyst, primarily focused on WVJC Online. He maintains the technical support for over 400 online students and resolves the issues students might have in regards to their online classes or Canvas. As a devoted and passionate faculty member here at WVJC, Robert strives to ensure that all technology is working appropriately and accurately in order to help the students transition smoothly throughout their online courses.
Robert’s responsibilities as a Support Analyst include, but are not limited to, being the first point of contact if an issue arises and making certain a good ticketing system is implemented. By executing the ticketing system, the numerical order of students that inquire about an issue is maintained and those tickets are taken in the order as they came to him and finished in a timely manner. Robert also assists alongside Ryan Langley, Director of IDT, creating and designing our online campus, Canvas. Robert felt that he was lacking direction and skill within the HTML applications when assisting Ryan with the Canvas design. While working with Ryan, Robert realized he knew more than he thought and was able to rely on his creative and educational background.
Robert has become a crucial and dedicated employee and team member in the IT Department, due largely to Robin Addis and the WVJC faculty during his time as a student. Robert’s drive and intelligence pushed his desire to be the best student possible to achieve what he might have thought was not possible. Robin’s method of teaching during Robert’s time as a student was more strategy and hands-on than lecturing. Robert worked diligently at the hands-on practices that helped engrave the process of networking. This made him the vital employee and certified technician he has become within our team at WVJC. Robert is also working on furthering his education by pursuing a degree in Network Administration and Security at WVJC. As Robert works on his degree in NAS, he is developing his skill set and working on the next level of his Cisco certification, CCNP Security. This is the 2-year goal he has set for himself. Since graduating from WVJC, Robert has established his own business, Twenty-First Century Solutions, which does IT consulting.
Robert’s path up to this point was not necessarily the path he expected he would end up taking. Robert graduated from Morgantown High School in 2007 as a C and D student. After high school graduation, Robert explored his options and gained employment as a car salesman. Robert really enjoyed selling cars. At times he was excelling tremendously, then other times it would plateau. With this type of fluctuation in wages it was too stressful and Robert could not take the chance of receiving minimum wage and/or commission alone. Robert had other job offers which paid more and had a little bit more financial security, but he stated, “I knew I wanted something more for my life”. Robert explored his options at a college, but ended up dropping out. He had several friends that attended WVJC and went through and graduated from the Information Technology program. Robert saw the success his friends had through the program, which made him explore WVJC. Robert knew things needed to change, he needed financial security and stability at this time in his life, due to the expected birth of his daughter, Audrey.
Robert came to WVJC, enrolled as a student in the IT program and became a successful 4.0 student. Robert did have some ups and downs when it came to his 3rd term when his daughter was born during finals. With the help of staff, Robert was able to retake his finals. Even with some hiccups, Robert’s dedication to finishing the program, gave him the drive and desire that helped him become a successful graduate from WVJC in March 2016.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Information Technology program CLICK HERE and for Network Administration/Security CLICK HERE.
Life is about timing and finding your niche. For WVJC Information Technology student Bret Mains, it took some time to find the right college situation. In fact, Bret attended 3 different colleges before settling in at WVJC, where he is now pursuing his passion, and working on launching a career in Network Administration or Cyber Security.
At his previous colleges Bret struggled with impersonal online classes and was frustrated with taking expensive courses with little or no relevance to the career field he hoped to pursue. He decided to transition to a vocational school to study electrical technology so he would have a marketable skill. However, it just wasn’t the right field for him.
In the back of his mind he knew that he was always quite proficient when it came to working with computers. They excited him and his enthusiasm for computers translated to success. After speaking with a friend he decided to take a hard look at WVJC’s Network Admin/Security program.
After doing his due diligence Bret realized WVJC-Morgantown had everything he was searching for! The small class sizes and individual attention appealed to him. The hands on training and logical problem solving approach that is necessary in the Information Technology field is where he excelled. He found an environment where instructors were, “willing to sit down with you and take the time to ensure that you understand the curriculum inside and out.” He has developed a strong bond with his Program Director Robin Addis who he calls, “a phenomenal teacher.”
Bret is now well on his way to a career in networking or cyber security. By staying persistent and deciding to attend WVJC, he has developed a “skill set that will have value in the workplace.” He will leave WVJC with a Specialized Associate Degree and at least 4 certifications (A+, CCNA, CCENT, and Cisco Security). Armed with his degree and certifications, Bret hopes to apply his craft in North Carolina after graduation. He has undoubtedly found his niche.
Cassie Hart is a WVJC student who is expected to graduate from the Pharmacy Technician program in February of 2018. When Cassie graduated high school, she began studying Safety at Fairmont State. She attended FSU for one semester, but knew something was missing. She wanted a college that was smaller, more personable and closer to home. She found WVJC!
She loved WVJC after learning more about the Pharmacy Technician program. The fact that it was so close to home was an additional benefit! Cassie chose the Pharmacy Technician program because she knew several people working in the field and heard many positive things about it. She was most excited to learn how many different types of jobs are available in the field. You can work in hospitals, retail environments, and different kinds of pharmacies! “There are great job opportunities in the pharm tech field,” she says.
Cassie’s favorite part of attending WVJC-Morgantown is the hands-on element of the classes. “WVJC has made me think about my future more and has really affected my life”. Cassie says that the most influential person during her time at WVJC has been Jamie, her Pharmacy Technician Director. “Jamie has taught me so much. She helps me a lot and gives her students a lot of one on one attention.” In five years, Cassie hopes to be working as a Pharmacy Technician at Mylan Pharmaceuticals or Ruby Memorial Hospital.
The fact that technological innovations are disrupting traditional business models and digital technologies will continue to transform the economic marketplace is hardly breaking news to members of West Virginia’s business community. Higher education is no exception.
Across the nation, online education, or distance education, is rapidly growing in popularity. According to the “Almanac of Higher Education,” which is published annually by the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Nearly 29 percent of students were enrolled in distance education courses, either in part or exclusively, in the fall of 2014.”
Today’s college students are turning to distance education in search of flexibility and convenience. Here in the Mountain State, West Virginia Junior College (WVJC) is not just accommodating that demand but also offering a different type of online learning experience. What is unique about the online learning experience at WVJC is that in an environment where technology creates barriers to interaction, WVJC infuses the human element back into the student experience. The faculty, staff and administration have adopted an approach that is based on a foundation of personal and meaningful relationships.
“The secret to a successful online program is not what you might think,” says Chad Callen, campus president of WVJC. “While technology is important, it’s nothing without the people behind it that make it work. A successful online program requires people who understand how to connect and build relationships with other people. Only from these relationships can trust be developed, and from that trust between the student and your people that work in tandem as a single unit, greatness can be accomplished.”
Online education by definition separates the instructor and the student by distance. However, WVJC is committed to putting human engagement back into distance education while still maintaining the in-demand benefits of online education. According to Brittany Nuzzo, academic dean at WVJC, the secret to effectiveness in online education is not just the content and effective delivery of that content through technology but rather the humanization of the online learning experience. “When we constructed our Online Division, we wanted to put the user at the forefront,” she says. “We wanted to humanize distance education.”
WVJC has been able to develop meaningful relationships with students in a variety of ways. Before an online course even begins, a student at WVJC receives a personal phone call from their instructor welcoming them to the class.
“It’s an expectation of our faculty that students have a direct line of access to their instructors,” says Nuzzo. “We also expect our instructors to respond to emails, voicemails and other student inquires within 24 hours, although it is usually much sooner.”
The faculty are also expected to provide timely feedback on student work. In both online and on site courses, students can expect to receive formal, written feedback within 48 hours of submission. Nuzzo knows firsthand the importance of reaching out to students early and responding to their concerns quickly. As academic dean, she makes a point to personally contact each new student at WVJC during their first term. Additionally, she meets with them regularly throughout the year to discuss their progress. As students are quickly made aware, at WVJC, the academic dean, program directors, instructors and support staff are all readily available by phone to offer guidance and feedback.
“Our students have access to their instructors 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explains Nuzzo. “From the time they enroll to the time they matriculate and enter the workforce, we are there to provide them with support and encouragement.”
Nuzzo has personally taken phone calls from students on Christmas Day and knows that other instructors and administrators have done the same for students whose situations were especially urgent.
When a tech-related issue arises at WVJC’s online campus, it is often Ryan Langley, the director of instructional design and technology, or one of his internal staff who fields the call. In an attempt to ensure adequate response times, WVJC has a third-party service available to its students 24/7. However, WVJC prefers tech issues be handled by its internal staff because of the humanized element they add.
“I take a lot of calls outside of business hours,” says Langley. “I trouble shoot students’ technical issues, help fix their computers and internet connections and do my best to quickly and effectively address any other technical issues they might experience while enrolled in our online courses. We even fix viruses and install virus protection software for our students.”
Langley has personally answered phone calls from students in the middle of the night, as have other members of the faculty and staff. “If students are experiencing a hiccup in their progression through their degree program and that hiccup is tech related, we are going to do everything we can to resolve it, even when it’s outside the realm of service a technical support team would normally provide,” he says.
Langley believes technological advancements will help ensure more students gain access to higher education. “We create a lot of opportunities for a lot of people who otherwise might not be able to attend a college or further their education,” he says. “Many of our students work all day. They have to support their families. They cannot take time away from their responsibilities at work and at home to spend all day in a classroom. That’s something I take a lot of pride in. We give students the opportunity to accomplish things they would not be able to accomplish elsewhere, and we’re using technology to do it.”
Nuzzo also recognizes that many of her students, particularly those who are first-generation or nontraditional college students, require extra support to achieve their academic goals. “We are side by side with our students through not only this academic journey but through all of their life pursuits,” she says. “We have seen our students in their darkest hours and their moments of triumph. We have laughed with our students, cried with our students and rejoiced when they have accomplished so much on nothing but perseverance.”
Langley and Nuzzo are both humbled by seeing their students’ accomplishments. “It reminds me daily of why I entered education,” says Nuzzo.
WVJC students are appreciative of the support people like Nuzzo provide.
“WVJC online was a wonderful experience for me,” says Michelle Kornegay, a 2015 graduate of WVJC’s medical assisting program. While attending, Kornegay experienced some family-related issues that could easily have prevented her from achieving the goal she set out to accomplish, but she says the faculty and staff at WVJC were dedicated to her success. “They would not let me quit my journey. They pushed and encouraged me, even when I did not have confidence in myself. It’s because of them I earned my degree,” she says.
While WVJC prides itself on the personal relationships faculty, staff and administrators form with students, just as crucial, it seems, is the relationship students form with the institution itself. According to Callen, it is vital that students feel connected to WVJC on a personal and professional level.
“We accomplish this in several ways,” says Callen. “We often feature our students on our social media when they pass certification exams or get hired into a career they love. One of the most unique methods though is through our random gift mailings. At random times throughout the year we will mail—not email, but traditional snail mail—little mementos to let the students know we are thinking about them and encouraging them and that they are part of a larger family.”
At various points throughout the year, a student at WVJC can expect a Christmas ornament, student survival packet, handwritten note containing words of encouragement or car decal.
Education is, in essence, about human relationships, regardless of how much technology is infused into it. WVJC believes cultivating human relationships is central to the success of an online program. If the school’s online education programs are any indication, the key to maintaining effectiveness in the future will be how institutions of higher education are able to maintain and maximize those relationships as technology disrupts the environment in which those relationships are nurtured.
About the Author
Dr. Amanda. Benigni holds a Ph.D. in literature and criticism and is currently pursuing teaching certification in secondary English education. A resident of Morgantown, WV, Benigni teaches introductory-level composition and literature courses at various institutions of higher education, both in person and online.
Kasmira Kinzer is a medical assisting student at WVJC Morgantown campus. She attended WVU for a couple years before making the decision to switch to WVJC. “I met some great friends there, but academically, I didn’t have a good experience. Teachers didn’t care whether people came to class or understood the material.” Kasmira also disliked that she was required to take several classes that didn’t even relate to her major or future career. As a result, she made the decision to attend a school that more closely aligned with her professional interests. We are glad she made the choice to come to WVJC!
Kasmira also chose WJVC because she could tell that “everyone on the staff team genuinely cared about the students and that we succeed in our careers.” She picked the Clinical Medical Assistant program because she has always been interested in the medical field and wanted to have a career where she can work hands-on with patients. Prior to attending WVJC, Kasmira worked as a shift manager at Panera Bread but she knew that she wanted to explore other career options and she understood that she would need to further her education to pursue her passion. “Since attending WVJC I feel like there is a purpose to life. Before being accepted I was thinking of joining the Army because I wasn’t happy at my job and knew I didn’t want to be in that career path long-term.” Kasmira finally feels that she has found her passion and is excited to move forward with future career opportunities!
Kasmira’s favorite thing about WVJC is that she feels comfortable with her teachers, specifically to ask them questions or for help and they always make time for her if needed. The person that has affected her life the most while being here is Rayan Matthews. “She was once in my shoes graduating from the same program through the same school. She also pushes me to be great and to pursue higher education after graduating from the Clinical Medical Assistant Program.” In five years, Kasmira would like to have her Bachelor’s Degree and then go on to pursue her dream of becoming a Physician’s Assistant.
If you, like Kasmira are interested in the medical field and looking for a college where the staff cares about their students, request information today!
After graduating from University High School in Morgantown, Shaquann Shaw found himself in a situation similar to many other newly minted graduates. He was unsure. He didn’t know his next step or which direction life would take him. He knew he had to survive. He was thinking about college, but work seemed like the more feasible option. He was searching.
Shaq thought he had no choice so he went to work. He tried a little bit of everything. He worked 3 or 4 different jobs. He hustled to find other work on the side doing manual labor. He found some stability working as a salesman at a shoe store, but he realized he wanted more and his life vision began to take shape. He knew he needed college to get to where he wanted to be. He set his sights on earning a degree in Business Administration with the vision of one day owning and operating his own funeral home and crematory.
The transition to college didn’t go smoothly for Shaq. With working 8 hour shifts, he decided to attend a National Online University based off a brochure he stumbled upon leaving work. It sounded good to Shaq. They had a business program and he could study around his work obligations. What he didn’t anticipate was the lack of support. The college he chose struggled to meet his needs. Their technical department was unresponsive and unreliable. He started late due to technical issues and never caught up. He felt that he could never communicate with instructors and instead of going the extra mile to contact them he succumbed to frustration. “I ultimately just gave up,” he said.
Shaq new he couldn’t go out without a fight, so he sought alternatives. He looked at West Virginia University, but was weary of such a large institution. Finally, the stars aligned and he found West Virginia Junior College in Morgantown. He requested information about the Business Administration program at WVJC and after being contacted by the Director of Admissions, Matt Hahn, he scheduled a college visit.
At that first meeting, Shaq realized WVJC had a personal touch and the courses he needed to one day open his business. He figured versatile training in all aspects of business from management, to sales, to marketing and advertising would prepare him for his journey. He decided to give it a shot!
It’s a decision that so far has paid great dividends for Shaq. He has excelled as a student in what he describes as, “a stress free environment of gratitude and support.” He works closely with Brittany Nuzzo, the Academic Dean, and applauds her effort to help him reach his goals. Now, Shaq can see the finish line. He not only has his business degree in sight, but he is also working toward a degree in Legal Office Assisting. His plans are to complete both programs and obtain an externship in a law office and eventually work as a paralegal. From there the goal is to combine the business and legal training and skills to one day open his Funeral Home armed with the knowledge and ability to ensure its success! Quite the story of progress for a young man who not long ago was unsure of where to turn and which direction life would take him.
If you, like Shaquann are looking for a college with versatile training and a personal touch, request information today!
Kaylynd Frazier graduated from WVJC’s Pharmacy Technician program in May 2017. She attended both our online and on-ground campuses so that she could graduate sooner. “I graduated almost 3 months before my original date. It was wonderful!” Before attending WVJC, she worked several years doing odd jobs but wasn’t quite sure which direction she wanted to go. Her friend, Cassandra, who attended WVJC’s Legal Office Assisting program, told Kaylynd about her experience and persuaded her to explore the college. “The first day I met with Matt, I knew I wanted to attend with WVJC,” Kaylynd said. “Matt laid everything out really well and I loved that I wasn’t required to take a bunch of general education courses that weren’t related to what I wanted to study.”
Kaylynd chose the Pharmacy Technician program because she has been interested in the field since high school. Not only did WVJC provide her the assistance she needed to graduate, it also provided her the opportunity to earn a reliable career that has opportunity for advancement. Kaylynd now works full time as a Pharmacy Technician at American Rx Pharmacy!
Kaylynd’s favorite part of attending WVJC was the support from the administrative team and how helpful and supportive they were during her journey. The person who was most influential to her during her time at WVJC was her instructor Kathy because she treated Kaylynd like family. Kacey, the Medical Office Administration director, was also extremely helpful. She loves them both!
In the next five years, Kaylynd would love to be advancing with American Rx, but it is so happy with her current position that she would happily stay exactly where she is.
If you are looking for a new and exciting career as a Pharmacy Technician, request information today!