I'm a Pathfinder: Dr. Mary Cat Flath
May 16, 2023
ASHLAND, Ky. – Dr. Mary Cat Flath has touched the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands, of students who discovered their path to a better life as students at ACTC.
Flath’s ACTC journey began in the fall of 1994 when she and her husband, abruptly moved to Ashland from South Carolina.
“My husband came home one day and said, ‘We’re moving to Ashland, KY’ and I said, ‘Well, it sounds like a pretty place.’ The rest is history. We have been here ever since,” Flath said.
Flath currently serves as the Associate of Science program coordinator at ACTC.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame, IN in 1984 and later received a Ph. D from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in 1991.
Flath was awarded a NIH post-doctoral research fellowship and began her career working in the Chemistry Department at the University of South Carolina but says she was “floundering in the position.”
She was soon approached by her post-doctoral advisor, who asked her to teach his Physical Biochemistry class. Although she initially had reservations about teaching the course, which she had never taken as an undergraduate, she found she loved working with students, and teaching that class led her to teaching at a community college by the following fall.
“I made my way into teaching very serendipitously,” she said. “I was so happy to get that teaching opportunity, because the moment I was in the classroom, even though it was a lot of work, I loved every moment of it, and I still do.”
Dr. Flath taught anatomy & physiology in the South Carolina technical college system for two years before joining Ashland Community and Technical College as an Assistant Professor in Biology. She became an Associate Professor in Biology in 1998 and a full Professor in Anatomy & Physiology in 2004.
Along with Anatomy and Physiology, Flath teaches Introduction to Health Sciences. As a part of the course, she invites various healthcare professionals from the community to speak to her students.
“I believe the classroom experience is what allows that light to go off for students and sparks their interest,” she said.
Under Flath’s leadership, ACTC has developed articulation agreements with both Marshall University and University of Charleston’s schools of pharmacy. Those agreements allow ACTC AS graduates to automatically be granted interviews for admission, so long as they meet all other admissions requirements.
“I tell my students to always keep an open mind and shoot for the stars,” she said.