Student Support Services making a difference
May 18, 2020
This is the seventh installment in a series of employee spotlights for Ashland Community and Technical College to highlight how faculty and staff are helping students while working remotely.
Despite the change in delivery method, ACTC’s employees are dedicated to providing the best support possible to its students.
Name: Megan Horne
City of Residence: Flatwoods, Ky.
Education: Master’s in Adult and Higher Education (2005)
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: Director, Student Support Services and adjunct instructor for various student development courses
How long have you been with ACTC? Since July of 2006 – 14 years
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? I love getting to work with students – I truly enjoy helping them achieve their educational goals and developing new skills along the way.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? I am very grateful and honored to have the opportunity to teach special topics courses as an instructor at ACTC. I love being an advisor, which is its own form of teaching, but instructing at the college level has been challenging and very gratifying.
How would your co-workers describe you? I would say they think I am passionate about serving students, that I am creative with new ideas to better serve students and someone who is willing to put in the hard work to see those ideas come to fruition.
Who is your biggest role model and why: My mother – and I talk about her with my students all of the time. She was a single mother who worked full-time raising three kids and I’m the youngest. She entered college when I was in middle-school and she didn’t even drive until I was halfway through high school. She was a clerk at the county courthouse, took the city bus each day to work, and attended college at night to earn a two-year paralegal degree. Her associate degree then turned into a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree in counseling. After many years as a nursing home administrator and substance abuse therapist, she decided to do alternative licensure to become a special education teacher. About 30+ years later and about to turn 70 in November, she is still teaching even though she could have retired several years ago, and just recently took a break from her after school job as a family therapist. Aside from working circles around most people, she is extremely intelligent and passionate about helping those who struggle. I use her story because I see my mother (and myself) in the students I work with and many of our students can relate to her story. But I also try to remind them that her children (and our successes) are byproducts of her work ethic and value for education. I firmly believe that she paved the way for me and two older brothers to achieve college degrees and long-term careers – that the trajectory of our lives changed dramatically when she decided to go to college. If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is…Success = BET (Belief x Effort x Time). BET on yourself – you are your best investment. With the right mindset (belief) and hard work (effort), you can achieve your educational goals. But it doesn’t happen overnight (time)…your college education is a marathon (or several marathons…with hurdles and potholes and windy roads), not a sprint. Your personal investment and sacrifice now can pay off in dividends – for you and for those you love – as you earn a college education
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? SSS has tried to be innovative and flexible in terms of meeting the needs of our students. We are advising, tutoring, teaching and having regular staff meeting over Zoom (because it was a quick tool for everyone to learn and use). Probably the highlight so far was a Jeopardy study session for a big test that we held over Zoom. It is something they look forward to in the classroom, so we did it over Zoom and it worked pretty well. Certainly we miss the live and in-person interaction, but it was a fun way to go over course content and perhaps a good distraction for students who are stranded at home. We are also emailing with students like crazy and of course reaching out to students through other modes of communication like phone and Facebook. Many of our staff members are also working on Quizlet to create study tools for students in the future. In general, I would want students to know that we are here for them and we care. We want them to be successful…and can help them negotiate the academic side of the pandemic. We can also just be a friendly person to chat with if they feel isolated, disconnected, or anxious. I think another thing that I will never forget is getting to know my colleagues and students on another level, as we meet so frequently over Zoom and open our homes to each other. We have seen the inside each other’s homes, gotten to know each other’s pets and some family members, and our students have gotten to know us on a more personal level. It is a bonding experience that I will always cherish and has laid the foundation for ways I hope we continue to interact, even after we are no longer forced to be “remote.”
Name: Rebecca Gilliam
City of Residence: Olive Hill, Ky.
Education: Bachelor of Social Work
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: Program Assistant
How long have you been with ACTC? 5 years
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? My favorite things about working at ACTC are helping students succeed by obtaining their goals and the people I am lucky enough to work with every day.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? While at ACTC I have had the opportunity to lead student success seminars, provide mentoring and lead many student activities.
How would your co-workers describe you? I would say they would describe me as outgoing, involved in student affairs and passionate about helping others.
Who is your biggest role model and why: I do not have a specific person I consider a role model. I see qualities in many people I admire and I identify areas where I can improve daily. I see myself in many of the students I work with and I try to incorporate the aspects I have identified into conversations with them to help them look inside and outside themselves to grow. I would hope they would become their own role model.
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is… I hope the students I work with learn that they have the power to make their dreams come true. I want students to learn that with effort, time, and hard work they can reach their goals. I would also want them to learn that their past does not determine their future, they can overcome and move forward.
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? I am available to answer general questions and to provide mentoring and tutoring. I have been creating Quizlet sets to assist students with studying online. If students have any questions they can email or message me and I will be happy to help.
Name: Ron McDavid
City of Residence: Catlettsburg, Ky.
College education/degrees (with years): Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education (2006)
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: Assistant director of Student Support Services TRIO Program that serves first generation, low income and disability students. Providing ongoing advising, transfer advising, mentoring, tutoring services and teaching. My main workload is targeted toward the technical programs and students of those programs. Plus providing academic advising to students in all academic programs.
How long have you been with ACTC? 17 Years and 14 years within Student Support Services.
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? Connecting with students, and some of my advisees have come full circle from student to becoming full-time employees at ACTC. Now we all work together in assisting students for success at the college.
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? Teacher Excellence Awards and Staff Recognition.
How would your co-workers describe you? Supportive, caring, positive, willing to go above and beyond for the student.
Who is your biggest role model and why: Family - loving and supportive
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is… Never give up, ask questions, find resources and finish your degree.
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? Being available online to the students and faculty. Assisting students with services through electronic media as emails, zoom and phone. Building summer and fall class schedules and connecting students to other offices as admission, financial aid etc.., when needed. Connecting with faculty to provide assistance and informing we have tutors that are available through online resources for the students. SSS staff are staying connected through electronic means to provide the sharing of key information during this pandemic.
Name: Susan Wurts
City of Residence: Flatwoods, KY
Education: Associate in Science, ACTC 2006; Bachelor of Arts, Morehead State University 2009; Master of Arts, Morehead State University 2015 (adult and higher education); Associate in Arts, ACTC 2017; Associate in Applied Science, ACTC 2019, Business Administration (Business Accounting and Business Management Tracks)
Role(s) at ACTC and how you interact with students: Academic coordinator with Student Support Services, adjunct mathematics instructor.
How long have you been with ACTC? I started working part-time for Student Support Services in 2005 as a peer tutor. I started working full-time for Student Support Services in 2014 as an academic coordinator.
What are your favorite things about working at ACTC? The family atmosphere and interacting with the wonderful students, staff, and faculty
Special accomplishments while working at ACTC? Nominated for Teaching Learning Excellence Award; Staff Executive Council member.
How would your co-workers describe you? Busy, cares about students and co-workers and has a unique sense of humor.
Who is your biggest role model and why? My parents. They are hard-working and have an impeccable work ethic.
If the students I work with learn one thing, I hope it is… Obviously, I want them to learn the mathematics concepts since I teach math, but I also want them to use all resources available to achieve their goals.
How are you assisting students during the pandemic and what should students know about your area of service during this time? I created a Facebook page for each of my classes so students can still interact with their classmates and ask/answer questions. I also hold weekly Zoom class meetings. I have my computer on all day at home, so I can read and respond to emails quickly. I am also available to have video chats on Facebook, phone conversations or video meetings. We are still here to help.