From handling Amazon logistics and supply chain networks to medical school in the Caribbean for a career as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon – Georgia Highlands College graduates continue to show all the places you can go with a degree from GHC.
Georgia Highlands College will hold the 2022 commencement on the Floyd campus in Rome on May 12.
Three separate ceremonies will take place throughout the day. Ceremonies begin at 10AM and 6PM, with the nursing pinning/commencement ceremony beginning at 2PM.
In this full preview of upcoming graduates and recent graduates, read all about the stories of success from those who chose to start and complete at GHC.
Bachelor’s degree leads to medical school in the Caribbean for Dillan Frazier
In a few months after graduating from Georgia Highlands College, Dillan Frazier will fly out to the Caribbean to attend the Trinity School of Medicine located at St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Dillan started as a GHC dual enrollment student in high school and will finish at GHC with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science. From the moment he started, the goal was always to find a path to graduate school. And for Dillan, this is another step toward a career in medicine that the bachelor’s program at GHC has prepared him for.
After GHC, Dillan will attend his first two years of medical school in the Caribbean, then will conclude medical school in Warner Robins, Georgia.
“Following medical school, I plan to match at a top teaching hospital for Cardiothoracic surgery,” he said. “I will complete a one-year internship and a five-year residency upon completion of medical school. After becoming a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, I will work my way to the Chief of Surgery. My goal is to eventually come back to my community and help keep them healthy.”
A Cardiothoracic Surgeon specializes in surgical procedures of the heart, lungs, esophagus and other organs in the chest.
Dillan said the Trinity School of Medicine is his top choice for medical school, largely due to its student-centered objective.
“The school cares for the students. The teacher ratio is 1:10, and therefore, it allows interaction between professor and student to enable me to grasp the material better,” Frazier said. “Trinity Medical School reminds me a lot of GHC. I am accustomed to professors who care and want their students to succeed. Therefore, I was drawn into this medical school due to my experience at GHC.”
Frazier said he was “speechless” when he learned he had been accepted.
“I never dreamed of going to medical school 6,333 miles away from home. I could not believe that I had been accepted to medical school in my first admissions cycle,” Frazier said. “Being accepted proved that hard work, dedication, and discipline will get you to your dream goal, mine becoming a Cardiothoracic Surgeon.”
Beginning GHC as a dual enrollment student in 2018, Dillan said he knew from day one he wanted to pursue a degree focused on medicine. At that time, GHC had yet to offer a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, so he planned on transferring to another institution.
But in the summer of 2020, Dillan met with an advisor who changed the trajectory of his plan. He learned that beginning fall 2020, GHC would offer a bachelor’s in health science.
“My advisor, [Assistant Director of Advising] Laura Walton, explained that the program was for pre-medical students to be able to attend medical school,” he said. “Seeing the opportunity to save money and dig digger into medicine, I decided to stay at GHC and attend the program. Being in the program was the best decision, as many universities do not offer a medical-based bachelor’s degree but rather a degree in the broad sciences.”
Currently, Dillan works as a Patient Care Technician at Piedmont Cartersville Medical Center and says the experience at GHC and his internship have given him an excellent foundation for becoming a doctor.
He said the most inspiring part of the Bachelor of Health Science program was being able to apply his education directly to the workplace — and vice versa.
“Being a staff member at the hospital gave me a direct experience that allowed me to engage further in my health sciences courses,” he said.
Inside the classroom, Dillan said the best experience he had at GHC came from meeting professors that care for their students.
“Every professor that I have taken from my dual enrollment classes in 2018 to my last semester at GHC in 2022 has been a blessing,” he said. “I encourage all students to pursue their dreams and let nothing stop them. I appreciate all the hard work that the professors have put in to allow me to engage in the course material and apply it to my future endeavors.”
LaQuisha Pillow utilizes all GHC’s flexible options to pursue passion in nursing
LaQuisha Pillow is a nurse at AdventHealth Redmond. Between working full time and taking care of her family, she’ll be the first to tell you Georgia Highlands College provides the flexible optins students need to be successful in their college and career goals.
LaQuisha takes her studies in the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) from GHC and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) with her on the job every day.
“I work on a Step-Down unit with a significant amount of our patient population being cardiovascular and thoracic patients,” LaQuisha said. “This includes open heart surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotids, amputees, chest pain, and more.”
And she has big goals ahead, including pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. GHC’s nursing program and bachelor’s degree, she says, is helping her get there.
“Obtaining my RN-BSN degree will expedite the process of me stepping into a charge nurse or leadership role,” she said.
LaQuisha will be the first to tell you her path toward a bachelor’s wasn’t easy, but she was committed and GHC provided the way.
“I am a non-traditional student, I work full-time hours and overtime when my unit needs it, [and] I am a single-mom… I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed, but I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I let it be my motivation,” she said. “Don’t let life and adversity stop you from achieving your goals. The time will pass regardless, so utilize it to the best of your ability.”
In addition, she said GHC’s flexible class options helped her to move through her education while also handling personal responsibilities.
“Georgia Highlands College offers full-time and part-time options, as well as day and nighttime options. You can absolutely reach your goals, and the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable,” LaQuisha said. “Find the best fit for you, and make it happen.”
She added, “I have always had a desire to fix broken people, whether it be physically or emotionally. Nursing presented the perfect career path to cater to this passion.”
She initially decided to enroll in GHC’s ASN program because she wanted to expand her knowledge and skill set while attending a local college and continued on to the RN-BSN program to widen her career options.
“I enjoy learning and mentally challenging myself, and the RN-BSN program allows me to explore various avenues in nursing,” LaQuisha said. “I have learned that in the nursing profession you will never know it all. There is a continual learning process that requires your active participation. It wasn’t until about a year and a half into nursing that I felt like I finally got it and understood processes and transitioned from being so task oriented.”
While pursuing her degrees at GHC, LaQuisha also had the opportunity to share her knowledge with local youth through the Bartow County School System’s Teen Maze, held regularly at GHC’s Cartersville site.
“The Teen Maze simulation provides information about the consequences of alcohol, substance abuse, unhealthy sexual behaviors, and other elements that can harm young people,” LaQuisha said. “I was surprised to learn that the students did believe many of the myths that were circulating. Teen Maze was an eye-opening experience for me to discover that I enjoy being an educator.”
Following graduation, LaQuisha plans to spend another year working with cardiovascular and thoracic patients before pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. She said working another year in her current role will provide her with the opportunity to determine whether she would like to work as a nursing practitioner or in nursing education.
“I would like to explore different career paths of nursing, and I believe that GHC’s RN-BSN [helped] contribute to the process,” LaQuisha said.
Bachelor’s in logistics and supply chain management from GHC gives Eric Johnson a path to high-level positions at Amazon
In his current role at Amazon as a Learning Assistant, Eric Johnson has always wanted to find a clear path to higher-level positions. Eric found that path with the Bachelor of Business in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Georgia Highlands College.
He said his general interest in logistics and supply chain management has come from his time at Amazon – where the skills are highly sought-after and highly utilized within the company.
Eric started his college journey pursuing an associate degree at GHC focused on business administration. He then used that as a foundation for the bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management at GHC.
“Through the program at Georgia Highlands College, I have gained significant knowledge on logistical processes, problems and solutions that have translated over to my current job with Amazon,” Eric said. “The result has made me more skillful and able to quickly problem-solve to ensure an efficient flow through the warehouse and down the road.”
Eric graduates with his bachelor’s degree from GHC in May 2022. He said the new skills he has learned will give him the option to improve on his current role at Amazon, as well as explore higher-level positions at Amazon thanks to earning his bachelor’s at GHC.
“It is important for me to be financially independent and stable as it creates a better life for not only me but my family around me,” Eric said. “I would like anyone who is thinking about going to college to do it! It will help and enhance your life in ways you cannot begin to imagine.”
Untangling and solving the complicated and complex issues facing logistics and supply chain today are at the forefront of the learning process at GHC. While logistics and supply chain management covers a breadth of topics, Eric said supply chain risk mitigation is one aspect he finds very interesting, and it ties directly into what he does at Amazon.
“There are several aspects to mitigating risk within the supply chain through management programs, process problem identification plus solution, as well as ideologies such as ISO 31000 (risk management),” he said.
Eric explained how what he learned at GHC is vital to solving logistics and supply chain problems which ultimately make for a better future in the field that has grown tremendously over the past few years.
“Being able to diversify and become a creative problem-solver in risk mitigation has proven beneficial as I worked for the Network Operations Center team for Amazon tracking risk via over-the-road transportation and warehouse operations. I was able to connect the dots and develop a better understanding through GHC’s program by connecting it with my job and it has almost become an obsession.”
Eric has been very happy with his experience working one-on-one with faculty at GHC, leading to expanding and growing his knowledge beyond just what happens in the classroom. In his studies, Eric developed a supply chain risk mitigation honors project with Logistics and Supply Chain Management Professor Lucinda Montgomery.
“Not only has [Professor Montgomery] allowed me to run with the project and go multiple different directions with it, but she’s also been wonderful as it pertains to understanding how my mind operates,” he said.
Eric said the amount of care, support, and attention GHC faculty gives students really helps to make a difference in the learning outcomes and success rate with each project and class.
“[Professor Montgomery] has been understanding that it is difficult for me to translate my thoughts to paper and provided me with several ideas and avenues on how to handle it and create a truly enticing project,” he said. “She has been a very influential person in my life for [these last few] years and I am incredibly grateful that she allowed me to work on this project with her.”
Utilizing the history of logistics and supply chain alongside current aspects, Eric and a group of his classmates researched and presented on the topic of Digital Twins.
“Digital Twins is a fascinating topic ranging back to NASA and how they would model parts of their stations and tools back on earth,” he said. “The point of this was that if something went wrong, they could figure out how to solve the issue on earth for easier operations in space.”
He explained currently Digital Twins are used in recreating human environments, warehousing processes and are even used in how we create T-shirts on a simplistic level.
“Having a digital version of a physical object or situation improves the ability to edit, reprogram, or modify to have a successful product or process,” he said. “On a basic level, think how we go online to custom order something – we get to see the digital version of the physical object we have ordered.”
Eric also completed a 3D warehousing project for the program, which allowed him to utilize his experience from working at Amazon.
“Being able to identify parts of a warehouse such as cross-dock and the type of warehouses such as an ‘L’ shape or ‘I’ shape proved to be beneficial to my team at the time,” he said. “While I had the familiarity, putting it together was somewhat more challenging. Going from paper to physical object proved a unique and creative challenge that we winded up fairing well on.”
Additionally, Eric interned with the Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority, which he said provided him with a unique and exciting analytical perspective of how the local economy functions.
“Being able to see behind the scenes how companies find suitable land and buildings to purchase/lease and the variables they look at the most has been a tremendous eye-opener for me,” he said.
Breanna Normandy joins one of the fastest growing career sectors after earning bachelor’s at GHC
After adding a Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia Highlands College to her resume, Breanna Normandy broke into the rapidly growing field of logistics and supply chain management, which was the focus of her degree.
She said her decision to enroll at GHC for a bachelor’s degree was crucial for getting the career she was looking for, and her time at GHC helped her learn the skills necessary to be an effective leader.
“There is nothing you cannot do with this degree,” she said.
Breanna works as a Warehouse Supervisor for National Diversified Sales, Inc. (NDS). She’s also in charge of Retail Customer Compliance. Originally interning for the company as a part of her studies at GHC, she said the company created the supervisor position in order to bring her on full time after she graduated.
“There is endless opportunity,” she said.
A typical day for Breanna has her flexing all her bachelor’s degree skills, she added.
“I spend about 50% of my time in the warehouse, helping and observing safety and productivity,” she said. “For the other 50%, I am creating Tableau dashboards for retail compliance, disputing charges with retailers, and on many process improvement calls.”
But for her, what’s even more exciting, is the opportunity to help the company continue to grow through her supervisory role, saying she hopes she can help “create more supervisor positions in NDS at all our warehouses to continue the great mentorship NDS has to offer.”
Breanna said that managing communication and workflow across a large warehouse operation effectively can be one of the most challenging aspects of her role, but GHC’s bachelor’s program prepared her to be a great leader in the workplace.
On top of the most interesting topics for her, like learning about the in-depth process of internal logistics, Breanna said the leadership classes she took in the bachelor’s program have been essential to her. She even goes back to reference her class notes and textbooks for guidance when confronting a particularly difficult scenario.
Additionally, Breanna notes the bonds she built with her fellow classmates in the same bachelor’s cohort who went through the program alongside her and helped her develop key leadership skills like teamwork.
“Being in the same class with the same students created such a strong bond and friendship as a group,” she said, adding she and her classmates would go out to dinner and enjoy other activities and events together. “One girl from class is now my best friend and I speak to her every day. Another friend from class gave me my German Shepherd after class one day and now he’s the light of my life.”
Breanna added that anyone considering the Bachelor of Business Administration in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at GHC should know the program itself is designed to give students the knowledge and skillset needed to be successful in the field – and she’s the proof.
Katherine Moore takes charge of the business behind healthcare management with a bachelor’s degree from GHC
Healthcare continues to be one of the fastest growing career sectors in the nation, and for students like Katherine Moore, the option at Georgia Highlands College to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management is the perfect route to become an essential member of any healthcare management team.
As a graduate of the program, Katherine says earning her bachelor’s from GHC has allowed her to follow a longtime career goal. Currently serving as Senior Patient Intake Coordinator at Fresenius Medical Care, she said the role is a perfect fit for what she has envisioned for a career in healthcare.
Katherine always wanted to join the rapidly growing healthcare field, but it wasn’t until she sat down with faculty and staff at GHC that she learned about how many options there really were.
“I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, however I was not personally drawn to bedside care such as nursing, therapies, or anything that was in a direct hospital or clinical setting,” Katherine said. “I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare, however I knew very quickly that I was not meant to be a nurse or a physician. I still wanted to work in the sector, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
After completing her associate degree in business administration, Katherine started the Bachelor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management at GHC and felt the program would be the best route for her to pursue a career in healthcare. She said she found it interesting to learn about the behind-the-scenes elements of working in the field.
“Everyone knows about the patient care aspect and billing, but you don’t fully realize all of the other departments and hands that are involved with patient care, such as Social Workers, Case Managers, Operations Specialists, Hospital Liaisons, and so many more,” she said.
Katherine describes her position at Fresenius Medical Care as working as both a Coordinator and a Supervisor/Manager.
“I have my own caseload of patients that we get from outside sources, and I have to place each patient at a clinic, obtain medical documents, obtain insurance clearance, and confirm the patient’s medical acceptance and appointment times,” she said. “I also assist my team of nine other coordinators with their caseloads and assist them with placements with various types of barriers.”
Although every day is a little different, Katherine said a typical day in her role consists of assisting her team with handling dialysis placements in various ways, such as speaking to clinics, solving problems with the placement itself, and guiding on efficient ways to handle one’s caseload. In addition, she has to pull reports, obtain statistics for upper management, and numerous other tasks that are passed over to her that vary throughout the day.
She says handling her varying and growing volume of responsibilities is the most challenging aspect of her position.
“Some days, you will have a very light caseload and it’s easy to work, but other days, your case load triples, and you have to manage both your time and your resources to take care of all of your patients,” Katherine said.
Katherine said she considers graduating Magna Cum Laude as her greatest accomplishment while at GHC but is also proud of being a first-generation college graduate. She also says that her education at GHC has helped her in numerous ways that she did not expect.
“You don’t realize how much you learn in college and use in your day-to-day life,” Katherine said. “I remember sitting in my Organizational Behavior class and thinking ‘I will never use this in my career,’ but then you enter the field and it’s actually a very useful skill that you acquired.”
She says anyone considering continuing their education with a bachelor’s degree should keep in mind that the degree opens the door to numerous opportunities, rather than limiting a graduate to a specific position.
“You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do for a long-term career, so going for a long-term bachelors will not lock you into something,” Katherine said. “Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you will learn a lot of skills in these bachelor’s programs at GHC that can translate to other sectors and industries.”