Alumni thrive in their careers and lives with BGSU Firelands education
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Alumni success spotlights for November 2023
By Patrick Pfanner
Bowling Green State University Firelands is a vibrant learning community where students' personal and academic growth intertwines.
This an ongoing series highlighting student and alumni journeys at BGSU Firelands and beyond.
At BGSU Firelands, education transcends boundaries, becoming a journey tailored to each unique story, and offering a foundation of knowledge for a lifetime of success.
Janae Hatfield '23: Finding career success
Janae Hatfield's BGSU Firelands journey reflects resilience and determination that culminated in her earning an associate degree in Spring 2020 and later a Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies degree in Spring 2023. Adapting to virtual learning during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the computer networking major used video calls and other remote learning options to connect with peers and spend extra time on coursework.
Her worries were eased in part due to supportive faculty like Martin Anderson, the Computer Networking program coordinator at BGSU Firelands.
"He was always so understanding and helpful," Hatfield said, noting that faculty support was one of many reasons she chose to attend BGSU Firelands.
"The biggest reason was that the college was close to home and affordable. I was able to continue working while going to school. I was able to travel more and experience new places because of the money I was able to save. I was able to spend more time with my family and friends."
Currently working within McGraw Hill's IT department, a global educational publishing company, Hatfield attributes her career success to the resources provided by BGSU Firelands like resume assistance, advice from IT professionals, and mock interviews, which played a crucial role in her entry into the workforce.
Hatfield acknowledges BGSU Firelands as a vital part of her journey, providing not just education but lifelong tools for success.
"BGSU Firelands has enriched my life personally and professionally," she said. "I was able to work and attend school all while continuing my hobbies and interests outside of school. I met some amazing people who I call my lifelong friends. Professionally, my degree has provided the tools to be confident in my career field and knowledge that I can take with me for years to come."
Anthony Campbell '11: Affordable education made all the difference
Anthony Campbell's path to BGSU Firelands highlights the transformative power of affordable education.
"The biggest concern I had was about financing my degree," Campbell said. "I grew up with a single parent, and BGSU Firelands was the most affordable option."
Choosing BGSU Firelands for its affordability, Campbell earned an Associate in Science in 2011, laying the foundation for his journey to further education.
Campbell said he thrived thanks in part to business classes taught by Dr. Michelle Brodke, the program coordinator for the Small Business Enterprise concentration within the Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies.
"Dr. Brodke's classes led me to discover my interest in analytics," Campbell said, noting this wasn't a career path he initially considered but grew to enjoy.
Campbell is the director of analytics at NOMS Healthcare in Amherst, Ohio.
Campbell's experience at BGSU Firelands wasn't just about academics; it was about forging connections. Campbell said he routinely encounters folks in the community whom he met while visiting the Teaching and Learning Center — a supportive resource on the Firelands campus where students receive tutoring and academic coaching.
Tracy Byington '11: From uncertainty to social work expertise
Tracy Byington's educational journey at BGSU Firelands spans the early 1990s and includes a return from 2007 to 2011. Initially uncertain about her college path, she excelled in liberal arts courses, emerging as an excellent writer, before finding her footing in social work.
"I wasn't the best student in high school, but I blossomed at BGSU Firelands," Byington said. "I am the first person in my extended family to earn a college degree."
Byington was laid off from her job as a case manager in the Sandusky, Ohio, region during the recession in 2008. Looking to improve her skills and chances of being hired elsewhere, she attended BGSU Firelands again to pursue an Associate of Science in Human Services. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in social work at the Bowling Green campus, followed by a master's in social work at The Ohio State University.
After graduation, Byington became a case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters and credits her career beginning to BGSU Firelands and is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Family Health Services in Sandusky, Ohio.
"My experience empowered my confidence, and the variety of classes really opened my mind for critical thinking—giving me the expertise to tackle social work ethics and values," she said.
Apart from academic growth, Byington cherishes the friendships forged with fellow post-traditional students and the diverse perspectives shared in the classroom.
"BGSU Firelands really did give me confidence that I needed to bloom and further my education," Byington said.
Updated: 11/28/2023 02:44PM