DSLCC Student Stays One Step Ahead
Submitted by Jodi Burgess, interim marketing coordinator, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
Teanna Sowers has a personal motto: “I like to get all my ducks in a row,” she says with a grin.
The 20-year-old Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC) student and graduate of nearby Craig County High School is doing just that. She recently completed a Phlebotomy Technician course offered by the college’s Workforce Solutions and Community Education Division, and will soon begin a 40-hour externship at LewisGale Hospital Alleghany. In several weeks, she will sit for the Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam, administered by the National HealthCareer Association. Sowers is one of 26 students to successfully complete the Phlebotomy Technician course at DSLCC – one of 27 programs supported by the Virginia Community College System’s FastForward initiative and 11 allied healthcare programs offered at DSLCC.
Later this spring, Sowers will enroll in DSLCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, and after that, her plan is to complete the Licensed Practical Nursing program and eventually apply to DSLCC’s Nursing program to study to become a Registered Nurse.
“I always want to be one step ahead,” she says, explaining her proactive approach. “I was constantly emailing my instructors to ask them how I was doing, or how I should study for a test.”
She credits Brooke Shehan, the FastForward Career Coach in the DSLCC Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education division, with not only helping her apply for financial aid but also guiding her down the career path. “I was halfway through the phlebotomy course when Brooke suggested I look at the CNA program,” says Sowers. “I go to her for everything. She’s been beyond helpful.”
Shehan mirrors Sowers’ sentiment of admiration. “I have been so impressed with Teanna since our very first meeting; her initiative, determination, and perseverance are inspiring, and I have no doubt she will continue to excel during her time at DSLCC and beyond.”
Sowers has always wanted a career in health care. She feels her certification in phlebotomy and becoming a nursing assistant will assist her with her long-term goal. In the meantime, she’s juggling her school work with a job at the Dairy Queen in Clifton Forge, where her boss has been flexible in scheduling Teanna’s work hours around her necessary study time.
In addition to finishing up the phlebotomy course, Sowers thought – once more – she’d get ahead of the game this semester by taking a communications class that will fill one of the requirements when she’s ready to apply to the nursing program.
Coming from a small high school – there were only 32 students in her graduating class – the class size and personal attention at DSLCC have been invaluable, according to Sowers. “It was a little overwhelming at first,” she says. “But the teachers have been very good, and they go over the material thoroughly with you.”
DSLCC has experienced a 268 percent growth in the number of area residents served due to the FastForward initiative. “The boost to our community and local economy from the FastForward initiative and partner programs like it locally, is invaluable,” said Dr. John Rainone, DSLCC president. “Teanna is an example of the success stories we’d like to tell for some time to come.”
The DSLCC Workforce Solutions and Community Education Division continues to grow, and opportunities continue to expand. Teanna’s plan is an example of how pathway education and training enable students to continue to develop as professionals while still being able to earn a living.
CAPTION: Phlebotomy Technician student, Teanna Sowers, has plans to further her education in the health care field.
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