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Busy nontraditional student wins honor

March 2, 2009 (Albany Herald) — She’s the mother of two young children as well as a wife.  Nursing student Bridgett Morris receives Albany Tech’s Georgia Occupational Award Leadership title.

A peer tutor for medical terminology at Albany Technical College, she works 13 hours weekly as a nursing assistant.

Bridgett Morris also manages to find time to study.

Morris, 33, is taking 16 credits this quarter at Albany Tech and will graduate from the school’s practical nursing program in September. Her drive, maturity, hard work and organizational skills were noticed by Albany Tech faculty, helping Morris to be named its Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership winner recently.

“As a nurse, she has good rapport and good language skills when she’s dealing with people,” said practical nurse instructor Sandra McCullough of Morris.

The award will move Morris on to compete against six GOAL finalists from technical colleges in the Southwest Georgia region. The 12 regional winners from across the state will compete at the state level in May. The state winner will serve as an ambassador of technical education in Georgia.

Albany Tech’s Keldrique Lofton won the state GOAL title in 2007.

Morris said winning this year’s GOAL for Albany Tech means a great deal to her. After graduating from what was then Thomas College in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, getting married and having children, Morris didn’t think many people at Albany Tech had noticed her.

“I was going along, like any other student,” laughed Morris. “To me, it’s an honor to be recognized by your instructors, the faculty and the community. As a nontraditional student, it gives me the opportunity to encourage others to continue their education whether they’re coming from a high school, higher education or re-entering the work force.”

The support of her family and her church family at Victory Tabernacle have made going back to school easier for Morris.

“My daughter (Charity, 5) told my sister, ‘My Mommy won an award tonight,’” she said. “Everyone in my family is very supportive. Whenever I need someone to take the children for extra study time for myself, I have no problem finding help from my family.”

After receiving her licensed practice nursing degree, Morris plans to continue her education and become a registered nurse.

“My short-term goal with that education is to establish a quality personal care home,” she said. “My long-term goal is to own my own nursing home while conducting research to improve the quality of nursing home care. These people worked their whole lives and we’re reaping the benefits. I believe they deserve the highest (service). That’s my passion.”

Morris won the Albany Tech GOAL title after named being a finalist along with fellow students Jalissa Gibson, Erica Savage and Amanda Wright. The finalists came from a pool of 15 nominees. The nominees were Felicia Baldwin, Abbe Beaucicot, Kari Frowine, Andrea Greene, Jessica Hickman, Melinda Hicks, LanShondra McAllister, Bhumi Pandya, Kay Rowland, Danielle Thompson, Mary Williams, Morris, Gibson, Savage and Wright.

GOAL recognizes outstanding technical college students from across the state for their academic excellence and personal achievement.

~Ethan Fowler

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