The thrill of a new adventure is ageless and Vicki Barrett is living proof. Finding herself thrust into the role of head of household after spending 20 years as a housewife, she was underemployed, with three growing children and dissatisfied with her financial situation. She shared, “I was praying about what I was going to do to take care of my kids and my home. After seeing a commercial for Harrison College (then IBC) I decided to give them a call. The next morning I went in to talk to the admissions representative and a couple of hours later I was headed back to college; excited, nervous and anxious.”
It was during orientation that she met Jennifer Pugh, lead director of career services, who would play an integral part in Barrett’s career path journey for the next six plus years. “Jennifer was so full of life and explained how her job was to help us find employment as students either in the community or as a part of a work study program and to assist us as in our job search as we graduate,” Barrett remarked. Her adventure attending school full-time also included working two jobs and juggling the schedules and needs of her three teenage children. “There were nights I didn’t get to bed until midnight and my alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. to study before the kids got up and before I headed to work. Often times the kids would find me at the dining room table surrounded by books where I had fallen asleep,” she said.
The sense of importance placed on the values of faith, family, health and job by the Harrison staff was evident to Barrett in the way her instructors were sensitive to her family commitments; encouraging her to make time for those “once in a lifetime” events her children were experiencing. A favorite memory for Barrett involved helping with graduation ceremonies. “There was so much work to do and Jennifer Pugh made it so much fun and put so much into it to make sure the students and their families were very proud of what the students had accomplished. The graduations were wonderful!”
And, when it came time for her graduation Barrett credits Jennifer Pugh with instructing her on how to create a first-rate resume that subsequently helped to land her a job with Pathologists Associated a week before commencement. While working there she received another offer to serve as an adjunct instructor at Harrison (then IBC). Her career path has continued its upward spiral and she is now employed as a change analyst at the Anderson Community Hospital Cancer Center. Barrett enthused, “As I look back Jennifer Pugh has been a stable, solid figure since my first day in orientation. She is so incredible! She has always said that she doesn’t get students a job; she gives them the tools they need to get a career. Harrison College is not only lucky to have her – but the students there are blessed by her energy, knowledge and dedication to what she loves to do – help others. Thank you Harrison College – and thank you Jennifer Pugh! I know people who have gone to other business colleges and were lost at the whole process of financial aid. I found that students at Harrison do not just get attention when they are enrolling, but also through the whole time they are pursuing their degree. I do not think anyone will receive any more personal help than they will at Harrison College.” Those are powerful words of praise from a woman whose spirit of adventure has kept her forcefully moving forward!