ULSTER BOCES means different things to different people. For Annmarie Marchiondo, it was a way for her to launch the exciting second career she had always wanted.
After serving 19 years as a New York City police officer, working 60 to 80 hours a week and commuting from Orange County to New York City, Annmarie decided it was time to retire. Her plans of catching up on lunches with friends and enjoying other retirement activities didn’t come to fruition, however. “Everyone was still working,” Annmarie explains.
Four years after her departure from the police department, she decided it was time to pursue her life-long passion—a career in the medical field. “I have always been interested in being a nurse, but I didn’t want to commit to the schooling,” she recalls. She says that as a young mother and wife, she chose a more practical and economical career path. “One day I was taking my police exam and the next day I was running laps at the academy,” she laughs.
Annmarie says her interest in Surgical Technology was piqued when she received a mailing about the career field and began doing some online research. “I found Ulster BOCES and discovered that they were nationally accredited and that made me realize that Ulster BOCES would be the best choice for me,” she says.
Excited to get started on her new professional endeavor, she immediately called the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center. Her timing could not have been better, as the registration deadline was that very day at 3 PM. Determined to enroll, Annmarie faxed her application and the additional required information by 2:53 PM.
“I believe it was meant for me to be at Ulster BOCES,” she says. Although the entrance exam was more challenging than she had anticipated, she passed it, and in September of 2013, she began working toward realizing her dream of becoming part of a surgical team.
She admits she experienced some insecurity her first day of the program. “I walked in and was like, what did I get myself into? I wasn’t really sure. There was my age, and I hadn’t been in school for a long time. I was really nervous, but Barb [Barbara Maderi, the program director] has a way about her, and I thought, ‘I have to try this,’” she explains.
Annmarie partially attributes her successes in the classroom and in her clinicals to the discipline that she had acquired while she was a police officer. “Nothing prepares you for this program until you go through it,” she says.
She clearly remembers her first clinical experience. “The first time in the OR (operating room) was a little scary, because I didn’t know what to expect,” says Annmarie. Students in the Surgical Technology program have classes several times a week in an operating room at a local hospital to perfect their scrubbing techniques and learn how to ensure that the operating rooms are sterile and that all surgeries are performed in a way that maximizes patient safety.
She says working with the surgical staff while she was in school was a valuable experience. “They were all great, very patient, and helpful. Some of the challenges involved trying to remember everything that was taught, and then applying that in the OR,” she remembers.
The New Windsor resident is now a Surgical Technologist at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh, a position that she was offered while she was still studying in the Ulster BOCES program. Today, she is also one of the Clinical Coordinators for the Ulster BOCES Surgical Technology program. Just a year after she graduated, she was called and offered the job.
Annmarie credits her success and the ability to achieve her lifelong dream to the Ulster BOCES Surgical Technology program. “I am thankful to Ulster BOCES,” Annmarie says. “I feel very lucky that things worked out the way they did. I am very happy working in the OR and as an instructor. The training I got from them led me to St. Luke’s, which led me back to Ulster BOCES. It all came full circle.”