Graduates of the Surgical Technologist program at the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center celebrated their achievements at an end-of-year ceremony on Thursday, June 16 at the Jane Bullowa Conference Center in New Paltz. Nineteen students from across the Hudson Valley completed the rigorous program this year.
Kelley Secor was inspired to enroll in the program after watching her sister-in-law graduate in 2009. She was interested in enrolling then, but at the time she felt her children weren’t old enough for her to commit to the challenge of juggling being a mother and a student. After completing the program this year, she admits it was tough. “It hasn’t been the easiest time of my life,” shares the Modena resident, but she says her teachers provided her and her classmates with the tools they needed to succeed.
Surgical Technology teachers Barbara Maderi and Annmarie Marchiondo thought Secor’s hard work and 4.0 grade point average was noteworthy and they nominated her for the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) National Honor Society. “It’s very important to keep up with the work,” Secor explains, adding that she feels very grateful and prepared for her future. “I’ve already been offered a job and accepted it pending the results of my certification exam.”
After ten months of classroom and clinical instruction, graduate Karyn Berger is ready to start the next chapter of her professional life. The Wappingers Falls resident has worked as a veterinary technician for the past 20 years and wasn’t feeling challenged professionally anymore. After learning about the Ulster BOCES program she made the change from seasoned professional to student. In fact, she did so well in her new role as a student, she achieved a grade point average of 3.95 and her teachers also nominated her to be inducted into the AST National Honor Society.
Despite the stringency of the program, Berger says, “It wasn’t horrible at all. It was just staying on top of it. Having a medical background helped. Every word wasn’t a new word.” Her strategy to manage the workload was to listen to the lecture, study her notecards, take her tests, and “repeat, repeat, repeat.”
The 19 graduates from the program come from a range of areas and include: Sierra Apolito, Big Indian; Karyn Berger, Wappingers Falls; Jacqueline Burton, Poughkeepsie; Cynthia Chapman, Hyde Park; Megan Curtis, Highland; William Darling, Kingston; Destiny Gordon, Wallkill; Windsor Jean-Charles, Poughkeepsie; William Kautsky III, Poughquag; Austin LaBrake, Kingston; Colette Lopez, Wawarsing; Erin Owens, Poughkeepsie; Je'Nae Potter, Saugerties; Julie Sardo, Wappingers Falls; Chester Savage, Poughkeepsie; Kelley Secor, Modena; Nathan Silvieus, Poughkeepsie; Daineshia Staples, Newburgh; and Corey Troche, Kiamesha Lake.
“Healthcare jobs are in high demand, and medical facilities need qualified staff,” says Eugene Knudsen, the director of the Adult Career Education Center. “Today’s graduates will play a key role in filling these vital positions in hospitals and surgical centers. I am very proud of their determination to succeed in this rigorous program and thankful for their instructors' commitment to their educational success.”
Ulster BOCES surgical technologist students complete a ten-month, 970-hour program that is designed for candidates with no previous medical background. Their real-world experiences include classroom and simulated laboratory work, as well as clinical opportunities at various medical facilities throughout the area.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an estimated 100,000 surgical technologists work in the United States. The BLS projects that by 2028, employment opportunities for surgical technologists will grow at a faster-than-average rate of nine percent. This increased demand is expected to create nearly 10,000 new surgical tech positions.
Surgical technologists work closely with surgeons and their teams to ensure the proper delivery and sterilization of instruments during surgical procedures. To learn more about Ulster BOCES Surgical Technology program call 845-331-5050 or visit www.ulsterboces.org.