GOAL program shines spotlight on academic, leadership excellence
Date: April 15, 2014
April Moore Skelton, a Physical Therapist Assistant student at Athens Technical College, has won the honor of representing the college in the 2014 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) competition with the Technical College System of Georgia.
The GOAL program recognizes excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. GOAL winners are selected at each of the state’s 26 technical colleges as well as the two Board of Regents colleges with technical education divisions.
Ms. Skelton was chosen to represent the college from a group of Athens Technical College students who were selected as the college’s GOAL semi-finalists, according to Dr. Yancey Gulley coordinator for the college’s GOAL program.
The other semi-finalists included Joana Barbosa, Interior Design program; Tiffany Garrett, Dental Hygiene program; and Bruce Grant, Paralegal Studies program.
“These students represent some of the best efforts of Athens Technical College,” said college President Flora Tydings. “They are proven leaders both in their academic endeavors and through their involvement on campus and in their community. We are honored to have such talented and dedicated individuals as members of the college community.”
A panel of community leaders met with the Athens Technical College GOAL semi-finalist students in January to select the college’s GOAL winner.
Ms. Skelton, who earned a bachelor’s degree before enrolling at Athens Technical College, decided to pursue technical training so that she can use her education and work experience to promote the field of physical therapy, serve others, and help bring about greater health in her community, she said.
When asked why she chose Athens Technical College, she replied, “I am in the prime of my working life and needed a career change. When seeking rigorous, career-focused training that would not take me out of the workforce for too long, I found my local technical college to be a perfect fit. Knowing that such a wonderful educational opportunity existed in my desired field, I knew that Athens Technical College was the place for me. The affordability of technical education, the relatively short duration of full-time schooling, the quality of training, and the healthy job market in my chosen field means my return on investment looks very favorable, indeed.”
Dr. Ellen O’Keefe and Dr. Diana Carman, faculty in the Physical Therapist Assistant program, praised Ms. Skelton’s outstanding leadership and communication skills, and phenomenal organizational skills.
“She exemplifies professionalism in appearance and demeanor,” said Dr. O’Keefe, who serves as the Physical Therapist Assistant program chair. “Her strong leadership skills, work ethic, and willing service to the community and profession set her apart from other students.”
GOAL winners from each college competed in regional judging in February. In April, all college winners will travel to Atlanta where the nine semi-finalists (three finalists from each of the three regions) will be announced and will compete at the state-level. One student will be named as the statewide GOAL winner. The state GOAL winner becomes the student ambassador for the Technical College System of Georgia.
"The purpose of the GOAL program is to spotlight the outstanding achievement by students in Georgia's technical colleges and to emphasize the importance of technical education in today’s global workforce," Dr. Gulley said.