Obtaining a college degree is one of the biggest milestones in a person’s life. A college education can translate into a better quality of life through greater success in today’s job market and higher wages.
For Cortney Joseph, his degree from Gadsden State Community College is more than that. It’s also proof that she can accomplish anything thanks to the hard work, dedication and support of her family and friends.
“Going through this stage to graduate is the moment for me to show that I have succeeded; I succeeded, “she said.” My children can now see that if they fight hard enough, if they work hard enough, they will achieve their goals. ”
Joseph will be among the graduates attending the Gadsden State Fall Semester Kick-Off Ceremony at 6 p.m. on December 20 at the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena in downtown.
She will be one of three student speakers to share their story in Gadsden State during the ceremony.
Joseph, who lives in Center, graduated from Gaylesville High School in 2010. She got married, enrolled at Georgia Highlands College, and quickly found out she was pregnant. After the birth of her daughter Aubree, she divorced. She said being a single mom who also juggled work and school was not easy.
In 2013, Joseph married her husband, Clay, and was accepted into the nursing program at Georgia Highlands College. When she became pregnant with their son, Parker, she temporarily withdrew from the nursing program just a semester before qualifying to become a registered nurse.
Parker was born in June 2015 with a chromosomal abnormality and died three months later. This experience left Joseph heartbroken and reluctant to return to college.
“I must have taken some time to come to terms with what I had just gone through before I tested myself again,” she recalls. “I was not ready to go back to school.
When Joseph unexpectedly became pregnant, she made the decision to stay home to raise her now 5-year-old son, Cooper. She stayed at home for three years until daylight. she made the decision to continue her studies once again.
“I wanted to do something for myself,” she said. “I wanted to do something that would be beneficial for me and my family, so I decided to apply to Gadsden State in 2019.”
She first wanted to be part of the Gadsden State RN program. When that didn’t work, she decided to take general studies classes.
“I didn’t want to spoil my acceptance in Gadsden State, so I decided to go ahead and take courses which will one day transfer to a four-year university,” she said. declared.
Joseph enrolled in English 102, History and Sociology for the fall semester 2019. She enrolled in the nursing program for the second time and was again rejected. Far from being defeated, Joseph’s advisor spoke to him about applying for the Gadsden State Medical Diagnostic Ultrasound Program.
“I did some ultrasound research,” she said. “I spoke to my sonographer when I was pregnant, and she told me I would be good at whatever I went through on my own. I decided to go there.
In August 2020, Joseph started the highly competitive DMS program with 19 other students. She said it would have been difficult for her to graduate without the support of her classmates.
“When you are placed in a class of 20, you all become more than friends. You become like family, ”she said. “People outside our circle don’t understand what we’re going through as DMS students. It can be chaotic. It can be difficult, but we are all committed to being there for each other. We wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t take care of each other. We are not alone in the DMS program. We all want to cross the finish line together.
Rebecca Southern, the director of the DMS program, said Joseph was a model student. She is President of the Cardinal DMS Society, is an Integrated Guardian, and a Fellow of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. She also won the Student of Distinction Award and remained on the President’s List for a 4.0 GPA which she maintained throughout her time at Gadsden State.
“Cortney embodies the definition of a leader,” said Southern. “She has a servant’s heart and goes above and beyond for her cohort while setting an example of excellence. She excels in the classroom and in her practical skills.
Southern called Joseph a “unicorn” for achieving the rare accomplishment of obtaining certifications from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers in all three modalities: vascular, abdomen, and obstetrics / gynecology.
“Each certification exam takes months of preparation,” said Southern. “Many experienced sonographers only have one of these references. Getting three before graduation is an extremely difficult feat; However, this exponentially increases their market value when looking for a job.
Joseph said that getting the credentials was definitely something she was proud of.
“I am honored to be specialized and registered in all three modalities,” she said. “It was definitely an accomplishment that I worked really hard for. I had to know everything about each modality, so I had to know everything about the signs, symptoms, labs and vascular, abdominal and OB / GYN pathology.
Joseph said she studied extensively for the accreditation exams in addition to attending classes, being a wife and mother, and completing clinical studies in Birmingham and Rome, Georgia.
“I was studying day after day,” she says. “I was very focused on these exams, and it was all worth it.”
Joseph said she received her vascular certification on October 19, her abdomen certification on November 16 and OB / GYN certification on November 30. She is happy that the pressure to get the certifications is over and that she can once again focus on her family and her new career.
“I think the hardest thing in all of this is the ‘mother’s guilt’,” she said. “I went from being there all the time for my kids to not coming home until 6 pm, having a quick dinner and studying again. Not being there all the time for my children was difficult. It was the most difficult thing for me as a mother and a student.
She thanks Clay for helping her reach her goals.
“It was hard on my husband,” Joseph said. “He really stepped up and took care of everything, from picking them up at the end of the school day to homework to cooking dinner. In addition, he worked full time. It was difficult, but we managed to get out of it. ”
Joseph previously got a job as a sonographer at the Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome. Its scheduled start date is January 7. But, first, she focuses on graduation.
“I am so excited to graduate,” she said. “It’s a testimony that I’m no longer a college dropout. I was rejected twice and still made it out of Gadsden State with a degree. I realized my dream. I did it!”
The other opening speakers are William Wiggins of Rome and Brandon Griffin of Anniston.
Wiggins graduates with a nursing degree. He took courses at Gadsden State Cherokee and graduated with a GPA of 3.27. Previously, he obtained a BA from Shorter University in Secondary English Teaching and spent five years teaching English at Coosa High School before deciding to change careers. He is married and the father of five children.
Griffin is a student at the Ayers campus and will be completing his Associate of Applied Science degree in Marketing Management. A graduate of Seneca Valley High School in Germantown, Maryland, he enjoys broadcasting, podcasting, and cybersecurity.
The Grand Marshal of the opening ceremony will be Michele Conger, outgoing director of Campus Ayers. Graduates will be introduced by Alan Wallace, Dean of IT Services, and Alan Smith, Dean of Workforce Development. The degrees will be awarded by Dr. Kathy Murphy, President of the GSCC.