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Student Profiles

Thomas VerraultArmy Veteran Transitions to New Career in Criminal Justice
When Thomas Verrault left the US Army in 2005, he enrolled in Durham Tech’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program, which trains students for police certification. Because he enjoyed his courses and had earned 19 semester hours of credit in the Criminal Justice Technology program, Verrault decided to continue his education in that program.

Criminal Justice Technology students learn legal concepts, investigative techniques, and interviewing and interrogation methods. They study evidence collection and presentation, report writing, and patrol operations.

Verrault’s first job after graduating from Durham Tech was with the Crabtree Special Police Department in Raleigh. There he dealt with property crimes such as larcenies and frauds, along with the occasional fight. Then he moved to Washington, DC, to work with the National Zoological Park Police Department. The animals and the area were interesting, and there was little crime. “It was all tourists,” he said. However, his current position with the NC Central University Police Department is the best fit for his personality and skills.

“At a college, you are able to build relationships with faculty, staff, and students,” he said. “I like having the opportunity to interact with the students and help them solve their problems.”

Verrault tells students who are enrolling in the BLET program at Durham Tech to also pursue the Criminal Justice Technology degree. “You are a much more competitive job applicant with a degree, and the knowledge you gain makes you a better officer,” he said.

Graduates of Criminal Justice Technology find positions in federal, state, county, and municipal governments, as well as in industrial, retail, and private security businesses. Graduates earn an Associate in Applied Science degree. The program, offered during the day and the evening, may be completed in five semesters.

For more information about this program, contact scottd@durhamtech.edu or call 919-536-7200, ext. 8069, or visit the Criminal Justice web page.

Emily KendallGraduate’s Career in Respiratory Therapy Takes Her to New Heights
Emily Kendall worked for several years as an administrative assistant before it hit her. “I realized that I desperately needed a career change,” she said. “My roommate had gone back to nursing school, and I saw what good opportunities there were in health care.” Kendall first obtained information about the Associate Degree Nursing program on Durham Tech's website. However, when she read about the Respiratory Therapy program, she thought it might be the perfect career match for her. Respiratory therapists care for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities related to breathing.

After graduating from Durham Tech in 2008, Kendall worked for UNC Hospitals’ Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and later the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She recently was hired to work with UNC Hospitals’ Pediatric Air Care Transport team on a helicopter that transports pediatric patients throughout the state. During adverse weather, they use an ambulance. The pediatric team always includes a respiratory therapist and a registered nurse to help care for the patients during transit.

The skills and knowledge Kendall obtained at Durham Tech are serving her well on the job. Her classes of 20 to 25 students were small enough for individual attention. She enjoyed the combination of both classroom and clinical time. “We received a lot of exposure to local area hospitals, which really helped in finding a job,” she said. The students spent clinical time at Duke University Medical Center, the Durham VA Medical Center, UNC Hospitals, Rex Hospital, and WakeMed.

Kendall says respiratory therapists must adapt to a wide variety of patients. “You see newborns and geriatric patients, so it is important to understand the physiology behind taking care of each set of patients,” she said. She said prospective students should be interested in anatomy and science and be technology driven.

Respiratory Therapy classes are held during the day, and clinical rotations are scheduled during the day and in the evening. Graduates of this five-semester
program are awarded an Associate in Applied Science degree and are eligible for a state license.

For more information, contact millerr@durhamtech.edu or call 919-536-7200, ext. 8124, or visit the Respiratory Therapy web page.

Tara Lighbourne-PrattHigh School Computer Course Led to Student’s Career Goal
It’s a fortunate few who discover “what they want to do when they grow up” while they are still in high school. Tara Lightbourne-Pratt was one of those fortunate few. “I took computer programming in high school and loved it,” she said. When she enrolled at Durham Tech, she took a variety of courses in the Information Systems Technologies curriculum. She still loved computer programming best and made it her career goal.

The Computer Programming curriculum emphasizes hands-on training in programming and related computer areas that allows students to adapt as systems evolve. Students learn computer concepts, logic, programming procedures, languages, generators, operating systems, networking, data management, and business operations. They develop skills in solving business computer problems through programming techniques and procedures and in using appropriate languages and software.

Graduates find employment in business, industry, and government organizations as programmers, analysts, computer operators, systems technicians, or database specialists.

Lightbourne-Pratt, like many students, not only attended college but also held down a part-time job while raising a family. She was able to schedule her courses on Mondays through Thursdays and work some part-time hours with a caterer on weekends. At Durham Tech, Lightbourne-Pratt said she was surprised at the attention she received from her instructors. “Anytime I needed help, they were there,” she said. Early on she discovered that there were few females in her classes. In fact, in one class, she was the only female. Lightbourne-Pratt took it in stride and made excellent grades.

For her internship, she worked for Anderson Edward Solutions, an information technology consulting firm based in the Research Triangle Park. The company specializes in software design and development and business intelligence solutions. During her internship, she was able to practice the skills she was learning in the classroom. The internship then led to a part-time job with Anderson Edward Solutions. Lightbourne-Pratt will continue her studies in Programming at NC Central University.

For more information, contact murphyt@durhamtech.edu or call 919-536-7200, ext. 8157, or visit the Computer Programming web page.

Anjanette EastAccounting Graduate Finds Her Niche in Numbers
Like many people, Abbi Tenaglia had several jobs before discovering what she really wanted to do. While working for a moving company, her supervisor once asked her to help with some accounting work. “I had never worked in accounting before, but all the spreadsheets and numbers were right up my alley,” she recalled. “I just couldn't get enough of the accounting work.”

When Tenaglia became pregnant with her daughter, she decided to enroll in Durham Tech’s Accounting program. “I wanted to better myself to be a good role model for my daughter,” she said. In her classes, she met others who loved spreadsheets as much as she did. “I am way too organized,” she admits. “I love numbers and love making them reconcile.”

Today, Tenaglia is the accountant at Evergreen Partners, a Durham nursery. She also is the part-time bookkeeper at New Hope Church. Her advice to prospective students is not to rush through your courses. “It will seem like you'll be in school forever, but there are some very encouraging people at Durham Tech,” she said. “You will get more out of the experience by slowing down and doing excellent work in each class.”

Accounting has three major fields, including public accounting, private and industrial accounting, and governmental and non-profit accounting. Durham
Tech’s Accounting program is designed to build a solid foundation in accounting principles, theories, and practices. The curriculum prepares graduates
for an entry-level accounting position, such as junior accountant, bookkeeper, accounting clerk, cost clerk, and payroll clerk.

Students may enroll in day or evening classes. The Associate of Applied Science degree is awarded upon completion of the program. Students who
hold a bachelor’s degree and plan to sit for the Certified Public Accountants examination may take courses toward the exam's accounting
education requirement.

For more information, contact laudadios@durhamtech.edu or call 919-536-7200, ext. 8067, or visit the Accounting web page.

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