Lake Technical College Practical Nursing graduate shows what career pathways can really do for students.
Colleen Carter has travelled a pathway many students don’t realize exists. In the late 90’s she was ready for a new career and was finally able to reach her dream of becoming a nurse. She graduated the Practical Nursing program at Lake Tech in 1997, but that was just the beginning. Recently, Executive Director DeAnna Thomas sat down with Colleen to learn more about her experience at Lake Tech and the many successes she has accomplished since then.
According to Colleen she still remembers the warm feeling of support she experienced at Lake Tech. “I came to Lake Tech at a time of transition in my life, and the experience literally changed my life. I can say I was supported 100% both financially and emotionally. I paid zero dollars for my education and was able to graduate the program with no debt.” She shared countless stories about her instructors and events such as the National HOSA competition, clinical experiences, and most importantly, the relationships she maintained with faculty and colleagues long after graduation.
After completing her program at Lake Tech, Colleen immediately transferred credit and joined the RN program at Lake-Sumter State College, graduating with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree in 1999. “Lake Technical College and Lake-Sumter State College have worked diligently to create meaningful pathways and robust opportunities for students to articulate credit and stack their credentials. LPN graduates are able to articulate 17 credits toward the Associate in Science in Nursing Bridge program at LSSC. That is a savings of over $1,800. There are even special scholarships and priority acceptance developed for students that transfer between institutions,” stated Executive Director, Thomas.
Colleen shared, “After graduation I explored many different types of nursing and enjoyed caring for my patients. In 2007 I began working at LSSC as the Clinical Pathway Coordinator/Certified Nursing Assistant Program Manager and an adjunct nursing instructor. It was here that I realized I loved teaching students.” Colleen decided to pursue her passion for teaching and, in 2009, she completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, but she hasn’t stopped there! She is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Lake-Sumter State College and is almost complete with her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Jacksonville University.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Colleen and the fact that we shared a small part in her journey. She is an example of the opportunities that career certificate training offer and the pathway that is unlimited. A student can travel the education path and stop off, or jump back on at their pace, in their own way. By stacking credentials and levels of education a student saves time, money, and gains valuable work experience,” says Thomas.
Colleen is a very proud graduate of both Lake Technical College and Lake-Sumter State College. She has been honored to represent LSSC as Professor of the Year in 2015, Distinguished Alumni in 2017, and in 2022 she received the Carolyn Matthews Award for Teaching Excellence. “Lake Technical College gave me the best foundation in the industry and provided me with the background knowledge and experience I needed to go further,” shared Carter.