When Amanda Everett began taking classes at College of The Albemarle in 2008, she was a senior at Perquimans High School and was unsure what she wanted to study.
She ended up taking some general education classes and earned nine college credits by the time she graduated from high school. A few months later, she enrolled at COA as a full-time student and eventually earned her Associate’s Degree in Medical Assisting two years later, but she didn’t stop there.
When she graduates later this spring, Everett will also have earned an Associate’s Degree in Art from COA. Currently, she is also pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from East Carolina University. Everett expects to finish this online degree in about two years and explained that when she began as a student at COA in 2009, earning a degree in Medical Assisting was her focus. But since then, during her four years on campus, she has learned about a lot of different courses and programs, which have also piqued her interest.
Her wide-ranging academic ambitions – and two-and-a-half degrees – are just part of the reason Everett was selected as COA’s Academic Excellence Award winner. The state award recognizes the academic achievements of students.
Currently, Everett has a 3.9 GPA and is serving as a student ambassador on the Elizabeth City campus at COA. She has also been an active member of the Albemarle Area Medical Assistants for the past two years. Everett said the local non-profit raises money for medical assisting students at COA who wish to pursue their associate’s degrees, but do not have the finances to do so.
“We want to try to relieve that burden, for students who are working and going through the program,” Everett said.
Everett said she always wanted to earn a degree in medical assisting and go into that profession, until she began working part-time in COA’s continuing education office. There, she became aware of all the academic possibilities beyond her original goal. She learned about the school’s law enforcement program, the nurse’s aide courses and many others.
“I used to have a really precise picture,” Everett said. “But now that I’m working at the college, I see there are more opportunities if I had a more broad skill set. Healthcare was what I was going for originally, but I thought communications would be a good complement. It could be applicable to many different job markets.”
“COA has definitely broadened my horizons,” she added. “I used to be more one-track, this is going to be my career. But now, I’ve been a part of so many things – I’ve seen so many things – I’ve seen so many sides of what could be. So it’s really helped me to see there are a lot of opportunities to succeed.”