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HGTC Student Spotlight

Horry-Georgetown Technical College

Meet our HGTC Spotlight Student

Each month, the Student Spotlight features some of the amazing work being done by students at HGTC in different programs throughout the  College.

William Vaught: Cybersecurity student at HGTC!

William has had a curiosity about computers since a very young age.  While growing up not only did he become fascinated with video gaming and design but he also learned several things from his mother who worked in computer science.  He got away from that passion while serving in the Armed Forces, but was able to get back into the field here at HGTC. 

William grew up in Horry County and was already familiar with Horry-Georgetown Technical College when he began researching schools.  The convenience and program offerings made enrolling an easy decision.  He is taking advantage of the flexible hours and is currently enrolled in both the Computer Programming and Cybersecurity programs.  William is also working as a Work Study student to help gain experience in IT around campus. 

The growing need for cybersecurity experts will give William the opportunity to be employed in several different fields locally or around the country, and he looks forward to what is to come.

Alex Todd: Civil Engineering Technology student at HGTC!

Alex always knew that he enjoyed building and creating things, but he didn’t always know how those interests would translate into a fulfilling career.  He researched educational and career opportunities in the area and quickly discovered that Horry-Georgetown Technical College was the right choice for him. 

Alex is currently taking advantage of one of the multiple transfer opportunities that HGTC has to offer.  He plans to finish his Associate’s Degree in Civil Engineering Technology then transfer those credits to a 4-year university where he will obtain his Bachelor’s Degree and be eligible for higher paying job in the field.

Alex is a firm believer that if you put your mind to it and give it your all, you can and will succeed.  He owes his own achievements to hard work, his family and the professors here at HGTC.

Jill Dail: Culinary Arts Technology Student at HGTC!

As a child, Jill spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her parents experimenting with recipes and trying unique foods.  This helped to spark a passion for cooking in Jill and would eventually lead to her starting her own cupcake business at the age of sixteen.  The business was a huge success and Jill knew she had a future in Culinary Arts.

Jill began to research culinary programs in the southeast and spent one spring break visiting several colleges.  She soon decided Horry-Georgetown Technical College was the perfect fit for her because of the new state of the art facility and the affordable tuition.  Jill was also excited to learn she could get a degree in Culinary Arts Technology as well as a certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts, both of which she is passionate about.

Upon graduation, Jill hopes to get a few years additional work experience before opening up her own restaurant.  She would also like to keep her cupcake business open and thriving.  Jill’s advice to new HGTC is to get as involved as possible around campus and to always have confidence in your work!

Joseph Dabrowski: PACE student at HGTC!

The PACE program at Horry-Georgetown Technical College offers opportunities for high-school juniors and seniors, as well as private and home-schooled students, to get a head start on college courses.  Upon hearing about PACE, Joseph immediately decided to take advantage and enrolled in a college level Calculus course his senior year of high school.  He knew that this would be a great way to give him a better chance of getting into his ideal 4-year university.

Joseph’s base high school, Conway Christian School, provided him with the HGTC application and information needed to enroll.  He then visited campus and was able to sign up for the class he wanted. Joseph admits that while PACE classes are more difficult than high school, they are boosting his GPA and saving him money down the road.

Joseph has currently been accepted into several colleges around the country and looks forward to a career in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering.  He accredits his college preparedness not only to the positive challenges PACE offered but also to taking a class on an actual college campus.  Joseph highly recommends the PACE program to any high school student looking for a great way to jump start their educational future.

Ashleigh Chaney: Pharmacy Technician student at HGTC!

Ashleigh chose Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Pharmacy Technician program not only for the reasonable cost, but also because she knew she would be employed in her field within a few short semesters.  She hopes to get her foot in the door with a hospital and then continue her education while working the flexible hours of a Pharmacy Technician.

Ashleigh owes her success at HGTC mainly to the support of her family.  She also enjoys the small classrooms sizes and the fact that she gets one on one time with her professors. She feels like they go above and beyond to make sure her questions are answered and she feels comfortable with her abilities in the lab.

Ashleigh’s advice to new students is to take your program seriously and to continuously study.  She believes you will succeed as long as you know the hard work you put in now is for the benefit of your future.

Kimberly Smith: HVAC/R student at HGTC!

Kimberly recently decided to go back to school in search of a more stable career to support her family.  She began to research growing career fields in her area, and quickly decided she was a great candidate for the HVAC/R program at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. 

Kimberly was not only drawn here for the low cost and convenient class schedules, but also because of the job placement rate of HGTC’s graduating students.  Her professors have worked in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration fields and ensured her that if she works hard, she will be employed upon completion of the program. 

Kimberly hopes to go to work as a technician making a steady salary immediately after graduation.  She then plans to move up in the industry and to eventually even own her own HVAC/R company with employees working for her.

Nataliia Prilutckaia: International Student at HGTC!

Nataliia decided to return to the United States and enroll in HGTC after a positive experience during a work and travel program in North Myrtle Beach a few years ago.  She enjoyed her time on the Grand Strand and was very excited to learn she could enroll in school as an International Student here at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.  

After receiving a degree in finance back home in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nataliia decided it was not right for her.  She was more interested in helping people through means of healthcare, so when considering returning to school Nursing was an easy choice.  Natalia is currently enrolled as an Associates of Science major but will begin the HGTC Nursing Program in the spring.

When Nataliia finishes her schooling and internship in the United States she will return to Russia to help improve the healthcare system back home.

Taylor Clark: Cosmetology

Taylor has been surrounded with the world of Cosmetology from a very young age.  Her mother, sister, grandmother and aunt have all worked as Cosmetologists so it was an easy choice for Taylor to follow in her family’s footsteps here at HGTC!

Taylor chose Horry-Georgetown Technical College because of the low cost, convenient location and friendly faculty members.  During her first visit to the campus she met with Mary Cox, the director of the program, and was ready to sign for the Cosmetology Program that day!  Taylor felt a warm sense of community and knew she could see herself a part of the HGTC family. 

Taylor accredits her success at HGTC to her classmates.  She relies on them for support both in and outside of the classroom, and looks forward to friendships that will last long past graduation.  They enjoy learning new hairstyles and techniques together, and pushing each other to be better students and better people.

Courtney Capps: Paralegal Specialist

Growing up, Courtney spent her summers with her aunt who worked as a legal secretary at the local courthouse.  It was here she fell in love with the legal field and knew she would one day work in a similar setting.  After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in English, Courtney decided to continue her education at HGTC when she learned of the American Bar Association certified Paralegal Specialist Program.  

Courtney enjoys having class in the mock courtroom on the Grand Strand Campus because she is becoming familiar with the courtroom setting.  She continues to be inspired by her professors and their years of experience working in the field.  She looks forward to spending time in a real law firm during her required Paralegal internship.

Courtney attributes her success in school to her supportive family and classmates.  The closeness of her fellow Paralegal students helps them all to excel academically and have fun! 

Anthony Velazquez: Associate in Arts

Anthony’s decision to study business was inspired at a young age from watching his father run his own successful business.  After leaving home and receiving a degree from a school in Nashville, Anthony returned to Horry County to continue his education in the Business Transfer Program here at HGTC.  He had friends who attended the school and knew it would be an affordable and convenient choice for him. 

Anthony chose this major because he plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina University and finish his Bachelor’s Degree.  When his education is complete, he will focus on building his clothing and shoe line, of which a portion of the proceeds will go to help individuals with mounting medical expenses. 

Anthony suggests to new students, “Sit in the front of the class and form a relationship with your professors, you never know when you will need their help!”

Nickii Thomas: Early Care and Education

From a very young age Nickii always knew that she wanted to become a teacher.  As she grew older and began to explore her options, it became clear that HGTC was right for her.  She was able to find the program she was looking for and professors that had the same passion she had for education. 

Nickii loves the Early Care and Education program because of the camaraderie she and her fellow students have as a group.  They have become like a family and helped each other every step of their academic journey at HGTC. 

As a student of Early Care and Education, Nickii received an internship at a local daycare center and has since gained fulltime employment.  She credits this to her professors, who have the knowledge and connections to get their students where they need to be by graduation.

Neil Adams: Electrical Lineman

Neil made the decision to go back to school to further his career when his family began to grow.  As a new father, he wanted to make sure he would always be able to support his children with a steady profession that he truly enjoyed.  Neil saw a commercial for the Electrical Lineman Certificate Program at HGTC, and knew it would be the perfect fit for him.  

This program was appealing to Neil because of the current job openings in this area, as well as the income and benefits that Electrical Lineman can receive.  HGTC has provided him with the hands on knowledge he needs to be job-ready after just one semester of class.

Upon completion of the Electrical Lineman Program, Neil plans to seek employment locally with Santee Cooper or Horry Electric.

Jeff Elmore: Culinary Arts

Jeff was initially drawn to the culinary world because of both his mother and grandmother.  Some of his favorite childhood memories include them cooking southern cuisine in their family kitchen in Charleston, South Carolina.  When he decided he would attend HGTC, Jeff knew he was doing the right thing to help further his career opportunities in the long run.

One of Jeff’s favorite things about the Culinary Program at HGTC is how hands on it is throughout each semester.  He gets to spend most of his time in the kitchen with other students who love to do the same thing he does- cook!  

Jeff plans to move back to Charleston once he completes his degree and hopes to one day teach Culinary Arts.  He would also like to own his own food truck after he gets some restaurant experience in the area.  His advice to students would be to keep your eyes, ears, but more importantly your taste buds open to new things on your path to becoming a successful individual.

Naomi Martin: Associates in Arts

Naomi made the decision to go back to school one night when she was helping her children with their homework.  They discussed short stories, books, speeches and life experiences, and she decided teaching was something she could see herself doing as a career.  

She was already familiar with HGTC from some alumni she had encountered, but what sold Naomi was the convenience of the three campuses and the student services they had to offer.  She has taken full advantage of the SSTC, or Student Success and Tutoring Center.  As a student returning after several years out of school, she enjoys having the extra help when it is needed.

Naomi plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina University after she completes the Associate in Arts program at HGTC.  There she will continue for her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and hopes to become a middle or high school English teacher. 

Zachery Klingler: Emergency Medical Technology

When Zach began looking for educational opportunities he was brand new to the area.  Friends recommended HGTC, and he quickly found the EMT program and knew it was what he had been looking for.

Zach was drawn to the EMT profession because of the ever-changing days and excitement that goes along with the job.  He is hoping to be able to make a difference and even save lives once he is working in the field.  Horry Georgetown Tech is helping prepare him for that with state of the art equipment and professors that truly care about their students. 

Upon completion of the EMT Associate Degree, Zach plans to continue on in the Paramedic Certificate program at HGTC and become a nationally registered EMT-Paramedic.   His advice to students is, “Ninety percent of the battle is showing up with the right attitude.  If you come to class ready to learn, HGTC can make the rest happen.”

Dylan Willocks: Machine Tool

Dylan has always enjoyed the ability to create new things, so he knew a hands-on educational program would be right for him.  HGTC’s Machine Tool Associates Degree has given him the opportunity to work with different design methods and thrive in a quickly expanding field. 

Growing up in the area, Dylan was already familiar with HGTC but was told about Machine Tool by his high school guidance counselor.  As he excelled in academics, he quickly earned an apprenticeship with Peddinghaus as a part of his curriculum.  This hands-on experience has given him the confidence he needs to find successful employment as a machine tool operator.

Upon graduation, Dylan hopes to find full-time employment at one of the industry’s leaders in the southeast.

Ryan Smith: Forestry

Ryan’s interest in Forestry began when he was a boy and grew as he worked for his family’s logging business as a young man.  When he decided he wanted to go back to school, HGTC seemed like an obvious choice.  It was the only technical college in North or South Carolina that had exactly what Ryan was looking for, and not too far from home.

Ryan has enjoyed the Forestry Program thoroughly because it is very hands on and practical.  He credits his success to the involvement and helpfulness of the professors and his own willingness to ask questions.  He feels as though he will leave the program ready to take on whatever challenges may come his way in the workforce.

Upon completion at HGTC, Ryan plans to pursue a Finance degree at Coastal Carolina University.  He will then be prepared to work with timber and land investments in North and South Carolina.

Cynthia Douglas: Massage Therapy

Cynthia’s interest in Massage Therapy began with her passion for holistic healing and working with the human body. HGTC was an easy choice because of all the positive feedback she heard from family, friends and the community.

The Massage Therapy program has given Cynthia the ability to help improve someone’s overall well-being simply through the power of touch; 100% natural, no medication needed. It has also made her job-ready, and she plans to work at a spa once she completes her certification. Her long term dream is to go on to acupuncture school and one day travel the world with a portable massage table.

Cynthia credits her success to her peers in the Massage Therapy program. Working together has pushed them to try new techniques and progress at a high rate. She would encourage students to stay focused and to set new goals monthly.

Nathan Briggs: Aviation Maintenance

Nathan began his journey at HGTC by simply wanting to explore new careers. He discovered the Aviation Maintenance Program and quickly became not only interested but inspired!

For Nathan, working with airplanes is doing the impossible because everything in aviation is counter-intuitive. He explains that while it seems like it shouldn't work, it does, and now he understands the physical and mathematical properties behind aviation.

Nathan chose HGTC because of the relationship with the Pittsburg Institute of Aeronautics. He will complete his associate’s degree in two more semesters and hopes to find a job that challenges him upon graduation. Nathan’s long term goals include becoming a college professor so he can continue to inspire others to learn.

His advice to fellow students is, “Never give up and never stop learning. Start today, and take full advantage of the tutors!”

Holly Dozier: Sports Tourism

Holly began playing sports at the early age of eight and quickly knew that she would always be involved in athletics in some capacity. She played basketball and softball growing up and continues to coach a softball team for the City of Myrtle Beach today.

The Sports Tourism Program at HGTC was an easy decision for Holly because it prepares her to work in a field she is passionate about. She has had the opportunity to have a paid internship that she loves, and is confident that she will continue to enjoy her work for years to come.

Holly attributes her success to the professors she has encountered while at HGTC. Their real world experience has prepared her to be job-ready upon graduation.

Holly hopes to open her own indoor sports facility in the future.

Luke Jackson: Digital Arts

Luke has always been an artistic person and decided early on that Digital Arts would be a good fit for him. HGTC has given him the opportunity to work on real-world graphic design projects and learn more about advanced software that is used in the field. Luke attributes his success at HGTC to the professors as well as the small classroom sizes. He believes each professor he has encountered has been knowledgeable and willing to do all they can to ensure he succeeds.

Luke’s biggest tip to students is, “Do not procrastinate, and most of all just take everything and everyone seriously and try your best!”

Luke currently feels equipped to work as a videographer, photographer or graphic designer, but plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina University to complete his Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design.

Alyssa Sawyer: Criminal Justice Technology and Crime Scene Investigation

Alyssa grew up solving jigsaw puzzles and began to think of crime as a jigsaw puzzle. Her family members serve in various law enforcement divisions which has inspired her to pursue an education in criminal justice.

Alyssa credits her success at HGTC to the professors having real-world experiences and the modern utilized in the labs here on campus. Her favorite experience in the program thus far has been studying blood stain patterns as well as processing a full crime scene on campus.

Her tips for new students are “get to know your professors and utilize your time management skills!”

After graduation from the Criminal Justice Technology program, Alyssa hopes to obtain a position in local law enforcement and work within the Juvenile Justice System which will allow her to give back to the community.

Matt Andrade: Construction Management Technology

Matt was inspired by his Dad and Uncle at a very young age. He grew up watching and helping them work on projects around their homesHGTC was an attractive choice for Matt's educational plans because the cost of attendance is affordable!

Matt credits his success at HGTC to the professors for having real-world experiences in the field they are teaching, the hands-on opportunities for students inside and outside of the classroom, and the relatable technology provided by HGTC. His favorite experience thus far in the program at HGTC has been going off campus to assist the Habitat for Humanity in building new homes!

His tips for new students are “get involved in ANY on and off campus clubs and events!”

After graduation from HGTC, Matt plans to continue his education at a 4-year university to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. His career plans are to land a job as a Project Estimator or Scheduler and eventually open his own business as a General Contractor.