SUNY Adirondack Alumni Association
Sarah Ghent, SUNY Adirondack Nursing Class of 1980: "You have a good solid nursing education, and the professors and students both have a profound interest in excelling."
Sarah Ghent, Class of 1980, has spent most of her working life in the health care field after earning an associate degree in nursing from SUNY Adirondack. Now in what she calls “semi-retirement,” she’s taking on another task: spearheading an effort to create a SUNY Adirondack Nursing Alumni Group.
Sarah Ghent, Class of 1980
Sarah will be attending a Nursing Alumni Reception at the college on Wednesday, March 26, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to gather information and feedback on what nursing alumni need and what programs they’d like to see implemented.
After earning her associate degree from SUNY Adirondack, Sarah served as an RN Cluster Leader and Associate Primary Care RN at Glens Falls Hospital. Her work has taken her from Staten Island, NY (where she and her husband Gary raised four children) to Albany, Schenectady and western New England with career stops at Staten Island University Hospital, MVP Healthcare, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, HIP of Greater New York, Bayley Seton Hospital on Staten Island, and most recently Mohawk Valley Medical Associates (MVMA) in Schenectady. Along the way she earned a BS in health and human services from Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, CA.
She and her husband have seven grandchildren.
We spoke with Sarah during a recent visit to the SUNY Adirondack campus:
Q: Being raised downstate, how did you come to get your degree at SUNY Adirondack?
A: I began to pursue a career in business, but I became ill and was exposed to the health care field early on. That experience led me to become interested in nursing. After having four children, I went back to school and took part-time courses at City University of New York on Staten Island.
We moved around a lot because of my husband’s career, and we were looking for an opportunity to relocate. There was a question over whether my CUNY credits would transfer to SUNY Adirondack, but Gary said, “If you can transfer, we can move.” It worked out that the credits did transfer, and we moved to Hadley.
I finished my nursing degree at SUNY Adirondack and graduated in May of 1980. Dr. Peg Felmly was chair of the department at the time, and I thank her to this day for the opportunity. There was always a comfort level with her, even at that time. SUNY Adirondack offered a good solid nursing education, and the professors and students both had, and still have, a profound interest in excelling.
Q: Your career brought you to many different stops. Why did that appeal to you?
My career has offered me an opportunity to relocate and reinvent myself. In general, the health care field allows a person to fit in at different locations, whether it involves becoming a member of home care staff, developing quality improvement, undertaking utilization review or reviewing quality of care.
The stops along the way have been varied, but I never stopped learning, and that’s important. In this field, you learn through other people’s eyes. Any experience you have can teach you.
Q: What do you see as the future of nursing?
A: I think “specificity” is the key word. There are certifications for each area now. Much of the care is outpatient now, rather than inpatient care. Much of the health care field is becoming more technologically integrated. But skilled people are still needed to carry you through. As a patient, you can’t just rely on the computer. And if you are seeking employment in the field, the technology allows employees to become more mobile.
I think because of this, education requirements for nurses are increasing, and that’s why we’re excited about the 3+2 Bachelor’s Degree Option in nursing between SUNY Adirondack and the SUNY Plattsburgh Extension Center. It’ll soon be necessary for RNs to have bachelor’s degrees, and it’s great that we’re establishing a program here.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to establish a good connection between current nursing students and our nursing alumni?
A: I enjoy learning, and I enjoy learning from young people. It gives us the ability to interact and share knowledge, and we are able to teach each other. It’s all a learning process. If you are constantly learning, you are not becoming complacent.
At the (March 26 Career Day and Reception) I’ll be gathering as much information and I can.
Q: How has the health care field evolved during your career?
Well, we’ve gone from providing “medical care” to “health care.” Technology has changed the field and pharmaceuticals have changed the field. As I said, it’s all about specificity. It used to be that a physician or medical professional had an office staff of five or six people, but with all the specialties now, sometimes those staffs grow to 20 or 30 people.
The health care field has also opened up an opportunity for more people to find employment. There is a shortage of qualified physicians, and that has led a lot of nurses to seek careers as PAs (Physicians’ Assistants) or Nurse-Practitioners.
Q: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career as it progresses?
A: I think we have to continue to keep the Quality of Care Circle intact. That is, patients, physicians, insurers and health care providers need to be in the loop; we all need to be included in that tight circle.
(The above story was published February 21, 2014.)
Dennis Harris, Class of 1996 and Senior Engineer at Ball Aerospace: "You have a treasure in SUNY Adirondack."
Dennis Harris, Class of 1996, was, by his own words, “a state worker with no direction” when he enrolled at SUNY Adirondack in the early 1990s. His decision to go back to school came after several years working for the New York State Department of Developmental Services. His interest in astronomy led to his current position as a senior engineer at Ball Aerospace, where he and his team recalibrated and delivered the Solar Backscattering Ultra Violet instrument (SBUV/2), which monitors ozone levels in the atmosphere. Dennis established a scholarship through the SUNY Adirondack Foundation for returning adult students like himself.
Q: Did you grow up in the area?
A: No. My dad was in the Navy, so we lived all over the world – Southeast Asia, California, Alaska, and Colorado. I moved to upstate New York in 1986 and got a job as an aide at a facility for the developmentally disabled. After a few years of that, I had a life change and decided to go back to school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I had an interest in astronomy and science, and that led me to my current position.
Q: Was there any one person at SUNY Adirondack who had an influence on you and the direction you took?
A: Two people, actually. Jane Owen (a member of the counseling staff) and Rich Ring (professor of English at SUNY Adirondack) were my instructors in a College Survival course, a course for at-risk students. And I was high-risk – I was a returning adult student who had no idea of what he wanted to do. But they saved me. They showed me the door to the possibilities in life.
I graduated SUNY Adirondack in January of 1996 at the ripe old age of 37. I wound up going to The University at Albany and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics, and then earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Q: How did you get the job at Ball Aerospace?
A: I got it through networking with an engineer who was working at Ball. In 2004 I moved to Colorado and started working at Ball Aerospace. I worked for Raytheon in California for a while and then came back to Boulder to work with Ball in 2010, and I’ve been there ever since.
Q: What does a Solar Backscattering Ultra Violet Instrument do?
A: The monitoring system is attached to a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather satellite and it measures ozone levels in the atmosphere. The layer protects the earth from the ultra-violet rays of the sun. It appears that the ozone holes in the atmosphere have gotten smaller over the last decade, due mainly to less CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) being released into the atmosphere. The ozone layer is thinner over the North and South Poles, and the layer grows and shrinks seasonally, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
I’m currently the integrated product team leader for the next generation of ozone measuring equipment called the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite, or OMPS. The flight unit is flying on the SNPP (Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership) spacecraft and was launched in October of 2011. The mission is to provide data continuity from previous efforts. This is very important to me personally.
Q: You established a scholarship for returning adult students at SUNY Adirondack through the college’s Foundation and you were back in town this year to meet with the two recipients. Why did you establish this scholarship?
A: I make yearly contributions to the Foundation, and it was split into two scholarships. I knew from personal experience how difficult it is to be a returning adult student, and I thought it was time to pay it back, to coin a phrase. I was the recipient of a scholarship as a returning adult student and it meant a lot to me.
I was really impressed with the Foundation’s ability to choose such deserving students for the scholarships, some good people who could use the help.
Q: It’s clear SUNY Adirondack had an indelible impact on your life.
A: I love the college. If I could get a job that contributed to the college, I’d be working there. You have a treasure there in New York in SUNY Adirondack. I am just very happy to contribute in any way I can.
(The above story was published December 17, 2013.)
DR. TED D. SPRING, SUNY ADIRONDACK CLASS OF '68, NAMED PRESIDENT OF CAPE FEAR COMMUNITY COLLEGE, WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
Dr. Ted D. Spring, a graduate of Indian Lake Central School and a SUNY Adirondack alumnus, has been appointed president of Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Dr. Ted D. Spring, President, New River Community and Technical College, Beckley, West Virginia
The Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees announced the appointment Oct. 2. Dr. Spring is expected to take office at CFCC sometime in November.
Cape Fear Community College is the fourth largest community college in North Carolina and enrolls over 31,000 students.
Dr. Spring is currently president of New River Community and Technical College in Beckley, West Virginia. According to a statement by the college, Dr. Spring has over 33 years of experience in college administration.
"Spring is a first generation college student and a graduate of a community college," the statement reads. "His career has taken him to nine states, multiple institutions of higher education and a variety of leadership positions."
Dr. Spring in the SUNY Adirondack 1968 SCOPE Yearbook.
Dr. Spring is a graduate of the SUNY Adirondack Class of 1968, where he earned an associate degree in business administration. He holds a bachelor's degree from Castleton State College, a master's degree in education from Bowling Green State University, and a doctorate from the University of Maryland.
Your legacy can help many students in the future. Make your gift to the SUNY Adirondack Foundation and support student scholarships. Click Here!