After completing a rigorous, nationally accredited Surgical Technologist program at the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center, 19 graduates attended a socially-distanced commencement ceremony on Saturday, November 7.
This year’s graduates are quite exceptional. Not only did they enroll in a demanding program that condenses two years of material into an intense ten-month period, but they also had to contend with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their teachers and school leaders recognize the hard work and persistence the students needed in reaching this momentous day.
“I am very proud of the graduates of our Surgical Technology program. In an already challenging year, they persevered through a very tough program,” said Eugene Knudsen, director of Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center. “I am confident that we are sending a very talented and capable group out into our regional healthcare facilities and I wish them all the luck in their new careers.”
The 19 graduates from the program hail from a range of areas across the Hudson Valley. They are: Alicia Amthor, Wallkill; Courtney Balding, Milton; Julisa Buccieri, Walden; Alexandra Cohen, Newburgh; Anthony D’Amico, Middletown; Meghan Decicco, Kingston; Francesca DeLuca, Kingston; Matthew Featherston, Poughkeepsie; Rosalyn Grados, Newburgh; Evanna Hernandez, Newburgh; Jessica Hernandez, Newburgh; Michele Hossink, Middletown; Sarah McCaffrey, Poughkeepsie; Jahimara Meraz, Newburgh; Erick Mercado, Poughkeepsie; Brandon Middleton, Fishkill; Julie Rider, Olivebridge; Wendy Tarpey, Croton-On-Hudson; and Khari Wellman, Poughkeepsie.
One student, Michele Hossink, was awarded a scholarship for $1,000 from the Association of Surgical Technologists’ (AST) Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.
Hossink and Julie Rider each gave a speech to their fellow graduates, highlighting the importance of the work they will be doing in the medical field. “I hope we will always remember where we came from and be willing to humbly serve our fellow men and women,” said Hossink.
Additionally, seven graduates were inducted into the AST National Honor Society: Alicia Amthor, Matthew Featherston, Jessica Hernandez, Michele Hossink, Sarah McCaffrey, Jahimara Meraz, and Brandon Middleton. In addition to their recognition, they received letters of recommendation to potential future employers and educational institutes, along with lifetime memberships to the association.
Surgical technicians assist surgeons and other medical professionals in hospital operating rooms and similar environments. Largely, they prepare patients, rooms, and equipment for pending surgical procedures. They also assist during those procedures as part of a team of operating room professionals.
Surgical technologist students complete a ten-month, 970-hour program that is designed for candidates with no previous medical background. Their real-world experiences include classroom and simulated laboratory work, as well as clinical opportunities at various medical facilities throughout the area.