PORT EWEN – After completing a nationally accredited Surgical Technologist program at the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center, 19 graduates from across the Hudson Valley celebrated their accomplishments during an outdoor commencement ceremony on Thursday, July 15.
This year’s graduates faced unique and unconventional obstacles due to the unexpected challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to meeting the demands of the program that condensed two years of material into an intense ten-month period. Their teachers and Ulster BOCES’ administration recognize the hard work and persistence the students demonstrated to arrive at this momentous day.
“We are very proud of this dedicated group of surgical technician graduates,” said Eugene Knudsen, director of Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education Center. “This is a rigorous course of study, complete with clinical experiences, and it was no small feat for them and their instructors to overcome the challenging conditions this year presented. Yet, they persevered and are on their way to rewarding careers in healthcare.”
Graduate Rachel Arnold of Saugerties and Katelyn Miller of Highland have already been offered and accepted positions at Northern Dutchess Hospital, one of the 10 participating facilities in a five-county region that allow students to work on-site for the clinical hours required for the Surgical Technologist program. Arnold was also awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the Foundation for Surgical Technology. Barbara Maderi, director of Surgical Technology at Ulster BOCES, complimented Arnold’s efforts in the program as having gone “above and beyond.” Miller and Arnold both praised the hard work and dedication of their instructors for providing them with a quality education, despite unexpected challenges which arose from COVID-19.
Among the graduates, nine students were inducted into the Association of Surgical Technologist (AST) National Honor Society, including Poughkeepsie residents Tamirah Akbar, Duwayne Brown, and Kimberly Johnson; Rachel Arnold, Saugerties; Alex Driekonski, Stone Ridge; Emily Rachel Maneely, Accord; Katelyn Miller and Janessa Rios, Highland; and Torey Puff, Wallkill.
In addition to their recognition, the inductees received letters of recommendation to provide to potential future employers and educational institutes, along with lifetime memberships to AST.
Additional graduates include Raymond Coffey, Wallkill; Marielle Giancola, Newburgh; Michel Jean, Salisbury Mills; Madison Karavitch, New Windsor; Nelson Pineda-Sarmiento, Wappingers Falls; Abigail Sinagra and Suzanna Thomas, Kingston; Kolaiah Stewart and Iroda Young, Poughkeepsie; and Elizabeth Zonneveld, Monroe.
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.