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Two HS Students Earn Associate Degrees and the TCSG Instructor of the Year Speaks at GNTC’s Spring Commencement Ceremony

Elizabeth Carpenter (right) of Rome High School earned an associate degree in Business Management and Dakota Finster (left) of Chattooga High School earned his associate degree in GNTC’s Social Work Assistant program.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students donned their caps and gowns as family and friends gathered at the Forum River Center in Rome for GNTC’s Spring Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 9. The college awarded graduates with associate degrees, diplomas and certificates during the ceremony and recognized students from GNTC’s nine-county service area.

Highlights from the ceremony included two dual enrollment high school students earning an associate degree from GNTC before their high school graduation and a commencement speech by GNTC instructor Leyner Argueta, the 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

Elizabeth Carpenter of Rome High School earned an associate degree in Business Management and Dakota Finster of Chattooga High School earned his associate degree in GNTC’s Social Work Assistant program.

Carpenter plans to continue her education at Georgia Southern University and pursue a major in Marketing. She says that already having an associate degree gives her a great head start.

“This will definitely benefit me, look great on my resume and will help me be above where I need to be when I get into my career field,” said Carpenter.

Finster was the first student in Chattooga County Schools’ history to earn an associate degree before receiving his high school diploma. He plans to continue his education at Faulkner University.

GNTC graduates celebrate stand up and celebrate during GNTC’s Spring Commencement Ceremony.

After students, administrators and faculty marched into place during Processional, the Pledge of Allegiance was conducted by Jay Pickern, instructor of Business Management at GNTC. Invocation was led by Mark Upton, director of Marketing Management at GNTC.

Stuart Phillips, interim president of GNTC, began the evening’s proceedings by welcoming everyone and congratulating the graduates. He encouraged the graduating class to continue their education.

“Do not let this be the end of your journey,” said Phillips. “Whether you move forward to studying at another college, or you just need additional training for your career, never stop learning.”

Leyner Argueta, the 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), was the keynote commencement speaker for the evening.

Leyner Argueta, the 2019 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), as the keynote commencement speaker for the evening.

“We all have struggles, we all have challenges and you being here is a perfect example of what victory looks like. I know that some of you have struggled to get to this place and for many of you tonight is a dream come true,” said Argueta. “I share with you that same passion and it is a dream for me to be able to address this graduating class.”

Michael Fennell, dean of Business and Industrial Technologies at GNTC, recognized High Honor graduates, who have a 4.0 grade point average, and Honor graduates, who have a grade point average between 3.5 and 3.99.

A special recognition for graduates that are veterans, Phi Beta Lambda members, SkillsUSA members, Student Government Association members and dual enrollment high school students was also led by Fennell.

Jocelyn Betsabe Cisneros earned a certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education Basics.


Elizabeth Anderson, vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC, presented graduates with associate degrees, diplomas and certificates.

Listed are graduates that participated in the 2018 Spring Commencement Ceremony showing (from left to right) the graduate’s name and program of study. This list does not include students that have graduated, but did not participate in the ceremony, or students that registered for the ceremony after the commencement program was printed:

Associate of Applied Science        

Rosa I. Aguilar, Business Technology

Crystal Rose Alday, Cybersecurity

Kelli B. Arthur, Early Childhood Care and Education

Jasmine L. Askew, Respiratory Care

Kyleigh L. Ballard, Respiratory Care

Skky Monique Barrett, Respiratory Care

Tony Alexander Barrios, Accounting

Kimberlyn Bates, Business Technology

Christa F. Beall, Respiratory Care

Lindsay A. Bearden, Business Technology

Misty Blasengame, Early Childhood Care and Education

Barbara G. Booker, Business Management

Samantha A. Bragg, Diagnostic Medical Sonography

McKenzie C. Brown, Early Childhood Care and Education

Jessica Callahan, Business Technology

Jenifer C. Camacho, Early Childhood Care and Education

Aleasha G. Cannon, Business Management

Corey L. Carlile, Marketing Management

Elizabeth Grace Carpenter, Business Management

Jennifer Ines Cervantes, Business Technology

Maegan L. Cheatwood, Respiratory Care

Summer M. Cole, Early Childhood Care and Education

Shannon M. Cooper, Business Management

Jacob Cordell, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Carmen Davis, Respiratory Care

Kayla Reece Davis-Anderson, Early Childhood Care and Education

Sherrie Dean, Early Childhood Care and Education

Grace Dunnaway, Criminal Justice Technology

William M. Elsberry, Cybersecurity

Robert B. Evans, Early Childhood Care and Education

Dakota R. Finster, Social Work Assistant

Elizabeth T. Gooch, Early Childhood Care and Education

Janell Herrera, Early Childhood Care and Education

Clarissa M. Jimenez, Business Management

Cheyenne B. Johnson, Business Management

Andrea Marie Jordan, Computer Support Specialist

Kristina Marie Keith, Business Management

Maciej F. Kozlowski, Networking Specialist

Julie P. Langford, Respiratory Care

Brandy Jean LeVan, Computer Support Specialist

Courtni Lomenick, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Allie M. Long, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Ashley M. Long, Business Management

Jasmaine Lovelace, Respiratory Care

Haley L. Mann, Business Management

Kimberly C. Marbutt, Business Management

Teresa K. Marshall, Early Childhood Care and Education

Jose L. Martinez, Electronics Technology

Marlena Mondragon, Early Childhood Care and Education

Hannah N. Nesbitt, Culinary Arts

Jordan Bartley Newton, Industrial Systems Technology

Mary Ann Owens, Business Management

Maritza Perez, Early Childhood Care and Education

Christopher M. Pope, Marketing Management

Nya M. Powell, Business Technology

Jonathan D. Privett, Networking Specialist

Isabell Rincon, Business Management

Dallas W. Roberts, Business Management

Ashley M. Rosser, Business Management

Thomas Scott, Marketing Management

April Dawn Scruggs, Respiratory Care

Jayla Shenee Shropshire, Business Management

Michael C. Siefert, Networking Specialist

Emily M. Smith, Business Management

Charlina B. Smithers, Social Work Assistant

Myra Rutledge Stone, Business Management

Jarod Streetman, Early Childhood Care and Education

Hannah J. Taylor, Early Childhood Care and Education

Rebecca A. Thomas, Criminal Justice Technology

Alexandra R. Trotter, Respiratory Care

Matthew Vaughn, Culinary Arts

Olivia Rachel Venable, Business Management

Mariah S. Wallace, Early Childhood Care and Education

Amanda Randale Watson, Web Site Design/Development

Karah Ryan Witt, Accounting

Holly L. Wright, Business Management

Amanda L. York, Early Childhood Care and Education

Jose C. Zamora, Automotive Technology

John David Zapp, Automotive Technology

Associate of Science in Nursing     

Neva Caroline Ayer, Nursing

Santana Nicole Baker, Nursing

Kayla Denise Brown, Nursing

Blakely Campbell Burgess, Nursing

Leigha Hayes Byars, Nursing

Stephanie N. Gagliardi, Nursing

Krista Marie Hammontree, Nursing

Teresa Land, Nursing

Tina Renee Minter, Nursing

Amy Moriah Moore, Nursing

Amy B. Neighbors, Nursing

James D. Rewis, Nursing

Ashley S. Wilburn, Nursing

Diploma

Jose Alvarado, Industrial Systems Technology

Dana L. Brannon, Early Childhood Care and Education

Tevin M. Brown, Business Technology

John H. Bunch, Air Conditioning Technology

Norberto Castaneda Vazquez, Electrical Systems Technology

Daniel J. Davis, Automotive Technology

Larissa J. Douthit, Social Work Assistant

Catherine R. Edwards, Criminal Justice Technology

Malik S. Gleaves, Air Conditioning Technology

Jaweah L. Hamilton, Early Childhood Care and Education

Haley Johnson, Business Technology

John C. King, Computer Support Specialist

David Lebaron, Auto Collision Repair

Abner J. Magana, Electrical Systems Technology

Latorya F. Manning, Business Management

Erika Y. Perez, Early Childhood Care and Education

Brittany N. Thrasher, Marketing Management

Tamara Villasenor, Business Management

Felicia D. Waldon, Criminal Justice Technology

Hilliard A. Williams, Welding and Joining Technology

Technical Certificate of Credit        

Ella Butler Bennett, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Jocelyn Betsabe Cisneros, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Thomas Ray Cox, Phlebotomy Technician

Cinthia Guadalupe Dominguez Andrade, Human Resource Management Specialist

Paul L. Flurry, Commercial Truck Driving

Macy P. Forrister, Medical Front Office Assistant

Melanie Brooke Fowler, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Anna Davis George, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Drema N. Hall, Phlebotomy Technician

Holli R. Hendrix, Medical Coding

Aemy M. Lopez-Vicente, Project SUCCESS Manufacturing Specialist

Kaelyn E. Madden, Phlebotomy Technician

Jocelyn Medina, Project SUCCESS Manufacturing Specialist

Mackinzie C. Parrott, Health Care Assistant

Adrianna Nicole Resendez, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Abigail L. Sisk, Medical Coding

Kristen Ann Skramstad, Health Care Assistant

Jessica Smith, Phlebotomy Technician

Emily Anne Thompson            , Phlebotomy Technician

Ashley Adriana Vasquez, Early Childhood Care and Education Basics

Monika Yoana Vasquez-Lopez, Project SUCCESS Manufacturing Specialist

Vanessa Vega, Medical Front Office Assistant

Anna White, Phlebotomy Technician

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Sights from the Spring 2019 Graduation Ceremony at the Forum River Center in Rome, Georgia on May 9.

“Bobcat Break 2019”

#GetFocusedGetHired
#SpringBreak2019
#BobcatBreak

Gold Rush! GNTC Students Take Top Honors at 2019 SkillsUSA Georgia Competition, Lock In On Nationals

Four men in khaki work clothes in front a black back drop and wearing medals
For the fourth year in a row, GNTC won the gold medal in the TeamWorks competition at the 2019 SkillsUSA Georgia competition. (From left to right) Gabriel Lopez, Ryan Banks, Joel Paez and Jesse Flanagan.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students had an outstanding performance at the 2019 SkillsUSA Georgia State Leadership and Skills Conference, March 21-23, in Atlanta. GNTC competed in 15 categories and took home 13 medals; five gold, six silver and two bronze.

Highlights from SkillsUSA Georgia include winning the gold and silver medal in Practical Nursing, GNTC’s 2019 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner receiving the gold medal in Automotive Service Technology, the TeamWorks team winning the gold medal for the fourth consecutive year and more.

“Our students worked very hard to showcase their talents in the competitions at SkillsUSA Georgia,” said Missy Mclain, SkillsUSA advisor for GNTC.  “We are so very proud of the success of our students and how well they represented GNTC.”

Two women in blue scrubs in front of a black backdrop and wearing medals.
Kimberlee Hall (right) won the gold medal in Practical Nursing and Brittany Square (left) won the silver medal in Practical Nursing at the 2019 SkillsUSA Georgia competition.

Listed below are gold, silver and bronze medalists including the student’s name, competition and county of residence. Team competitions are listed with the competition name first:

Listed below are gold, silver and bronze medalists including the student’s name, competition and county of residence. Team competitions are listed with the competition name first:

Gold Medal

Cole Allen, Internet of Things and Smart Home, Chattooga County.

Norberto Castaneda, Industrial Motor Controls, Floyd County.

Kimberlee Hall, Practical Nursing, Gordon County.

Brandon Neighbors, Automotive Service Technology, Catoosa County.

TeamWorks (team competition): Ryan Banks, Whitfield County; Jesse Flanagan, Polk County; Gabriel Lopez, Bartow County; and Joel Paez, Whitfield County.

Man in blue shirt with red lanyard sits at laptop computer with a car in the background.
Brandon Neighbors, GNTC’s 2019 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner, won the gold medal in the Automotive Service Technology competition at SKillsUSA Georgia.


Silver Medal

Josh Barlow, Medical Terminology, Floyd County.

Autumn Donaldson, Medical Assisting, Whitfield County.

Julianna Matthews, Extemporaneous Speaking, Lee County.

Chris Roberson, HVACR, Polk County.

Brittany Square, Practical Nursing, Henry County.

Welding Fabrication (team competition): Dakota Green, Gordon County; Timothy Myers, Catoosa County; and Luke Shehee, Catoosa County.

Man in orange shirt, red lanyard, and white worksite helmet stands at a metal console.
Norberto Castaneda won the gold medal in the Industrial Motor Controls competition at SKillsUSA Georgia.


Bronze Medal

Ethan Mitchell, Electrical Construction Wiring, Gordon County

Colby Wyatt, CNC Technology, Chattooga County.

The award ceremony was led by Julianna Matthews, this year’s president of SkillsUSA Georgia. Matthews is a Construction Management major at GNTC and earned a silver medal in the Extemporaneous Speaking competition.

“I want to thank my advisors and other individuals that believed in me,” said Matthews. “I would not have the opportunity to see myself as I do now if it wasn’t for them and SkillsUSA.”

During the opening ceremony for SkillsUSA Georgia, a special recognition was held for GNTC alumnus Ryan Fincher, the 2019 SkillsUSA World Team Welder. Fincher was selected to represent the nation at the WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia. The best welders from around the world will take part in the elite international competition.

GNTC was recognized as a Level 1 Quality Chapter and also received the Gold Chapter of Distinction during the 2019 SkillsUSA Georgia opening ceremony.

Gold medalists will advance to the SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Ky. The national competition will be held the week of June 24.

Man in jacket holds a trophy in front of a lightly-colored backdrop.
During the opening ceremony for SkillsUSA Georgia a special recognition was held for GNTC alumnus Ryan Fincher, the 2019 SkillsUSA World Team Welder. Fincher was selected to represent the nation at the WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia. The best welders from around the world will take part in the elite international competition.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

GNTC Headlines NW Georgia’s Focus on Higher Education

Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce Showcases
Georgia Northwestern, Dalton State

(Dalton, Georgia) – Business and political leaders from Dalton, Georgia, as well as all across the Northwest Georgia region were on hand for the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce’s “Good Morning Dalton: Higher Education” event Tuesday morning at the Dalton Convention Center.

Students and administration from both Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) and Dalton State College shared their stories of success and growth with those in attendance. For GNTC, Social Work Assistant program student Pamela Tallent, Business Management alumnus Adrian Gutierrez, and College President Pete McDonald took the stage. All three spoke on the impact the college has had, as well as the growth it has seen in just the past few years.

Two men in suits standing behind a podium in front of a projection screen.
“President and CEO of the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Board Member Joe Yarbrough, left, speaks on behalf of Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Pete McDonald. Yarbrough spoke in regards to McDonald’s pending retirement and his lifetime of dedication to higher education in Northwest Georgia.”


“GNTC has a role to play of putting people into the workplace,” said McDonald. “That is our job. Our job is to train the workforce. We need to do that as quickly as possible and inexpensively as possible.” Tallent, a current student, and Gutierrez, a graduate of GNTC, both commented on the efficiency and affordability of higher education at GNTC.

Gutierrez spoke of his life that begin in the United States as an undocumented worker. However, he wanted to change all of that beginning with plenty of help from a proper education. “I was born and raised in Mexico with very little expectation of success,” said Gutierrez. “Basically, I had no education in the beginning and went to work at the age of nine years old.”

Man in suit stands behind a podium and speaks to a crowd.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College Business Management alumnus Adrian Gutierrez speaks to the crowd at the 2019 Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce event called, “Good Morning Dalton: Higher Education.” Gutierrez was part of several speakers from both GNTC and Dalton State College to take the stage to speak about the impact higher education had on their lives in Northwest Georgia.”

After coming to the states, Gutierrez would eventually move on to learn to speak English, earn his GED®, and then a college education from GNTC. Gutierrez is now taking classes at Dalton State College to further his education and career.

Tallent spoke about her home life and the demands it had on her and how it would impact her own success. “After being out of school for more than 16 years, I have truly learned so much from the Social Work Assistant program. I will definitely pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work next. GNTC set me up for long-term financial gain, job stability, career satisfaction, and success outside of the workplace.”

Woman standing behind podium and speaks to a crowd.
“Georgia Northwestern Technical College Social Work Assistant Program student Pamela Tallent speaks to the crowd at the 2019 Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce event called, “Good Morning Dalton: Higher Education.” Tallent was part of several speakers from both GNTC and Dalton State College to take the stage to speak about the impact higher education had in their lives in Northwest Georgia.”


Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

GNTC and Norfolk Southern, Partnering In Safety

Many thanks to our Georgia Division for their recent $2,000 contribution to the Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). The college plans on using the funds for a start-up campus police department. We are proud to help assist in making this project a reality. Pictured left to right: Chad Cardin (Campus Police Chief), Neil Palmer (director of transportation services – NS), Gary McConathy (Campus Police Lieutenant/Training Coordinator), and Dee Pearson (special agent in charge – NS Police)

Building NW Georgia’s Workforce at Georgia Northwestern

Less Time, Register Next Week

GNTC’s Fincher Wins Nationals, Headed To Russia

GNTC alum Ryan Fincher selected as the U.S. representative for an international welding competition in Russia

Man with gray button-down shirt holds trophy while posing for outside picture at night. Soft lighting in the distance.
GNTC alumnus Ryan Fincher of Cedartown was selected as the U.S. representative for an elite international competition in Russia against the best welders from around the world.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) alumnus and 2017 SkillsUSA welding national champion Ryan Fincher was chosen to be the U.S. representative in an elite international competition against the best welders from around the world.

On Thursday, Fincher was selected as the SkillsUSA World Team Welder to represent the nation at the WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia.

The announcement was made at an awards program hosted by the American Welding Society (AWS) in Huntsville, Ala. The WorldSkills Competition will take place Aug. 22-27.

As the winner, Fincher will receive a $40,000 scholarship in addition to representing the nation against the best WorldSkills welders from other countries.

“It is an honor to be able to represent the U.S.,” said Fincher. “I have always dreamed about this every since I heard of WorldSkills.”

A resident of Cedartown, Fincher has been competing in a four-stage process for the past several months to become the SkillsUSA World Team Welder.

The final stage of the competition took place Feb. 16-21 at Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Tanner, Ala.

“Ryan is the first person in the State of Georgia to win this competition,” said Matt Hayden, instructor of Welding and Joining Technology at GNTC.

Hayden is also an instructor of Metals and Welding at Cedartown High School and has been coaching Fincher since he was high a school student.

Every two years, the AWS invites the top 48 welding competitors from the National SkillsUSA Championships to compete in the four-stage competition to decide the SkillsUSA World Team Welder. All competitors were state champions and have competed at the National Level for SkillsUSA.

In 2016, Fincher was a top six finalist to become the SkillsUSA World Team Welder.

Fincher already has experience in international welding competitions. This past summer, he was selected by the AWS to be the American representative in the China International Welding Competition 2018 in Beijing and won the bronze medal.

Fincher’s trip to China was part of his preparation to compete in the four-part Team USA Welder Selection competition. There were representatives from China, Mongolia, Korea, Russia, Australia, and other countries at the competition in Beijing.

“I was amazed at the quality and level that the other welders at the competition in China were operating at and it has given me a goal to try to be better than what I have seen them accomplish,” said Fincher.

Fincher is currently working as a part-time lab assistant in the Welding and Joining program at GNTC and has been practicing and preparing full-time for the four-part competition for the past several months. Fincher practiced at GNTC’s welding labs and the welding labs at Cedartown High School.

“Since the beginning of August, Ryan quit working full-time and has been practicing full-time for this competition,” said Hayden.

As a GNTC student, Fincher won the gold medal in the Welding Competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in 2017 and became the college’s first ever national champion. Fincher graduated from GNTC in 2017.

“These competitions have pushed me to always find better ways and more efficient ways to be a better welder and strive for perfection each time I step into the booth,” said Fincher.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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