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Setting an Example of Academic Excellence

December 26, 2011

It's funny the turns our lives can take. Sometimes what doesn't seem important at one point in our life can have greater significance down the road. Immediately after she graduated from high school, Demetria Patterson began taking classes at a community college. She realized college life was not for her at that time and joined the U.S. Army. It was later, after she returned home from the military, got married and had a baby that her perspective changed.

"Once my daughter started preschool, my perspectives changed," Patterson said. "I wanted to set an example that exemplified excellence in academics and as a stellar parent. I knew I must take a proactive approach and pursue my college education.

"At first, I was apprehensive due to the lack of time outside of the classroom. However, I understood the value in education and importance of establishing a household standard of academics."

This pursuit led her to research local colleges and universities that would fit her busy lifestyle. Averett's Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) Program appealed to her because of the rich academic history of the school and the format in which courses are designed.

"The GPS Program allows me to take one class at a time and focus/concentrate on that particular area of study. Typically, with traditional programs you may take two to three classes per semester. The GPS Program allows me to balance motherhood, wife, work and school simultaneously while pursuing my degree."

This semester she interviewed Henrico County Supervisor James Donati Jr. for one of her classes. "With my military experience and passion for service, I want a career where these talents can be maximized. Therefore, I reached out to several public officials to gain their perspective on working within the government sector and maintaining a level of success in the public administration field."

Averett's GPS Program provides students with a variety of experiences that prepare them for a career. Since she began pursuing her degree, Patterson's writing and editing skills have improved substantially. Patterson works at VCU Health System and because of the improvements in her writing and editing, her team leader often asks her to write and test Standard Operating Procedure documents for the department.

"These leadership tasks provide a growth platform for future management opportunities within and outside of my current organization." Patterson works in the patient accounting department with the Medicare Billing Team. In this role, she monitors and tests extracted data, answers patients inquiries regarding billing questions and processes insurance claim requests for revenue.

Patterson will graduate in the spring with her bachelor's degree, and she plans to pursue a master's degree because "it is important for my daughter to see that it is never too late to achieve your goals in higher education.

"The journey to complete my educational endeavors has been challenging, and the task of completing my bachelor's degree was difficult. However, I am extremely grateful for the experience and knowledge obtained from Averett University."