Cover photo: HCC radiologic technology student Amy Bulger.
|HCC nursing alumna Marie Kittelberger.|
When Marie Kittelberger enrolled in HCC’s nursing program in 1982, she had no idea she was starting a family tradition. The college business major, office manager, and mother of three was living and working in Columbia.
She took a careful look at the job market and decided she wanted a career that offered more job security than her current job as an office manager. She also thought she’d like a career that gave her the opportunity to help people. So she put her name on the waiting list for the nursing program at HCC; took anatomy, physiology, and other prerequisites; and launched herself, and eventually all of her children, into health care professions.
After earning her associate degree and RN certification, Kittelberger worked at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for a decade, first in neurosurgery and neurology, and then on many of the other surgery and post-surgery floors. Following her career at the hospital, she was a home health nurse for many years.
Kittelberger exemplifies the power of lifelong learning. She continued her education to become a board certified nurse in neuroscience and medicine, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Towson University, and a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s Seminary & University. Even in retirement she remained involved in health care as adjunct faculty in HCC’s continuing education division teaching medicine aide and nursing assistant programs.
Her enthusiasm must have rubbed off on her daughter, Kathy, who took courses at HCC and went on to earn a nursing degree at Salisbury University. Kathy later earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology as well as an MBA, and now handles case management for a large health maintenance organization in California.
Next to join the health care clan was Kathy’s sister, Kelly. As a young, divorced single parent, she saw what a good career nursing was for her mother and sister, so she enrolled in HCC’s evening nursing program, while working during the day.
“Kelly graduated from HCC as an RN, went to work at an outpatient dialysis clinic and has been happily doing that for 17 years now,” says her mom. “She loves her work – and it was her education at HCC that gave her that opportunity. When Kelly’s son Mark grew up, he attended HCC as well before transferring to Towson University to earn a bachelors degree in education.” A health care career also appealed to Kittelberger’s son, Keith, who is an anesthesiologist practicing in North Carolina.
Both Marie Kittelberger and her husband, Ken, have been impressed with the variety of programs and opportunities HCC offers students today. “I went to nursing school before the age of computers,” she says. “So much has changed, and the technology available is just fantastic. I know when students graduate from HCC, they are so well prepared.”
The Kittelbergers are helping those opportunities multiply for current students at HCC. They are donating funds to pay for the nursing simulation suite with four simulation labs in the new Health Sciences Building. And they also support an endowment for single parents in the nursing program which has helped 14 students so far.
“The community college offers people a good education at a low cost, and it is a great stepping point for health care careers,” Kittelberger explains. “We are pleased to give others the opportunity our daughter Kelly and I had to start working toward their careers at HCC.”