Tag Archives: godwin

Co-op experience comes full circle

Terri Godwin understands the value of coop work experience both as a student at Durham Tech and now as a manager at Duke Medicine. In 2008, a cycle began, one that will continue to ripple through the lives of Durham Tech students. The cycle’s beginning was neatly captured in the Fall 2008 issue of Durham Tech’s Choices for Success newsletter in the article “Medical Office Administration Program Provides On-the-Job Experience.” The article profiled students Octavia Fitzpatrick, Sarah Grueller, and Godwin, highlighting the fast friendship and teamwork that characterized the threesome who came from vastly different backgrounds. Fitzpatrick, Grueller, and Godwin were among the first Durham Tech students to take advantage of the cooperative work experience program at Duke Medical Center clinics that had just been introduced, quickly grasping that it was an ideal way to hone their skills in medical terminology, transcriptions, billing, and coding. Godwin, in particular, thrived at the Duke clinic. After completing the required 320 hours of work experience to obtain an Associate in Applied Science degree, Godwin was offered a full-time position in a clinical setting at Duke. Under the watchful eye of her supervisor, Godwin rose through the ranks to her current position of service access manager at the Duke Primary Care Durham Pediatric Clinic on North Duke Street. She, in turn, has kept in contact with Durham Tech, reaching out to Charlene est, associate dean and department head of Business, Education, and Information Technologies. West introduced her to Micara Lewis, department chair for Business and Information Technologies and coordinator of cooperative education programs, who helps Godwin recruit current Durham Tech students as co-op workers for her program. “I’m familiar with what’s necessary to help the students succeed, and I appreciate the quality of students that Durham Tech provides,” Godwin says with a knowing smile. Elizabeth “Liz” Devine is an outstanding example of the caliber of students Godwin expects the college to produce. Devine benefited from a new program funded by a grant from Wells Fargo, which provides stipends to support students as they complete their 320 co-op hours. With Wells Fargo’s funding supporting her, Devine’s internship gave her a chance to prove her value to Duke. The result: an offer of full-time employment that begins immediately — and allows her to finish the coursework needed to earn her degree. Godwin says, “The faculty at Durham Tech was always so supportive and I will be forever grateful for my experience there.” Devine agrees, adding “Without my co-op experience, I would never have been able to get my job as patient services associate. Many schools don’t offer a co-op program, and as a result, students often graduate with no experience in their fields of study.” After completing her Medical Office Administration degree in May, Devine plans to finish her Office Administration degree by the end of this year. According to West, when students are able to apply what they learn in the classroom in real-world situations, they gain confidence in their abilities to perform independently, becoming valuable additions to their employers. West adds that many alumni continue to pay their experience at Durham Tech forward, saying, “We have past graduates remember their experiences at the college and look for ways to be of assistance. Many of them volunteer to supervise the students, allowing them to complete their workbased learning requirement. It’s really nice to see the cycle continue under its own momentum.”