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Community college offers Human Services Technology degree online


Nash Online has added four new fully online options to Nash Community College’s degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The Early Childhood Education degree with Special Education concentration is one of the new programs. “We partner with East Carolina University to provide the 2+2 Special Education degree completely online. Students can take their first two years online through NCC, and then complete the remainder of their four-year degree online with ECU. These programs complement the Middle Grade and Elementary Education online partnership we already had with the university,” Nash Online Department Chair Lane Freeman explained.

Two other programs now taught online are in the field of human services technology: an Associate Degree in Human Services Technology and a Case Management Certificate. To ensure the academic quality of its offerings, Nash Online employs instructors like Crystal Garris-Gowen who work in their field of study and bring work-based experiences into the virtual classroom.

Garris-Gowen found a way to marry her love for advocacy and family into a profession that allows her do what she loves while teaching others about it. She initially planned to be a history teacher, but when her grandfather became ill and had to reside in a nursing home, her career goals shifted. “I spent many afternoons with him watching westerns and sharing a meal. I saw the inner workings of facilities,” Garris-Gowen said. “Some of them were pleasant, and others were not. I did not understand why families never visited their loved ones in nursing homes. By the time I had decided to declare my major at Barton College, I was torn.”

A Qualified Professional (QP) as deemed by North Carolina guidelines, Garris-Gowen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work, Master of Arts degree in Adult Education, and Master of Science degree in Psychology. Her resume includes experience as social worker, case manager, care coordinator, and supervisor. Currently employed at Eastpointe in Rocky Mount as a care coordinator, Garris-Gowen serves individuals with developmental disabilities. “My goal is to help my students understand the impact they have on the individuals they serve.”

Very strong personal connections to her profession continue to propel Garris-Gowen in her advocacy, career trajectory, and teaching. “My grandparents helped raise me, along with my parents. Their pronounced effect upon my life has truly molded my enthusiasm for educating others about gerontology and being a social worker,” she shared.

Nash Community College now offers 14 two-year degree programs entirely online. Freeman said this means even someone who lives in another state may be eligible to complete a program remotely. “The concept of Nash Online is groundbreaking for many people. University students who are seeking transfer credit but do not want to leave the comfort of their dorm may pick up classes without paying higher tuition prices at the university,” Freeman said. He advises students pursuing a four-year university degree to consider taking their first two years online through the community college.

From Nash Online’s Human Services Technology degree to Accounting, Emergency Management, Information Systems degrees and more, a variety of online two-year programs provide flexible options for individuals seeking two-year and four-year studies. For more information, call 252-451-8321.