ELKO — For the last several weeks this space has been dedicated to the success stories of Great Basin College students, all of whom have taken advantage of the higher education opportunities in rural Nevada.
However, those stories are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of others. For instance, Margot Teague was one of the first graduates of GBC's Bachelor of Arts, Social Science program. She went on to earn her master's degree in cultural anthropology from the University of North Texas. In the course of completing her thesis, she conducted research that provided the Elko City Council with the information it needed to determine the feasibility of its city-wide recycling program. “I was an older student and I was worried about being prepared for graduate school. What I discovered was that GBC had prepared me very well.” Teague now has her own professional business, helping both public and private clients in a variety of social services.
Shanell Owen is the City Clerk for the City of Elko. She coordinates all ordinances and licensing for the city, manages city elections, and maintains an historic archive of all business conducted by the City of Elko since incorporation in 1917. She graduated from GBC with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Management Technology, and recently completed her Master of Arts in Organizational Management.
“GBC made a big difference for me, especially in networking. I am still in contact with my classmates” for professional support. Owen realizes the extent of the opportunities college provides the community. “My husband, son and father-in-law are all GBC graduates.”
Mary Winter is the President of Spring Creek Association. Winter remarked that her studies not only helped her professionally, but added to her own personal fulfillment. “I was able to write a book. (Biology Professor) Pete Bagley was a mentor to me.” Her study also prepared her to manage the affairs of the Spring Creek community and to help the organization face the challenges of its growth. Winter earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Resource Management from GBC.
Bailey Billington earned her associate degree at GBC. She did what many students do, earning an associate degree and transferring to another four year institution. “GBC put me on track to choose a career,” she said. Billington went on to earn a bachelor degree at Northern Arizona University. She returned to Elko and is now the director of the Elko Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Matthew McCarty is the manager of the TownPlace Suites by Marriott.
“Marriott values education in its managers. I can honestly say I would not have this job if it weren't for the education I received at GBC.” McCarty has an associate of science degree and expects to graduate with his bachelor degree in May. He has served as the President of the Elko Chamber of Commerce and was recently elected to the board of the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority. He continues to be responsible for the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, a group that helps to facilitate communication between citizens, elected officials and other policy makers.
According to a report published in the Christian Science Monitor, college graduates can expect to enjoy several advantages over those without a college degree. College graduates typically have a higher income. In fact, there is evidence a graduate with a two year degree in a technical area will enjoy a higher income than someone with a bachelor degree. Over all, a college graduate generally makes double the income of a high school graduate. More important, perhaps, than the individual reward, an entire community benefits when its citizens earn a college credential. The cost for social services lower significantly with college graduates, and revenues for amenities increase. Communities with more college graduates routinely enjoy the benefits of volunteerism, and college graduates vote, assuring a strong democracy. College graduates tend to be healthier, lowering the overall cost of health care. Fewer college graduates smoke and they tend to lead largely healthier lifestyles, promoting a strong and fit community.
Great Basin College President Dr. Mark A. Curtis takes pride in the success of GBC's graduates. “I know the value a college education provides an individual. I think through this series we've been able to see the benefit our graduates provide to the entire community. I am deeply appreciative of everything they do.”