Gwinnett Tech Names Briauna Howard 2012 GOAL Winner
Nursing student devoted her life to helping others after husband's illness
Nursing student Briauna Howard is the winner of Gwinnett Technical College's 2012 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL).
The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) sponsors the GOAL program, which recognizes outstanding technical college students and honors excellence in academics and leadership. Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state's 26 technical colleges.
Howard began her education on a different path, pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology. But after helping her husband battle brain cancer, she quickly realized that her true calling was in healthcare and decided to change course.
"This is the field that I'm meant to be in... I'm meant to touch people's lives," says Howard. "The [nurses] treated my husband so well when he was hospitalized... [and] it touched me. I wanted to be that person making a difference in someone's life the way they were making a difference in mine."
Howard enrolled in Gwinnett Tech's Registered Nursing program – and has been a top student ever since. She was selected to serve as a Student Ambassador and is helping lead GTC's involvement in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, one the largest cancer fundraising events in the United States. Howard also was one of four charter recipients of the Clarke Family Nursing Scholarship.
Gwinnett Tech's other GOAL finalists include:
Bill Mabrey, Air Condition Technology, Lawrenceville
Sheeba Virani, Early Childhood Education, Snellville
Kimberley Horn, Business Administration Technology, Lawrenceville
Nursing instructor Theresa Roberts nominated Howard for the GOAL award. Roberts says Howard was the perfect choice, not only because of her top-notch academic performance, but also because "of her ability to weather intense personal challenges while maintaining a positive outlook on life."
"She is an outstanding student who works hard despite the demands in her personal life," Roberts says. "She is the mother to two preschool-aged children, has a fulltime job as the primary breadwinner for her family, and juggles nursing school and family life seamlessly."
Howard currently is the medical secretary for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Gwinnett Medical Center. She works nights in order to keep up with her duties at home and her courses at GTC.
Judges for the GOAL competition included Mac Peden, ADP Inc.; Roger Green, Green Financial Resources; Thomas Jackson, Eastside Medical Center; Sandy Shumate, Shumate Mechanical; Steve Nadeau, Gwinnett Medical Center; and Ebonay Holmes, Verizon Wireless.
As Gwinnett Tech's GOAL winner, Howard will continue on to the statewide GOAL competition. If she wins at the state level, Howard will serve as an ambassador for technical education in Georgia.
GTC offers more than 45 degree, diploma and certificate student options that students can finish in two years or less. For more information on all students, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu or call 770-962-7580.
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