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Deborah Freeman

Deborah Freeman

Long-Term Care Management

Hometown: Bronwood, Georgia

Major: Senior Long-Term Care Management major

Graduating: December 2022

Why did you choose to attend GSW?
Since I was working full-time, I was looking for a local university that offered online, affordable classes and was close enough to experience on-campus events. GSW fit all my requirements. I enjoy driving to campus and experiencing musicals, sporting events, and other student activities that GSW offers.

Please list your University highlights, achievements, leadership and awards.

  • Pope Scholar scholarship (2020-2022)
  • GSW Case Management and Care Coordination Endorsement Program (2022)
  • Academic Achievement List, 9 semesters
  • Student internship for Long Term Care Management program (180 hours) – Magnolia Manor in Americus, Georgia (August 2022 – November 2022)
  • National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi Honor Society)
  • Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society
  • Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital employee (Clinical Research department) (1988 – present)
  • Certified Clinical Research Professional, Society of Clinical Research Professionals (2007 – present)
  • Mental Health First Aid Certification, National Council for Behavioral Health (September 2019)
  • Willson Hospice House volunteer, Phoebe Hospice, Albany, Georgia (2015 – present)
  • Challenger League of Lee County buddy/volunteer, , Leesburg, Georgia (2019 – 2020 – kickball and baseball) and (2022 – basketball camp and field day)
  • Feeding the Valley Food Bank volunteer, Albany, Georgia (2022)
  • Professional memberships:
    • Society of Clinical Research Professionals (2005 – present)
    • Oncology Nursing Society, Southwest Georgia chapter (2006 - present)
    • Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) (2022 – present)
    • Phoebe’s Women Network, Albany, Georgia (2021 – present)

What makes GSW special?
Being an older, non-traditional student, I had some reservations about if I would fit in at GSW. But everyone at GSW, teachers and students alike, have been supportive and welcoming to me. The faulty and staff want you to succeed, and this encourages me to apply myself towards academic success.

Who is your favorite professor or staff member and why?
Dr. Ellen Cotter was the professor for three of my psychology classes, which I enjoyed very much. Because of Dr. Cotter’s encouragement and suggested recommendations, I learned how to appreciate the writing process and now have a love of writing. During my time with Dr. Cotter, my beloved grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. Throughout my loved one’s decline in health, Dr. Cotter took the extra time to check on me and encouraged me to take care of my own mental health. She shared stories of her caregiving experiences with her family member with dementia. I will always consider Dr. Cotter the best teacher because of her kindness, compassion, and understanding of other people’s struggles.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
For the non-traditional students, my advice is to do not let age get in the way of your dream of a college education. I will be 55 years old when I graduate in December. I had started college after high school and was not interested, so I dropped out. I experienced life (both the good and the bad) and was ready to start school at 51 (while working full time), and I have stayed the course. Do not let others tell you that you cannot set a goal and achieve it. Take one step at a time, one assignment at a time, and one class at a time, and you will achieve your goal of graduating with your degree. Repeat positive affirmation quotes to yourself; my two favorite quotes are: “You can do it!” and “Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.”

Why did you choose your major?
In 2018, I had been contemplating returning to college for my bachelor’s degree but was undecided on a major. When I saw the new Long Term Care Management degree at GSW, with classes in business, nursing, sociology, psychology, and caregiving, I knew this unique program was for me. I have been employed in healthcare for over 34 years, with experience in both business and clinical (for half of my career – 17 years, I have worked with clinical trial patients in a local Cancer Center). I have thoroughly enjoyed each of my classes that I have taken at GSW.

Tell us more about something you’re involved with off campus.
I enjoy volunteer work, as it takes my mind away from “me” and makes me focus on helping or bettering someone else, and I take great satisfaction in this. I am a hospice volunteer and enjoy sitting with a patient at their bedside, offering silence or a listening ear. I also participate with the Challenger League of Lee County as a volunteer/buddy; several years ago (pre-COVID), I was a buddy for their kickball season and baseball season. More recently, I volunteered for their basketball camp and field day.

What is your favorite movie? Why?
My favorite movie is Forrest Gump. The character, Forrest, had a lot of practical sayings, such as “Mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get,” “You have to do the best with what God gave you,” and “What’s normal anyways.” Forrest was a simple person, but he achieved so much and had a lot of life experiences. The meaning of the movie to me is you’ll never know what you are capable of if you do not try, so try it anyway. Be kind, be honest, stay positive, and everything will work out on its own time.

Posted November 21, 2022