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HCTC success story: Zach Sandlin

Zach Sandlin loves his job and he credits HCTC for his great start. Now with a master s degree, he works for the Department of Juvenile Justice as a Juvenile Services Clinician.

Attending HCTC allowed me to continue to form bonds and partnerships with individuals that assist me in my line of work on a daily basis. HCTC gave me a foundation to build upon early in my education. HCTC will always be here for me. It s great how they help their current and past students; they are willing to assist any student in becoming a success story, Sandlin said.

Recognition of his work includes receiving the Department of Juvenile Justice Community Worker of the Year Award this fall.

Sandlin remembers that his first major was special education but a faculty member s prompting changed his mind. My advisor, Cindy Plummer, insisted that I take Human Services 101 as an elective. During that class, I had to do 10 hours of community service in a local human services agency. After completing the 10 hours and the class, I was hooked on the possibilities of the degree. I changed my degree from Special Education to Social Work and never looked back.

He graduated from HCTC in May 2001 with both an Associate in Arts and Associate in Applied Science degrees. He then went on to Eastern Kentucky University, and graduated with a Bachelors of Social Work Degree in 2003. He then enrolled at the University of Kentucky where he obtained a Master s of Social Work Degree in 2006.

I chose to attend HCTC in the fall of 1997, to assist me in developing a road map for my future. The availability and flexibility of the classes assisted me in looking at difference avenues of interest. The closeness of home and affordability of the classes all were contributing factors in my decision to attend HCTC, noted Sandlin.

The faculty at HCTC always made themselves available to assist in any questions that I had as a student and as an individual in the workforce. They provided a home for me as a graduate student when I was working on my graduate degree in allowing me to use the resources that the college had in order to complete my research and other assignments that were given.

The education Sandlin started at HCTC led to a very rewarding career. I am proud of the youth that I serve when they make a positive change in their lifestyle. I am proud when one of my old clients contacts me to tell me a success that they have had in their lives. Sometimes I am most proud of my career when I see the youth I work with becoming a productive citizen and they are able to say thanks and are able to see a future for themselves. It s an honor to be included in their journey, Sandlin said.

Mrs. Plummer, Coordinator of the Human Services program, noted, Zach was an exceptional student, a leader in the classroom, and has always been willing to help other students pursuing the human services degree. He has supervised students who were finishing their clinical component, volunteering 180 of service in an agency. Also, he has taught a class in Juvenile Delinquency at HCTC. I am very proud to have known him as one of our students.

Sandlin said he decided to go into social work because he fell in love with the opportunity to help people. My mother was a social worker for several years for Protection and Permanency and my father was a sergeant with the Kentucky State Police. Becoming a Juvenile Services Worker made both their worlds collide. My parents are my heroes. They taught me, my brother who is also a Kentucky State Police Officer, and my sister who works as a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant for the school system, that we are to always help make our community a better and safer place for people to live. They taught us that opportunities are given to help people in several different ways and that we are here to help each other, Sandlin said. My parents were always involved in several activities in the community from PTA to coaching basketball. Being involved in the community was always expected never a choice. What a way to raise your kids, in an atmosphere where mistakes are never mistakes but a way to learn a new avenue of things to do or not to do and how to learn from those situations. That s why I love my job. It allows me to work with kids who made mistakes but affords me the opportunity to teach those youth that the mistakes were just misguided steps that they can learn from.

Sandlin is married to Karen Sandlin, who works for the Board of Education in Knott County. They live in Emmalena with daughters Molly, age 3, and Callie, age 2. His parents are Paul and Shirley Sandlin. His wife s parents are Devon and Ethel Thornsberry of Hindman.

Want to become the next HCTC success story? Call about enrolling for the spring semester. The number is 606 487 3102.