Renzi Fugate - UCM success story | HCTC

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Renzi Fugate - UCM success story

Family obligations kept Renzi Fugate from being able to attend a four-year university away from home, so she is thankful for the University Center of the Mountains (UCM). Through the UCM, she was able to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“The UCM provided support in the most convenient way. I met with them initially, and then they were able to further assist me through email, which worked great with my busy schedule. The UCM worked very quickly to connect me with my desired university,” Fugate said.

She began her educational journey in fall 2009 at Hazard Community and Technical College. Renzi graduated in May 2014 from the Registered Health Information Technology program which she was able to complete solely online through HCTC. A few years later, she decided to chase after her lifelong dream of being an elementary school teacher. Directed to the UCM as a place to explore options on how to continue her education, Renzie found a path that worked for her, and she began working toward a bachelor’s degree through the UCM’s Morehead State University (MSU) partner’s interactive television (ITV) education program and supporting online resources offered through the UCM. 

In May, she graduated from MSU with that bachelor’s and she is currently studying to take the Praxis exam. She also is in the application process with another UCM partner, the University of the Cumberlands (UC). UC offers a fully online Master of Arts in Teaching program for working educators who wish to pursue a graduate degree.   

“Had it not been for the UCM being available to me, I likely would have continued to put off furthering my dream career. They made the process too easy not to follow through! Before learning about the help of UCM, I didn't know where to begin. Fortunately, they were able to guide me in the steps to take and make the process stress free for me,” Fugate noted. 

“The UCM is a tremendous asset to the region; making it possible for students, especially non-traditionals like myself, to obtain their career without having to leave home. I feel like those who have the opportunity to achieve their degree in the region may also be more likely to stay, enhancing the quality of the workforce in the area,” she said.

Fugate recommends that others enroll through the UCM, which is located on the Hazard Campus of HCTC. “I would definitely recommend the UCM to anyone looking to continue their education. They offer a wealth of knowledge and experience of the transfer transition, so the UCM is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to pursue a career,” she said.

Renzi’s employment has been at Perry County Schools with the Save the Children program for the past three school years. The first year, she was an in-school literacy tutor and the past two she served as an Early Childhood Ambassador. “Both positions have given me invaluable experience and assurance that I have chosen the career path I am most passionate about. I am currently seeking employment with Laurel County Public Schools because our family is relocating for my husband’s job.”

“Because of the UCM’s unique location on the Hazard Campus of HCTC (located off of Ky. 15), students like Renzi are able to continue working and taking care of their families while also continuing their education,” explained the UCM’s Executive Director Dr. Deronda Mobelini. “We continue to provide an important service to our communities, and it is always a joy to see our students earn that bachelor’s degree, and then decide to continue into graduate school. It is amazing what they can do when they set their minds to it, and they have the necessary student support services.”

The 2009 Hazard High School graduate lives in London. Renzi and her husband have two children, ages five and two.