Alumni Spotlight on Cindy Anderson
Alumni Spotlight - Cindy Anderson
IMAGE: Cindy Anderson, Alumni Spotlight
After graduating high school Cindy Anderson, the oldest of three, wanted to go to college to become a nurse. However, it wasn't feasible for her to go far from home and scholarship money wasn't enough to cover all her costs. Consequently, she decided on Kent State University at East Liverpool and was very happy she did.
"They offered what any major university out of the area could offer – the ability of achieving a degree and passing the boards with a high score," she said. Plus, the campus was close, and affordable, which was a tremendous help because Anderson had to pay for her own education.
"To go down the street and be able to do this (nursing), and not be in the hole $80,000 when you first start is great," she said. "It gives people opportunities that they may not have had otherwise."
It turned out that Anderson's decision set a trend in her family, with both her sister and brother attending Kent State University, too. It also put her onto a path of success. "Kent State was the foundation for my goals," she said of her decision.
Following graduation with an associate's degree in nursing, Anderson went to UPMC to worked in the liver transplant intensive care unit as a Certified Critical Care RN. She stayed with UPMC for 23 years before going to the Cleveland Clinic, where she is currently a Certified Kidney Transplant Coordinator. Anderson said that when she came to UPMC as a new hire, she and a fellow classmate had seven weeks of critical care training, which included classroom instruction and job shadowing.
"We were tested on the material each week. The new hires came from all over, and numerous ones had bachelor's degrees. The two of us with associate degrees made it through everything whereas a lot of people were let go," she said. "At school we were given a great balance between lab and theory. The combination helped us apply the theory to the real world. If you can't apply it, it doesn't help. You have to be able to walk out of the university and perform."
Anderson recalled some tough courses while in college and the challenge of time management. "A lot of people in this area are working full-time or part-time, she said. "I was a good student in high school, and it was a rude awakening." But with so much support, the courses were very doable. Here, you had the ability to seek someone out if you needed help," she said. "You were a name and not a number."