Both Student and Instructor of the Year for CTC Hail from Health Sciences

For as long as she can remember, 22-year-old Columbus Technical College student of the year Jordan Buckelew has enjoyed a loving rivalry between herself and her two sisters. Being a success at college and in her future career was a “must do.” She tried the traditional four-year university route but was having a tough time making it fit. 

Then came one day she was looking through old pictures and found an ultrasound of her with the words “It’s a BOY!” written by the technician. Of course, it’s a big family joke since Jordan is far from a boy. Within days, her father was facing a medical procedure and told the girls he had to have an ultrasound. Like millions of other people, Jordan thought that was a test used only for pregnant women. It seemed the world was trying to tell her something. So she listened. 

Soon Jordan found the Medical Sonography program at Columbus Technical College. “I was blown away from the first day,” Jordan said. After a rigorous and highly-competitive admission process, Jordan was admitted as one of 12 students in August of 2011. She is on-track to graduate with her associate degree in May. 

“I enjoy the learning and the challenge. I find myself studying and working harder than I ever had. During the day, I’m learning in the classroom or in a hospital getting hands-on training; my nights are spent studying at Starbucks,” Jordan said with a smile. 


Medical Sonography student Jordan Buckelew is the winner of the 2013 GOAL Award for Columbus Technical College.

Today, Jordan Buckelew is the winner of the 2013 GOAL* (Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership) award at Columbus Technical College. The announcement came Tuesday during an annual luncheon meeting of the North Columbus Rotary Club. (The organization partners with the College to award gifts to the final four nominees and volunteers to help with students with their interviewing and screening processes.) Jordan will travel to Macon for the regional GOAL competition in late February. If she wins there, then it’s on the statewide competition in April.     

Also at the Rotary meeting, Columbus Technical College named Karen DePineuil as their instructor of the year for 2013**. Karen is the Clinical Coordinator for the Respiratory Care Technology program and has been with Columbus Tech for six years. She is a walking example of the benefits of on-going education since she continues to work part-time in both a hospital setting and in home health care. Her knowledge and experience easily transfers from her secondary jobs to her students as they are trained with real-life medical scenarios before entering the workforce. Teaching in the technical college arena was a no-brainer for Karen. 

Karen DePineuil (second from left) was named the winner of the 2013 Rick Perkins/Tim Justice Award for Excellence in Technical Education for Columbus Technical College. Also pictured are (l to r) Exec VP & CFO Betty Jackson, David Bill/School of Professional & Technical Services, Maketa Smith/School of Nursing, Melody Johnson/School of Business, Jon Stavelakis/School of General Studies, Scott Crumpton/School of Sciences, and Director of Institutional Advancement Gloria Dodds.

“I wanted to play an integral role in the instruction and training of competent respiratory therapists, and to provide a positive impact on the overall health of the community,” she said. “I love watching my students advance from little to no healthcare experience to confident and knowledgeable clinicians in the workforce; this is tremendously satisfying and rewarding.”

*About GOAL: First launched in 1971, GOAL recognizes student excellence in technical education by focusing on academic excellence and personal achievement. GOAL winners represent the “new image” of Georgia’s technical colleges. For more, visit .

**Rick Perkins/Tim Justice Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction honors technical education’s most outstanding instructors. Formerly known as the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence, the Rick Perkins Award was renamed in memory and honor of Thomas “Rick” Perkins, an instructor at West Georgia Technical College who was named the winner prior to his untimely death. At Columbus Technical College, the name has been adjusted to honor Tim Justice, former Dean of the School of Business, who passed away in 2011.