1. Hugo Hernandez, Talbot County
General College Studies
Hernandez began his Chesapeake journey as a Dual Enrollment student while he was attending Easton High School. He experienced Chesapeake as both a high school student and traditional college student. A dancer, Hernandez also taught ballroom dancing in Chesapeake’s Division of Continuing Education. His goal is to continue his studies, earn a bachelor’s degree and eventually become an ultrasound technician.
Why did you come to Chesapeake College? It was close and affordable. Chesapeake had what I needed to get a trong start.
What are your future plans? In high school, I thought I wanted to go into graphic design. At Chesapeake, I found that I’m really interested in science. So, I’d like to combine my interest in science with visual technology. I’ll be working and saving money this summer, so that I can transfer in the next year.
What was your greatest challenge at Chesapeake? The toughest part for me was trying to fit everything into a day. Being a college student means that you have to learn how to manage your time. Time management is already a challenge for me, but I found a way to make things work.
Describe your Chesapeake experience: Chesapeake College was a great place for me to start. Dual Enrollment gave me a taste of college and showed me all the opportunities at Chesapeake. Everyone at Chesapeake was very supportive of me all the way through. Whenever I needed help, someone was able to give it to me. That was a good environment for me and I’m ready for the next step now.
2. Anthony Laroux, Kent County
This retired Navy veteran turned to Chesapeake to train for a second career. When Laroux left the service, he returned from the West Coast to be with family in Chestertown. Laroux maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA at Chesapeake, and will now use his training to begin the next phase of his professional life.
What brought you to Chesapeake? I was taking some general education credits at Chesapeake when I learned about the radiologic sciences program. The program appealed to me and the field looked like a good choice for a second career.
What are your future plans? I’ll be taking the national certification exam to get my license. I hope to further my training by enrolling in a MRI or CT program.
What was your greatest challenge? Scheduling everything was tough. This program requires classwork and clinical rotations. The rotation schedules are not yours to set, so you have to fit the rest of your life around class time, clinicals, and studying.
Describe your Chesapeake experience. I was pleased that so many of my credits transferred to Chesapeake. I did the first part of my program in the old health education facilities and spent this year in the new Health Professions and Athletics Center. The new center has been great, and I can see how all the programs will be able to grow at Chesapeake.
3. Lindsey Rodgers, Caroline County
Business Management Technology
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Rodgers’ education has helped her career even before she walked the graduation stage. Just days before Commencement, Rodgers began her new administrative job at the Caroline Center in Ridgley. After more than four years in the military, Rodgers turned to Chesapeake to get started on the next phase of her life.
What brought you to Chesapeake? My time in the military was a reality check for me. I realized that I needed to go to college in order to get where I wanted to be. I started with online classes at Chesapeake, but learned that I do better in a face-to-face format. I loved the small classes at Chesapeake and learned so much from my professors.
What are your future plans? I’m excited that I finished my associate’s degree and started a great new job in the same month. Eventually, I’d like to earn a bachelor’s degree in business and then possibly a master’s degree
What was your toughest challenge? Balancing the demands of school with being a single mom. I kept my goals in sight, though, and pushed hard to get to this point. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.
Describe your Chesapeake experience. In my first days on the job, I’ve already used many of the techniques I learned at Chesapeake. I’ve learned so much more than I expected at Chesapeake. Even after my experience in the military, a new world of knowledge opened up to me. I believe that education is the most powerful thing we have on earth. My time at Chesapeake opened my eyes and changed my life. There was a time when I absolutely did not want to go to college. Now, I know that I’ll be a lifelong learner.
4. Amber Bayliss, Dorchester County
This father/daughter duo of Hurlock represents different generations but both found what they needed at Chesapeake College. Bryan Bayliss, who is visually impaired, required higher education to advance in his career. As a traditional college student, Amber Bayliss, was just beginning to explore her career options.
Why did you come to Chesapeake College?
Bryan Bayliss: I was working in the hospitality industry and had gone as far as I could go. I had great experience, but knew that I needed a college degree in order to advance in my career. I had doubts, but Amber encouraged me. It was time for her to start college and she convinced me to enroll with her.
Amber Bayliss: I came to Chesapeake thinking that I wanted to be a teacher. I was on the education track, but then I became interested in the law. I’ve found my career path. Chesapeake gave me the resources to explore all of my options.
What are you future plans?
Bryan Bayliss: With my degree I now have the education that I need to take the next step in my career. I learned that anything is possible at Chesapeake, and I’m going to take that optimism into the workforce. You’re never too old to learn and improve.
Amber Bayliss: I’m applying for jobs now, and hope to work in the court system or a law office. I’m going to continue my studies as I work, and plan to earn a bachelor’s degree then maybe go to law school.
What was your greatest challenge?
Bryan Bayliss: As much as I enjoyed attending college with my daughter, I worried constantly that I was depriving her of time with her peers. Part of the college experience for the traditional student is social, and I didn’t want my daughter sacrificing that interaction because of me. I think we found the right balance, though, and it made me happy to see her doing her own thing.
Amber Bayliss: It was cool to be in college with my dad. We supported each other and have a special bond because of this shared experience. My challenge was taking five Honors classes at once. I’m glad I did it, but it was a lot of work to manage. My Honors projects gave me the chance to meet paralegals, attorneys and judges.
Describe your Chesapeake experience.
Bryan Bayliss: Professors and staff members did everything they possibly could to help me succeed. Everything from accommodations for visual impairment to taking extra time to answer all of my questions. I felt that every door on campus was opened to me, and that really helped me during times when I was struggling. I’ve been more successful in college than I expected and I’m so grateful to Chesapeake.
Amber Bayliss: I’d have to say that my time at Chesapeake has been fun. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of fun. My classes were engaging and fed my curiosity. I learned something from every experience.
5. Sheryl Gaines, Queen Anne’s County
This Kent Island High School graduate knew that Chesapeake College was her option when she wanted to change careers several years after high school. With a full-time job and two young children, Gaines wanted a convenient path to her degree and a new career.
What brought you to Chesapeake?
What are your future plans? I’m working as a Certified Nursing Assistant now, and would like to use my heath care experience and my degree in the legal field. I hope to combine both areas in the future.
What was your toughest challenge? Like most of the adult students I knew at Chesapeake, on some days I found that just getting to class on time was a challenge. When you’re a working parent, you don’t have time to spare. Surprises and last-minute changes come up all the time, but you still have to get to class. I found that all of my instructors were approachable and understanding, which was a big help.
Describe your Chesapeake experience. My whole experience at Chesapeake College was great. I enjoyed my classes, and the professors made sure we learned up-to-date information that we’ll be able to use in the field. Chesapeake is flexible and convenient, and those were the two things that I needed the most.