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April 06, 2011

Medical Assisting: a hands-on experience at South University

South University Newsroom

Timothy A. Stroy, Sr.
Employment: Certified Professional Collector at Midlands Exams and Drug Screening
Class of 2010
Associate in Science, Medical Assisting
Columbia Campus

Timothy Stroy, 46, is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army, with 11 years as a combat infantryman, and 11 as a long-range cavalry scout. Today, with an associate’s degree in Medical Assisting, he has entered an entirely new career in healthcare.

“Right after I finished my program at South University, I was hired as a Certified Professional Collector for Midlands Exams and Drug Screening,” says Timothy. “Our company has more than 100 contracts with attorneys’ offices, as well as government agencies and private companies. My responsibilities include drug urine, DNA, and hair follicle tests, and physicals.”
With deployments to Haiti, Saudi Arabia, and Panama, Timothy’s courage was tested time and again. He admits, however, to feeling a little intimidated about starting college. “I had always wanted to earn a degree,” he says, “and I had completed every school available to me during my military career. After I retired from the military in 2005, I also completed the Georgia Police Academy. But I was unsure about starting college at my age with fresh, smart high school grads and other seasoned college students. I wanted to be sure I could finish what I started.”

While he was serving as a police officer in Georgia, Timothy was offered a position with the South Carolina State Patrol. “Just before my date to enter the academy, I was in a pretty bad car accident,” he says. “It’s a mystery how I was able to walk away from that, and it made me realize how precious life is. I decided to stop talking about what I wanted in life and go do it."

“On my first visit to South University in 2008, I was impressed with the modern look of the campus and the friendly staff. My first contacts were Vanessa DeBauche and Donna Jenkins in Admissions. They were very reassuring and laid out exactly the classes I needed to complete the program.”

Timothy soon realized that he had made the right decision. “I really enjoyed my classes, especially the Medical Assisting hands-on clinical with Tiffany Heart-Wilson [Medical Assisting Clinical Instructor]. Dr. Camposonao [Anatomy & Physiology and Pathology Instructor], and Dr. Millette [Anatomy & Physiology Instructor] were great, too. I even discovered that for some reason I love phlebotomy."

“When I find something I like, I put my all into it, and I really like the medical profession. I like the personal interaction and being able to help people. Of course, it’s new to me, so right now I feel as if I am still crawling.  I am, however, considering a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management. If I get into that, I will be in the walking phase."

“I am so grateful to my mother, Lessie Stroy, and the faculty and staff of South University for their support and encouragement. They gave me the courage to step outside my comfort zone and into what was, for me, the unknown. That’s where I found what I was really looking for.”