NEWARK, Ohio, December 16, 2015 – A few years ago, Dylan Daniels was floundering. The 22-year-old from Zanesville had taken college classes while in high school, then took business courses at one college, then switched colleges and majors to study music, before transferring yet again. He was working at a pre-school, teaching vocal lessons, and pursuing a business venture with his brother, opening and operating an events center. He had not completed a college degree and was not finding his career pathway. Daniels was beginning to think that finishing a degree was not in his cards. That's when he learned about the Associate of Technical Studies (ATS) degree at Central Ohio Technical College.
"It was hard for me to believe it was possible to finish my associate degree and use the classes that I had taken in the past at other colleges," said Daniels.
Seeing is believing, and the community will be watching as Daniels participates in commencement this Friday, December 18, graduating as the first student to earn an ATS degree from COTC. He is one of 191 graduates at the autumn commencement ceremony. Daniels' will proudly receive his diploma and an ATS degree in music and business. ATS degrees are awarded for successful completion of a planned program of study designed to respond to the need for specialized technical education. The program must have an area of concentration which is equivalent to at least 30 semester credit hours in technical studies and have a clearly identifiable career objective. Additionally, the ATS allows students to apply life experience and prior coursework deemed to be college level to an individualized degree program.
"It means a lot to get this degree," said Daniels. "Just to be on the same professional level as others in the workforce, and to say that I have an education from a reputable college such as COTC is wonderful. Having that higher level of education will open other doors for me down the road. With my associate degree, I was actually able to start a new job at Maysville Elementary School three weeks ago as an instructional intervention aide. I am now planning to get a bachelor's degree in education."
Daniels believes bringing music into the special education classroom could be a meaningful experience for the students; therefore, he wants to use the music portion of his ATS degree, combined with a future bachelor's degree in education to work with special education students. He will utilize the business piece of the ATS degree to continue operating his events center and production company.
"I know that I will personally share with everyone who has gotten stuck in a rut somewhere and has not finished a program that they can finish it here," said Daniels. "It is necessary to get that degree. I'm fortunate that I came across this opportunity at COTC that made it easy for me to connect the dots. I didn't realize I was going to be the first graduate. It's cool. I'm excited to be an advocate for the program."
COTC's autumn commencement ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. in Adena Hall, 1159 University Drive, Newark. COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. will preside over the ceremony. Graduates Madelyn Lotz and Evan Payton will deliver the commencement address.
Central Ohio Technical College is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.