Alumni Spotlight


COTC alumni are engaged, committed leaders who are making a difference in their professions and communities. We invite you to read their stories.

Jennifer McDonald with foam number one finger at the Licking County Chamber of Commerce office.

Jennifer McDonald

Chamber Executive and COTC Graduate Knows Value of her Degree

The president and chief executive officer at the Licking County Chamber of Commerce knows the value of a Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) education from both sides of the table. Jennifer McDonald is a COTC graduate. She received a business management technology degree in 1990. Now, as president of the chamber, McDonald is in charge of trying to attract new business and industry to Licking County, and she knows that COTC is a huge part of that. “Workforce is the number one question posed by a company looking to locate into our area,” said McDonald.

Chase Ghiloni stands with arms crosses, smiling in office.

Chase Ghiloni

COTC Alumnus Accepts New Role as Vice President at First Federal Savings

When Chase Ghiloni graduated from Newark High School in 2001, he didn’t think college was all that important. These days he has a different opinion. Ghiloni is now the vice president of marketing at First Federal Savings in Newark, Ohio, and credits his success to his digital media design degree from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). “I was never really the college type. I never really applied myself in high school. I just wanted to get it over with and move on,” said Ghiloni. “But, after being out of high school for a few years, I wanted more.

Sheriff Randy Thorp in uniform holding a blue number one foam finger

Sheriff Randy Thorp

Top Law Enforcement Officer Proud COTC Graduate

Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp is now serving his fourth term in office, and he believes a great deal of his success can be credited to Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). “Growing up I thought about a career in law enforcement a lot, but I didn’t start out there immediately. It just kind of evolved,” said Thorp. “When I started in Licking County as a deputy at the sheriff’s office a long time ago, I never dreamed I would be the sheriff. However, it’s all worked out, and COTC was a big part of that.”

Group of radiologists at Grant Medical Center

Tim Blunn

An Injury Led One COTC Alumnus to a Fulfilling Career

Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) alumnus Tim Blunn’s journey to his career as a computed tomography (CT) technologist began with an accident. Blunn was still living in England when he suffered a soccer injury that significantly dislocated his knee. The x-rays proved to be “shockingly interesting,” and he was hooked on radiology. Soon after he immigrated to the United States, specifically Columbus, Ohio, Blunn was working in a hospital when a coworker suggested he look into COTC’s radiologic technology program. As Blunn would say, the rest was history.

Alumni Julio Valladares receiving Community Service Award

Julio Valladares

Valladares Receives COTC Alumni Award for Community Service

In 1981, 18-year-old Julio Valladares traveled to Newark, Ohio, with the El Salvador National Baseball Team to compete in the international Babe Ruth World Series. Now he calls Newark home and is doing his part to give back to the town that gave him a new beginning. On July 3, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) recognized Valladares as the recipient of the John C. “Jay” Barker Community Service Alumni Award. ”It is an honor to be one of the alumni that have received this award,” said Valladares.

Alumni Braden Patchett

Braden Patchett

From Waiter to Engineer in Two Years, Internship Yields Big Results for COTC Alumnu

Before enrolling at COTC, Braden Patchett already had a long work history in the restaurant business. But for the St. Louisville resident, all those years amounted to only one thing—employment that was just a “J.O.B.” leaving him “Just Over Broke.” At least, that’s how Patchett unashamedly describes his less-than-ideal experiences in the unskilled workforce. Feeling trapped in lower-paying service jobs with no path toward advancement, Patchett was getting by, but not thriving, he admits. Moreover, he was haunted.

Brianna Stigger in Ohio Union

Bryanna Stigger

Student Employment Inspires Alumna's Career

Like many teens, Bryanna Stigger was unsure of what career to pursue or what college to attend. COTC was close to home and affordable, so it was a convenient choice. It turned out to be a transformational choice. “COTC was the foundation of my career journey,” recalls Stigger.


Jeff, Julie and Collin Pillow

Family Finds Their Passion at COTC

The day his son graduated from COTC was one of the proudest moments of Jeff Pillow’s life. It may sound cliché, but this wasn’t just another milestone to adulthood. Collin became the third member of the Pillow family to attend COTC. Mom Julie was the first; Jeff the second.


Angela Simmons

The Sky is the Limit for COTC Nursing Graduate

When Angela Simmons graduated with a nursing technology degree from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) in 2003, she knew she wanted to help save lives in her community. Simmons didn’t realize then that she would help open and manage a medical service facility that could be the difference between life and death for patients in Licking County. ”Air Evac Lifeteam opened a base in Licking County in 2012 after a local fire chief pointed out the lack of timely access to helicopter patient transports in the region,” said Simmons.


Kori Caughenbaugh

COTC Degree Fulfills Career Goals with Less College Debt

Kori Caughenbaugh made a choice to stand out from the rest. First, she decided to enter the traditionally male-dominated world of architectural engineering. Second, she decided the best way to begin her career was to earn a two-year degree and get started quickly in the workforce.