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New programs come to career center

November 20, 1996

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Blaine Nye looks at the Washington County Career Studies Center's new advanced computer applications program as a building block for his high-tech future.

"I figured it would give me a head start on my career of choice," said Nye, 17, who plans to become a computer scientist.

A senior, Nye will get to complete only the first part of the two-year program before he graduates.

Still, he said it's proving helpful in bridging the gaps in his computer knowledge, gleaned mostly by working on his home computer.

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The advanced computer applications program is one of three new Career Studies Center offerings designed to meet both changing job market needs and student interest, said Principal Arnold Hammann.

It and the pre-engineering/computer-aided drafting program are new this fall, Hammann said.

The criminal justice program, which was offered on a part-time basis last year, was expanded to a full-time, two-year program this fall, he said.

The programs were chosen based on a committee's determination that there's an employment need in the community as well as student surveys that showed strong interest in the study areas, Hammann said.

"When we can match those things, we have a formula for a successful program," he said.

Enrollment is high in all three programs.

The advanced computer applications program is at capacity with 18 students, said program instructor Christopher Abell.

To make sure all students have a firm foundation on which to build, Abell said he started with very basic material. By the end of the year, students will have progressed to computer networking and building a Web page for the Internet.

Abell said he will stress a problem-solving approach to working with computers that will help students in a variety of careers.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a technical job that doesn't involve computers," Abell said. "Just being able to trouble-shoot helps in any situation."

This year, enrollment to the pre-engineering/computer-aided drafting program was restricted to 14 juniors to match the number of computers students use in the computer-aided drafting lab at Hagerstown Junior College, Hammann said.

Designed by instructor Rose Daley to tie in with the engineering program at the college, the hands-on class filled up quickly, he said.

Criminal justice program instructor Jim Cameron has 28 students this year.

In her second year of the program, senior Dawn Billotto said she's benefited from the combination of lectures, discussions, practicals and field trips Cameron has used to give students a broad understanding of the field.

It's all reinforced her desire to follow her father's footsteps into a law enforcement career, said the 18-year-old Cascade resident.

"I want to do homicide investigation for Montgomery County, somewhere around there," she said.

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