WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Oct. 15, 2020 — A student enrolled in WLU’s Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Administration (BLA) degree program recently used her skills to help out her employer and the public during the pandemic.
Deborah Reed, of St. Clairsville, Ohio researched and wrote a successful grant proposal for the city of St. Clairsville and is responsible for the receipt of $16,000 to be used in the upgrade of public restrooms.
Reed is an assistant at the St. Clairsville Parks and Recreation Department and has been in her position for about a year. This is her second year in WLU’s BLA program and she expects to graduate this spring.
“I attribute my BLA education for giving me the ability to step up and perform this duty which wasn’t part of my assigned duties but something I decided to try for since it was clearly a benefit to our department,” Reed said. “The mayor was all for it and thanked me for trying and successfully receiving this grant.”
Not only will the grant upgrade bathrooms by funding touch-free faucets and toilets, it will keep the public safer during COVID-19 as it funds a much-needed improvement at the J.B. Martin Recreation and Senior Center.
“Especially with COVID-19 sanitation needs, the no-touch surfaces are important to mitigate the spread. We are grateful for the funding and for Debbie’s work,” said Mayor Kathryn Thalman, herself an alumna of WLU.
The generous grant came from the Belmont County Enrichment Fund, which includes private donors and is administered by the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley (CFOV).
“Debbie has proven to be an enthusiastic and excellent student. She will accomplish much in positive achievements in her future. She works hard and is willing to take the extra step,” said Dr. Thomas Michaud, program director for the School of Professional Studies, which is located at the Highlands Center.
“I was pleased to take this task on and began by researching online grants available for COVID-19 safety needs. Since we serve a lot of people of all ages, it is important. Our Chamber of Commerce meets in the rec center and thousands visit monthly. Everything from AARP to group meetings and sporting events take place there,” said Reed.
Reed is nothing if it’s not persistent. She first began her college degree back in 1988 when she was 18-years old. When family problems caused her to quit college, she even became homeless for a while. It wasn’t till 32 years later, that she was able to begin again on earning a bachelor’s degree.
“I guess I’m trying to prove that you can still make it through with perseverance. It is important to finish my degree here on the hilltop and this success in gaining the grant money is very rewarding,” she said. “Anyone considering returning to college shouldn’t hesitate to explore this program.”
Reed made a point to add that her co-worker, the director of the center, Sean Hanley, also is an alumnus of WLU, having graduated in 2002.
Dr. Michaud is the director of degree-completion programs that cater to adults with busy lifestyles. These include:
- Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership
- Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Administration
- Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA)
For more information, please email [email protected] or call the Highlands Center campus at 304.336.8301.