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OCC Graduate Jamie Barbee Sets Doctorate Degree as Goal


Jamie Barbee’s career path has taken several turns since she graduated from Olney Central College in 2001. She has been a teacher, a medical underwriter and a student advisor and recruiter, all thanks to the educational foundation she received at OCC.

“OCC was a very good place to start," Barbee said. “I chose OCC because it was close to home and offered smaller classes. I wanted to get all of my core classes out of the way before I transferred and I was able to do that. I was able to earn an associate’s degree in liberal arts and all of my classes transferred.”

Barbee attended Eastern Illinois University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and community health. She completed her student teaching in Coles County and taught physical education for a year before deciding to continue her education.

“It had always been one of my life goals to get my master’s degree and I didn’t stop until I achieved that,” Barbee said. “I chose public health because I always knew I wanted to do something with the medical area, just not the nurse or doctor side of it. I wanted more of the education and research side of the medical field.”

While pursuing her master’s degree, Barbee served as an adjunct instructor at OCC, teaching first aid and health classes as well as anatomy and physiology for the college’s Massage Therapy Program.

“I loved teaching as an adjunct instructor because I was part-time and could still work full-time on my master’s,” she said. “I love teaching and the classes I taught were exactly what I wanted to do. Mr. Pat Hand was always my inspiration there and my most influential instructor. I always wanted to teach the classes he taught and I was able to do that.”

Barbee received her master’s degree in public health from Walden University in 2009. She served an internship at the Lawrence County Health Department before joining Golden Rule, now United Healthcare, in Lawrenceville. Barbee worked as a medical underwriter at the firm for five years, before a layoff necessitated another career change.

This time Barbee chose to return to education as a student service coordinator and recruiter for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Vincennes. The Olney resident frequently travels to Indiana and Illinois high schools in a geographical area that stretches from Terre Haute to Evansville. She also participates in college fairs promoting and marketing the programs, including a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology, Purdue University offers at the Vincennes site.

“This is probably the job I enjoy the most because I use a lot of the skills I learned in school,” Barbee said. “I like meeting people and I get to go out and talk to potential students and their parents. I also get to work with students on a daily basis, assisting them with their resumes and helping them if they have issues with classes or they need help with tutoring.”

Barbee also is continuing her own education and has completed three classes toward her doctorate degree.

“I want to obtain my doctorate so I can teach at the university level,” she added.

Barbee is grateful for the opportunities OCC opened for her. She continues to be an ardent supporter of the institution and has taken an active role in the college’s efforts to establish an Alumni Association.

“I really enjoyed my time at OCC,” she said. “All of my teachers and advisors helped me to stay on track. My favorite memories are of performing with the Show and Jazz choirs under the direction of Paul Sainer. We took a trip to New York and it was wonderful. It was an experience a lot of students don’t get in college and it was really neat.”


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