Hydia (Hai◦DEI◦ₔ)  Shank fancies herself a behind-the-scenes kind of person, however, with her scorching red hair, sharp wit, and proven leadership skills, she’s definitely not going unnoticed on the campus of Washington State Community College (WSCC). In fact, she’s representing the institution as its January Student of the Month.

Growing up, Shank was an avid athlete; she poured all her energy into the sport of the season. Tragically, in junior high, she was diagnosed with an incurable heart condition. While the diagnosis wasn’t terminal, it did bring her participation in sports to an abrupt halt. Yet she persevered, redefine herself, and refocused her athletic energy onto her academics instead.

When Shank enrolled at WSCC, she was certain of only one thing, she wanted to work in the medical profession. The health field offers a wide array of opportunities, so it took some investigating to discover that her interests paired perfectly with Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT), a profession structured as behind-the-scenes research that supports healthcare facilities. As someone who prefers to stay out of the spotlight, she was particularly drawn to the personal obscurity the career path offers, explaining she likes the idea of anonymously helping people. She is also intrigued by having the opportunity to be instrumental in counteracting disease. “Finding a cure for something out there inspires me.”

While Shank’s desire isn’t to attract attention to herself, her academic performance has garnered recognition from not only instructors directly related to her program, but her general education teachers as well.

“Hydia is, in a word, voracious,” characterized her English instructor, Jeremy Jusek. “She is witty, insightful, and tries her best to help her peers.” Jusek went on to describe her as a student who “actively seeks to turn every assignment into a learning opportunity.”

Steve Temesvary, Director of the MLT program, echoed similar recognition about Shank’s classroom performance. “Hydia is an exemplary student who pushes herself to be successful and is a great role model for others to follow,” said Temesvary. “She strives always to be the best in everything she attempts and is never afraid to look for help.”

The success Shank has found on campus hasn’t been without challenge, in addition to being a full-time student, she works full-time and, shortly after her admittance into the MLT program, discovered she was pregnant. Undeterred by what others may perceive as obstacles, Shank is thriving; and although the arrival of her baby intersects with the start of the Spring semester, she has worked closely with Temesvary to develop a clear plan on how to successfully juggle her responsibilities. 

As she begins her final semester in the program, Shank said she will leave WSCC self-assured she will find success in her field. “I feel confident I know my information and that confidence makes me comfortable with information I’ll be giving to the doctors.” Following graduation Shank plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

For more than 45 years, Washington State Community College has provided residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley the opportunity to realize dreams, to enhance skills, and to broaden understanding. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to move your life in a new direction, Washington State has the classes to suit your needs. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.