FORT BENNING, Ga. - As mother of an energetic 3-year-old and spouse of a helicopter pilot in command, Jami Bartlett stays busy - but not too busy to put her best effort toward her schoolwork.

The full-time wife and mom is also a full-time student, earning her associate's degree in surgical technology at Columbus Technical College. Her commitment to excellence there has drawn the recognition of the entire school; she won the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership for the 2009-2010 school year.

One of 14 nominees for the school, Bartlett said she was honored just to be included in a group of such outstanding individuals.

"Being named GOAL winner just reinforces that I am on the right track and to continue working hard," said Bartlett, who served in South Korea for two years.

It was her work ethic that first caught the attention of SSG(R) Carl Sandy, CTC program manager for surgical technology and Bartlett's nominating instructor.

"She was pretty much the first one who jumped out at me that I would put my stamp of approval on," said Sandy, who had never before nominated a student for GOAL.

"What I've seen is she manages her time. Her assignments are always completed to a high level of professionalism. Her organization skills and her enthusiasm ... I wish I had every student like that," he said.

"No matter what career path she chooses with her attitude and professionalism she will always be successful in anything she does."

The former drill sergeant understands what it means to lead from the front, to lead by example. He nominated Bartlett for the leadership award because he saw her leading effectively in the classroom, he said.

"I think most leadership is inspiration," he said. "When you're leading somebody, you have to set the example for them to follow. You can't just tell them about the standards you have to show them. (Bartlett) is a great student. She sets a great example for all to follow. Not only that, she works with them and helps them if they need any help. I think most of her classmates try to emulate that."

Sandy said he wasn't surprised to find out that Bartlett had served in the military, he said, because of the Army values she exhibits.

"You could tell she had been trained right and that she had it in her," he said. "You really have to be good to be nominated and to get as far as she did."

Besides the honor of being named Student of the Year, Bartlett received a reserved parking space at the college, prize money, an Apple iPad and a scholarship to DeVry University. She plans to use the latter to pursue her bachelor's degree online after she graduates in December.

Meanwhile, her associate's degree from CTC, which included plenty of hands-on lab and clinical work, will allow her to assist surgeons in the operating room, Bartlett said.

She'll be looking to put her knowledge into practice after she PCSes to Fort Hood, Texas, early next year.

Page last updated Thu July 22nd, 2010 at 18:25