Victoria Fulbright will ‘pay it forward’ with her degree  in Human Services from Gaston College

The support Victoria Fulbright received from human services professionals and agencies inspired her to pursue an education in that field. She will graduate from Gaston College in May with a degree in Human Services Technology and Substance Abuse.

In spring 2017, Fulbright enrolled in some continuing education classes at Gaston College in order to get her GED. She had dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and in the 16 years since, she got married, had a daughter, and moved around because her husband is in the military. She passed her GED tests and then registered to start the Human Services program at Gaston College in fall of 2017.

Human Services appealed to Fulbright because she witnessed first-hand the help human services agencies can provide. She had been adopted as an infant. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she ran away from home as a young teenager and stayed at a homeless shelter for adolescents for some time. While at the shelter she became a ward of the state and that led to her being in the foster care system. Throughout it all, she was supported by professionals in social services, outreach workers, and therapists. “I feel like I have personal experiences that can help me relate to others that have been in my position,” Fulbright said.Female posing outside

“Victoria is an intelligent and hard-working student,” said Marlena Thomas, Program Coordinator and Instructor of Human Services Technology. “She expects nothing but the best from herself. Victoria demonstrates strong clinical skills in the classroom and internship site. She has a passion to help children. Victoria is graduating with multiple degrees in Human Services Technology and Developmental Disabilities.”

Fulbright is especially grateful to Marlena Thomas and to Ann Elliot, Chair of Human Services Technology and Early Childhood Education, and Instructor of Human Services Technology, for their support of her academic journey. “They have provided such positivity and encouragement,” she said. “They are willing to help in any way to ensure that their students are learning the material. They have been my inspiration to finish because, in a way, I do not want to let them down. I highly respect them and could not have asked for such wonderful instructors.”

After graduation from Gaston College, Fulbright plans to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. She has applied to Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C., and is waiting to learn if she has been accepted. Her career goal is to attain skills and knowledge so she can support children who have experienced abuse and neglect.

About Gaston College

Gaston College is one of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System. Serving both Gaston and Lincoln counties, Gaston College enrolls approximately 8,000 students each term in curriculum programs and averages over 17,000 annually in its Economic and Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. Gaston College offers over 100 fields of study to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate. To learn more about the College’s services and programs, visit the Gaston College website at

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