Gaston College helped Andrew Molby fulfill his goal to be a first responder

Andrew Molby, who will graduate from Gaston College in May, overcame learning disabilities to successfully complete the Emergency Medical Sciences program and earn an Associate in Applied Science degree. Currently employed with Gaston County EMS, Molby recently transitioned from a part-time to a full-time position with the service.

“Andrew is the finest student I have had the opportunity to assist in training as a paramedic,” said Gillilan. “We gave him a preliminary Paramedic Exam and he passed while still having another semester of school to complete. Not only is Andrew academically gifted, he truly cares about people and I am proud to say he will be one of our graduates.”male standing beside ambulance

Molby was tested for learning disabilities when his parents saw that he was struggling with schoolwork that other first graders in public school found easy. He was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia, which affected his spelling, writing, reading and ability to get his thoughts down on paper. He was homeschooled through high school. “When I started at Gaston College, I didn’t think my chances of success were high,” Molby said, “but everyone was very understanding and provided valuable support in my academic pursuits.”

In high school, Molby was torn between becoming a police officer or a paramedic. “Ever since I was young, he said, “I wanted to be a first responder. The idea of not being in an office and responding to emergencies sounded amazing to me.” He made the decision to become a paramedic because he enjoyed learning about science, especially anatomy and physiology, and about medicine in general. Working in EMS gives him opportunities to help people. “Being a source of stability and hope for a patient is a privilege I do not take lightly,” Molby said, “especially considering that many patients are having one of the worst days of their life—if not the worst. Personally providing this type of assistance to somebody is something that is hard to rival.”

Molby hopes to transfer to Western Carolina University to pursue a Bachelor’s in Emergency Medical Science and is weighing a few different career options. “I am considering opportunities to serve in a medical role in the military,” he said. “I am also considering going past a bachelor’s degree to obtain a higher level of medical education. The two things I know for sure are that I am going to stay in the emergency medical field and, whatever I choose to do, I want to be able to look back and say I had a positive impact on the people I got to serve.” For the short term, his goal is to become a fully functioning paramedic at Gaston Emergency Medical Services.

Group of people standing in front of an ambulance

(left to right-back row) Gaston College Emergency Medical Sciences students Andrew Molby, Bridget Robinson, Jeffrey Hull, Holly Helms, Robert Adams, and Anna Taylor and EMS faculty (left to right-front row) Carrie Gillilan, Clinical Coordinator, Mark Houser, Lead Instructor, and Michael Barnes, EMS Adjunct Faculty.

He is well on his way toward that goal. “Andrew Molby is a well-mannered and respectful individual,” said Jessica Ross, Molby’s Training Major at GEMS. “He works hard and is dedicated to the profession. He has shown initiative to go beyond his educational requirements by challenging himself to always ‘raise the bar.’ He has shined as an EMT and will be upgrading to a paramedic shortly.”

Ross continued, “Several of our field training officers have requested Andrew as their trainee. His coworkers have nothing but good things to say about him. They say he is pleasant to have on the truck. Andrew has a bright future ahead of him.”

A diagnosis of learning disabilities when he was a young child did not deter Molby from following his passion to be of service. His time at Gaston College helped put him on the career path he always wanted. “The EMS program at Gaston College provided me with a perfect opportunity to learn at my fullest potential,” he said. “The teachers happily accommodated my learning style, allowing me to succeed in classes that just a few years ago I thought I would not be able to pass. The teachers were always available for questions and one-on-one communication. For the majority of my time in the Gaston College EMS program, I had the same teachers and classmates. By the end of my two years in the program, all of them were close friends.”

Molby continued, “I would like to give a special thanks to the Gaston College EMS staff that made my experience so enjoyable and educational. Thank you to Carrie Gillilan, Michael Keller, Jessica Ross, and Mark Houser. I would also like to thank all my classmates for being great friends and helping me along the way.”

For more information about the Gaston College Emergency Medical Services program, go to

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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