The technological advances of the past two decades have had a dramatic effect on our ability to teach one another. Students and teachers can interact from virtually anywhere around the globe, sharing and gaining knowledge at a rate no longer bound by the limits of a physical classroom. Julie Clark-Allen, now an instructor at a large non-profit university, is among those that have successfully unified teaching and technology along her path of education—a path that began at Washington County Community College.
Born and raised in Calais, Clark-Allen was a young, single mother when she first came to the college for a degree in Office Information Systems in 1999. Clark-Allen, who was working at the time, describes her situation back then as both challenging and “a source of great inspiration.” She came to WCCC due to its accessibility and affordability, and soon found herself comfortable there. “WCCC had the same small town community feel as the city itself. The campus community, including the faculty and staff, were friendly and welcoming. They made the transition to college life an easy one.”
One of Clark-Allen’s first instructors remains at the top of her list for all-time favorites. “Nickey Dubey was a huge influence in getting where I am today. She was just phenomenal as an instructor. She was encouraging and supportive, but she also challenged me to be my best and constantly improve.” Clark-Allen recalls that Dubey provided her with recommendations and references long after graduating. “She had an enormous impact on shaping the path that led to where I am. Nickey is one of WCCC’s greatest treasures.”
In 2001, Clark-Allen graduated from the Office Information Systems program, and she soon began a four-and-a-half-year position working for Calais Regional Hospital as a home health clerk. “As a student, WCCC gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to get into the workforce. Experiential learning was a big part of the program I attended, which was extremely beneficial when I started working in the field,” she recalled.
In August of 2007, having finished a bachelor’s degree from University of Phoenix online in Business Administration the year before, Clark-Allen returned to WCCC to teach. At the time, WCCC was in the midst of developing its online delivery platform for classes. “It was an atmosphere I was excited to be a part of,” she said. Over the next four years she refined her affinity for online learning as she completed her master’s degree in Business Administration at Husson. When the opportunity came for her to enroll in a doctoral Instructional Design and Technology program, she took it, graduating with highest honors in 2016.
Now, Clark-Allen is a full-time faculty instructor for a large university based in Florida that specializes in online learning, as well as a graduate instructor for other universities. In addition to teaching, Clark-Allen oversees the clinical coordination efforts of the Florida campus and designs and develops course shells for the university’s allied health program. She also volunteers with the AAMA as an Editorial Advisory Committee member for their flagship magazine, CMA Today.
Having now attained the highest educational degree, Clark-Allen reflects fondly on her time at WCCC and its impact on her. “My experience at WCCC shaped who I am as an educator. I was incredibly fortunate to have been exposed to such a wonderful, caring group of instructors who truly wanted success for their students,” she recalls. “What I love about teaching is that it gives me the opportunity to pay that forward on a daily basis. My associate’s degree gave me the start I needed to jump on a path of lifelong learning and I hope to ignite that same fire for my students.”