Ohio University

Medical Assisting Student Receives Statewide Award

Medical Assisting Student Receives Statewide Award

Debra Hoagland received the prestigious Ohio State Society of Medical Assistants (OSSMA) Student Excel Award; a symbol for all of the hard work she has accomplished in and outside of her medical assistance technology classes. Professor Boles shares that Debra “was an excellent candidate for the award having met, and in my opinion, exceed the award requirements.” Debra certainly met the academic standards for the award. The minimum GPA to be considered for the award was a 3.0, meanwhile, Debra has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her MAT classes. Professor Boles shared that Debra is “extremely conscientious and knowledgeable medical assisting student”. On top of her impressive academic achievements, Debra has dedicated herself to helping her community, both at the Lancaster campus and beyond.


The Medical Assisting Technology (MAT) program is an Associate’s Degree program offered at the Lancaster campus. Not only do graduates of the program leave with the knowledge and skills necessary in the scientific/clinical areas but also in the business/administrative aspects of the medical assisting field. Members of the program can belong the Ohio State Society of the Medical Assistants, or OSSMA, for short. Every year, the society picks three MAT program students from across the state that proudly represent the values of the society. Criteria to be considered for the award includes a strong academic background, engagement in activities that support a dedication to lifelong learning and a desire to serve the community. Cynthia Boles, the program coordinator for the Medical Assisting Technology Program, was given the opportunity to nominate one of her students that not only met but exceeds the criteria for this honor.


On the Lancaster campus, Debra has made a tremendous effort to make sure that students are represented, especially her fellow medical assisting technology students. She has served as a student representative during the 2018 and 2019 meetings of Lancaster Campus Medical Assisting Technology Advisory Committee. Debra has represented her program during an open-house with Dean Smith of the Lancaster campus. She also assisted with pre-event details for the 2019 Celebrate Women event at this past March. She helped her program build a float for the 2019 Diversity FloatFest. In addition to this, Debra helped students unwind before finals this past spring semester by making slime to distribute across the campus.


Outside of the Lancaster Campus, Debra is dedicated to bring the best musical education to high school students. She found her love for music and performing during her time in the Lancaster High School Band, playing in the Band of Gold, Symphonic Band, and Pep Band during her high school career. All three of her children followed in her footsteps, playing in various bands as well like Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble. Debra was an involved band parent and decided that she wanted to continue being a “band mom” even after all of her children graduated from Lancaster High School. Now, she actively serves as the Volunteer Secretary with the Lancaster High School Instrumental Music Department. She is also the administrator of the band’s Booster Facebook page, Chair of the Uniform Committee and Scholarship Committee, and a chaperone for the band’s camp session in the summer. Debra’s love for musical education continues to have a meaningful impact on students.


When Debra received the news that she was chosen for the Student Excel Award she was overwhelmed. She immediately thought of her family. She shared that “My first thought was about my parents, who are both 84 years old.  My dad recently had quadruple bypass surgery, and still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. My mother has been so devoted to his care.  I knew they would both be very excited that I’d received the award, and I couldn’t wait to tell them.  Even at 58 years old, my mother said to me, “I’m so proud of you!”  My second thought was about my three children, all of whom have college degrees. They all know that I am anxious for the day when I also have a college degree, so I couldn’t wait to tell them. I knew they would be very proud!  I am sure that I have ever never received such an award before, so I am very grateful to my instructor, Cynthia Boles, for recommending me.” Professor Boles was excited for Debra to receive the award as well. She was proud of her student and her accolades. Both Debra and Professor Boles attended The Ohio State Society of Medical Assistants 2019 Annual Meeting in Dublin, Ohio where Dr. Judy Kronenberger gave Debra her award.


Debra is unsure on the specific semester she will graduate because she is such an untraditional student. However, she does have a plan for after graduate to reach her goals. After completion of the program, she will sit for the CMA (AAMA) exam (Certified Medical Assistant - American Association of Medical Assistants), and will then be a Certified Medical Assistant. Finally, one of her life-long dreams will come to fruition. Regardless of when she graduates it is guaranteed that Debra will continue to give back to her community and help many individuals both in the medical field and outside of it.