Mike Spencer - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Carolyn Ireland is the executive director at the House of Hope for Alcoholics Inc., located in Columbus. Her work, she says, has its roots at Columbus State. She received her associate degree in Chemical Dependency from the college in 1996.

"Columbus State has been the foundation for all my clinical work in the field of chemical dependency," Ireland says. "The hands-on experiences I received from each my four required internships were extremely valuable."

"After meeting the instructors and attending the classes, I immediately understood why it was considered 'top notch.'"

"When I made the decision to go into the field of chemical dependency, I was told that Columbus State had a top-notch program," Ireland recalls. "After meeting the instructors and attending the classes, I immediately understood why it was considered 'top notch.' The instructors made time for each student and treated everyone with respect. I felt like I mattered while attending Columbus State."

Ireland began working as a counselor assistant at the Stevens House rehabilitation facility in 1993, while attending Columbus State. Following graduation, Carolyn became a counselor in the outpatient program at House of Hope. In 2000, she became House of Hope's Director of Outpatient Services.

Gov. Bob Taft appointed Ireland to the Ohio Chemical Dependency Licensure Board in 2002. She served on that board until 2008, the same year she was named Executive Director of the House of Hope.

Currently, Ireland serves on the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers Board of Directors and is a member of the Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers and the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County.

It all began, she says, with Columbus State.

"I can't say enough nice things about the college. It was a just a great experience," adds Ireland.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State