Patty Hendershot Cram - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Many people can point to their days at Columbus State as having a direct influence on their professional careers.

Patty Hendershot Cram, however, can point to the exact instant that she clearly saw her career path. A Law Enforcement major, her moment of enlightenment occurred on a class tour of the Orient Correctional Facility.

"We were able to see all of the prison and see the different classifications of prisoners - the good, the bad and the ugly," Hendershot Cram says. "That was a very interesting visit, to say the least. It made me realize that my career needed to be working with youth."

It was subsequent field trip that cemented her future. Her professor took Patty's class to the juvenile detention center on Columbus' West Side that sealed the deal.

"That was a very enlightening adventure," Hendershot Cram says. "Seeing those teenage boys locked up, anger on their faces and sadness in their eyes, opened my eyes for the need to help young people."

"Columbus State prepared me for my career by offering a great assortment of classes and excellent instructors."

A month after graduating from Columbus State in 2000 with an associate degree in Criminal Justice, Patty landed a post with the Delaware County Juvenile Court. Even then, there was a Columbus State connection.

"A week before I graduated I saw a job posting on one of the bulletin boards at Columbus State, stating that the Delaware County Juvenile Court had an opening," she says. "I called and spoke to a lady who worked at the court, but who also happened to be an adjunct faculty member at Columbus State. She hired me."

She became the mentoring coordinator for the court in 2003.

A year later, Hendershot Cram started the Moms Offering Mentoring Support (MOMS) Program. Under that umbrella, she is in charge of two programs, one for youth 10-14 years old, and one for teens who are pregnant or have a small child. The programs have earned her the State of Ohio Exemplary Prevention Award. Hendershot Cram and her programs have been featured in All You magazine, on WSYX, in The Columbus Dispatch and The Delaware Gazette.

"Columbus State prepared me for my career by offering a great assortment of classes and excellent instructors," Hendershot Cram says. "I felt like it prepared me for the real world, with field trips and guest speakers who could discuss issues that were important to our field. Columbus State was the perfect choice for me."

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State