Montgomery College - Endless Possibilities - HomeMy MC Login
Campuses at Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park, Maryland Germantown Campus Home Rockville Campus Home Takoma Park Campus Home

Montgomery College Student Success Stories

MC Alumna Credits Career Rise to College’s Mental Health Associate Program
Montgomery College Today, Fall ’01

Fran Goldstein and Rebecca Torres The elderly participants in a discussion group at the Support Center, an adult day care center in Rockville, weigh in with their thoughts on vegetarianism...an upcoming holiday...a daughter’s visit. In the center of it all is Fran Goldstein, executive director of this private, nonprofit organization, who facilitates the discussion as it segues from one topic to the next. She joined the Support Center as a Montgomery College intern in 1982—and never left. Along the way, she was promoted to program assistant, activities coordinator, assistant director and finally executive director. Goldstein, who lives in Silver Spring, now supervises a staff of 25 and oversees a budget approaching $1 million. Her organization serves a population of 61 seniors, a number that will soon increase to 85, thanks to additional state funding. Goldstein says the catalyst for her ascending career in social work was Montgomery College’s mental health associate’s program, based at the Takoma Park Campus.

Two Kids, a House, and a Dog
“I had two children, a house and a dog, but something was missing,” said Goldstein. She eventually found her way to Montgomery College, and enrolled in the mental health associate program in 1979. “I never had much confidence in myself, but the teachers there made me understand I had a lot of abilities. Students are nurtured in the program. The professors look upon you as a human being and do anything to help you succeed. When you get out of the program, you have a sense of who you are. And when you know who you are, you have the freedom to take the next step, whatever that may be,” said Goldstein. Goldstein said she benefited from the program’s sharp focus on group dynamics and communications skills, which helps students grow as professionals and assume leadership roles. She also benefited from the intense, personal advisement provided by the program’s director, Dr. Charles Marcantonio, who guides students every step of the way, especially when it comes to selecting an internship that meets their interests.

Internships Provide Real-World Experience
Students learn how to put academic theory into practice by interning at two different social service organizations in Montgomery County for a total of 400 supervised hours. Marcantonio said the program attracts traditional college-aged students who want to transfer to social work and psychology programs at four-year schools. And in fact, Goldstein transferred to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where she received a B.A. in social work. “UMBC has a high regard for graduates of the MC program,” said Goldstein. The program also appeals to people already in the field of human services who need credentials to advance in their career, mid-life career changers, and “people who want to do something more rewarding than work behind a desk,” said Marcantonio.