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“HCC offers so much support to all our students of any age and background. Do not be afraid to ask for help.”
“I am very appreciative for all HCC has offered to me as a community member, a parent, and now a returning student who is preparing for a new career,” said Harford Community College student Hillary Doherty. Hillary, who enrolled in the Paralegal Studies certificate program in August 2019, is scheduled to complete the program this spring. She’s getting practical experience in the field through an internship at the Harford County Bar Foundation (HCBF), a nonprofit community outreach program assisting disadvantaged citizens in Harford and Cecil County. At HCBF, she is involved in recruiting and renewing lawyers for their referral service, intaking cases, and assisting in whatever other ways are needed.
Hillary also works as a learning assistant for the College’s Learning Center, assisting other students with course content and study skills in writing, some paralegal classes, and certain math courses. She works on special projects for the College, such as the Enrollment Call Campaign and advising assistance. Hillary appreciates the opportunity to take affordable classes and hold a part-time job so close to home.
Actively involved at the College and in the community, she is the president of HCC’s Paralegal Student Association and previously served as vice president. Hillary also serves as the student representative to the Paralegal Advisory Committee. She is a committee member of Young Life Harford County, which provides support for Young Life College as well as the middle and high school programs in the area. Hillary is active in St. Margaret’s Parish, where she works on their Adopt-a-Family Christmas initiative with her husband and sons. From 2015-20, she served as a volunteer with Scout Troop 238 as an Eagle Merit Badge Counselor and committee member.
After she completes the certificate program, Hillary would like to embark on a career where she can help others. “I want to help connect people to the help they need. I’d like to work somewhere that helps people better their circumstances. I’m open to working full or part time for either a law firm or a nonprofit organization.”
Hillary graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching degrees. She began her career as a middle school English and math teacher after graduation. Upon moving to the Baltimore area in 2000, she worked both full and part time for Baltimore County Public Library. “I began as a part-time librarian, worked full time for two years as their Family Literacy Program Coordinator, and after the birth of my first child, worked part time as a librarian again until 2008 when I decided to stay home as my husband was traveling for work. In 2011, I returned working part time as a librarian on the Bookmobile and in 2012 transitioned to a newly created position as an Early Literacy Programmer that enabled me to work solely during school hours until July 2019.” After her library job was going to require her to work nights and weekends again, Hillary decided to pursue other opportunities closer to home so she would not miss out on important high school milestones for her two sons. Camden, 18, is now a first-year student majoring in Journalism at the University of Missouri, and Ian, 16, is a junior at C Milton Wright who is pursuing his Eagle Scout rank.
Taking college courses, working, and family responsibilities fill most of her time, but she does pursue other interests when possible. In addition to being an avid reader, she enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband. She also believes in giving back to the community. “I’ve always been involved in local advocacy, either for the schools or other causes of interest,” she said.
Hillary’s advice to other students or those considering enrolling in college: “I would encourage people to dip their toes in the water by at least taking one class. It can be humbling to begin or return to school, but you can gain so much knowledge about yourself and your community by taking the risk. HCC offers so much support to all our students of any age and background. Do not be afraid to ask for help.”
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