Hospital Medical Communications Specialist Gets Online Bachelor’s to Move Forward in Career

Blairsville, Pa. resident Brian Benko has worked hard his whole life. He spent 15 years at the Giant Eagle grocery store and pharmacy chain, working his way up to assistant manager. He then moved to the healthcare industry. He currently provides medical communications services at AHN-Forbes Hospital. Brian has a lot of experience and an undisputed work ethic. And yet he found himself unable to move forward in his career.

“I realized I’d gone as far as I could go with an associate’s degree,” he said. “And I’m not ready to stop working.”

Brian liked the idea of earning an online degree for the convenience and flexibility.  As he researched degree programs that might work for him, he found himself leaning toward local colleges with online programs for working adults. 

“I wanted to know that I could go to an actual campus and talk to a person if I needed help with something,” he said. “I didn’t want to have to rely on getting someone on the phone or online every time I had a question.”

After inquiring about Seton Hill’s online Healthcare Administration bachelor’s degree, Brian was surprised to get a call from someone he knew.

“I wanted to know that I could go to an actual campus and talk to a person if I needed help with something.”

“Julie Warnick called me.  Her son and mine played baseball together.  I had no idea she worked at Seton Hill.  Turns out she’s the head of the department that helps online and graduate students get started. She said ‘I can help. I can answer whatever questions you have.’ So we went to breakfast one day and she explained how everything worked to me and my wife.  She helped me through all the steps to getting enrolled.  I still call her sometimes when I have questions.”

Another pleasant Seton Hill surprise involved the cost of tuition.

“I have a friend who is attending a big online school.  When I told him I had enrolled at Seton Hill, he said I could save a lot of money at his school.  So I asked him what he was paying.  Turns out my Seton Hill per credit cost was less than what he was paying.  Plus, he can’t get any in-person support because his school is based so far away. I definitely feel like I have the better deal.”

Brian is enjoying his college experience so much he’s considering staying on at Seton Hill for an MBA in Healthcare Administration. That’s not to say, however, that it’s always easy.

“I had to do a group project with classmates who were all traditional students.  They assigned me a PowerPoint presentation.  I had never done it before. I said, ‘Hey, why me? Why the old guy?’ They just laughed.  I figured it out though. Not saying I’m a professional but it turned out a lot better than I expected.”