Professor Locke knew she wanted to break into the health care field, but nursing just wasn’t her passion. After completing her associate degree in health information management at Monroe Community College, she spent three years in the field before deciding to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree at SUNYIT. It was there she discovered a love of teaching.
Locke entered graduate school soon after and began teaching at Monroe Community College as an adjunct, she also took on leadership roles at various health care facilities in her area. She became assistant director and project manager at Thompson Health in Canandaigua, assistant director and project manager at Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic, and directed major IT projects in the Rochester Primary Care Network. She earned her master’s degree in health services administration from Milano Graduate School New School University (formerly New School for Social Research).
With decades of both field and teaching experience under her belt, she jumped at the chance to work at Alfred State in 2006. “I loved teaching—the ability to play a part in changing a student’s life for the better,” she says. “And many people in my field were afraid of the new technology coming our way, such as electronic health records. I felt my experiences in the field could bring a new perspective to our students so they would embrace the technology rather than fear it.”
Locke has taught nearly every course in the HIT and CRS programs, including introduction to health information management, health data management, electronic health record, alternate care health information management, medical terminology, ICD-10-CM coding, and CPT/HCPCS coding. And she stays highly active in the field, attending and presenting at a number of conferences in Italy and Canada and serving on the national curriculum committee for the Council of Excellence in Education’s Health Informatics and Health Information Management groups.
“I tell my students to work hard, stay current with all your course work, and share information about your work experiences in the HIM field,” she says. “I tell them, ‘be the students you want your children to be.’ And I stress that it is also important to have fun while learning. We are in a very exciting and quickly changing field, both nationally and internationally.”