PTC Human Services Instructor: 'Be Prepared to Change Your Mind'

Sandy Anderson knows what it’s like to be treated like a statistic. When she was 18 and seeking prenatal care, she overheard a doctor telling his staff that he didn’t want to take Anderson as a patient because she was a teenager pregnant for the second time. He said she was just perpetuating a cycle. 

“I remember it like it was yesterday and how it made me feel,” the Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Human Services Program instructor recalled. “I wanted to prove him wrong.”

And that she did. 

First of all, Anderson stayed in school with the help and encouragement of human services professionals. One, in particular, she remembers from Greenwood High School — caseworker Cheryl Moss. 

“Ms. Moss really helped me finish high school,” she said. “In considering a career, I wanted to do the same thing she was doing.” Anderson took her first steps in that direction at PTC, graduating with an associate degree in human services in 1996. She went on to work in the human services field at Greenwood School District 50 for 19 years. She married her husband, Dennis, with whom she had two more children. The couple also adopted a fifth child, a 17-year-old boy whom Anderson had met through the Department of Social Services, to complete their blended family. 

Working and raising children left little time to continue her own academic journey, but as the children grew up, Anderson returned to college, earning bachelor’s (2017) and master’s (2021) degrees in social work from Limestone University. Her adult children all have become valued professionals in their respective career fields, including nursing and education. 

Anderson’s relationship with PTC not only has been longstanding but solid as well. As part of her master’s requirements at Limestone, she completed a HUS internship at PTC last year, taught as an adjunct for several months, and became full-time faculty in February 2022. 

That internship experience at PTC enhanced Anderson’s professional trajectory, just as internships in so many industries influence interns’ most important decisions and can be powerful career boosters. By their nature, internships help interns decide if they are following the right career path and wish to proceed in that direction. They also provide valuable, real-world work experience that also refines their existing skill sets. Internships provide access to professional networking opportunities and mentorships where they might not otherwise exist. As in Anderson’s case, her internship developed into a full-time role with the college. 

When advising students in the Human Services Club at PTC, Anderson emphasizes the need for self-care. Individuals who choose the human services field often are people-pleasers who are reluctant to disappoint or say no to any request. To avoid burnout, she tells students it is important to enforce boundaries and continually seek work/life balance. It is a concept she takes to heart. She has been happily married for 30 years.

“We decided early on that, when ‘life happens,’ we can’t allow it to happen to our marriage,” she explained. “With God being at the center, we keep our marriage strong. We also have fun.”

As most human services professionals know, life can be messy, but Anderson thrives on helping set things in order. 

“I am an organizer to the ‘T’,” she said. “I love to plan and organize different things. It brings me joy. If I did any kind of business in my spare time, I would probably do event planning. That is a love language for me.”

Anderson is thankful every day to be in this role at PTC at this time. Working with Human Services Program Director Kristi Byrd, she continues to learn and gain different insights.

“She has recognized in me things that I didn’t see myself,” Anderson said. “Talking with her, I feel I have yet to reach my full potential. We are never done growing. She trusts that I can do the work. I am absolutely grateful for her.”

The appreciation is mutual for Byrd, who said: “What Sandy brings to the program is her knowledge of education. She understands nontraditional avenues our students take to achieve their education goals. She also shares her personal story. … She is a social worker, so she puts those skills into play in assisting students. We saw her as a perfect fit.”

Thinking back to the physician who didn’t want to see the teenage mother-to-be, to support someone perpetuating a stereotypical cycle, Anderson regards the incident really as a blessing in disguise. 

“The day my firstborn graduated high school, I was ecstatic. I wanted my boys not to be statistics,” she said. “Be careful what you say. What you say can build someone up or tear them down. That experience with the doctor, that could have torn me down, but it pushed me.” And now she is perpetuating a cycle of love, respect, and education within her large family and beyond.

Above all, Anderson says those who truly want to work in human services must have a heartfelt calling for it. If they do, the rewards are infinite. 


“I have always had a passion for people,” she said. There are a variety of roles within the field but little room for preconceptions. It’s important to listen without judgment and keep an open mind. “Be ready to change your mind. You have to have that positive, unconditional regard for people. If something is important to them, it must be important to you.”

To learn more about the Human Services Program at PTC, visit




  • Sandy Anderson in her Greenwood office. 
  • Sandy and Dennis Anderson
  • Anderson's children, from L-R:  Jordan, Denzel, Jacove and wife Ashlie, Jamal, and Chrissy