Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

Marcia (Berry) Carter

Nursing Alumna Focuses on Raising Family, Saving Lives and Helping Others

As a student at Quaker Valley High School, Marcia (Berry) Carter said she didn’t always push herself to excel academically. Before graduating in 1987, she had explored college options, but decided not to immediately enroll in college.

In 1989, Marcy started at CCAC’s Allegheny Campus. She says she was excited to begin a new chapter in her life, and decided to attend CCAC after speaking with CCAC recruiters at a college fair. “I think it was a good place to start,” she says. “You save a lot of money and get the same education as you would elsewhere.”

Marcy chose to major in general studies, and took a plethora of classes. Shortly after starting at CCAC, she met Carlos Carter. Marcy says she had several classes with Carlos’s cousins, and they introduced her to Carlos and encouraged the two to date.

Marcy says she and Carlos started dating, and soon decided to get married and start a family. While Carlos was working for Mellon and taking classes at Robert Morris to complete his MBA, Marcy focused on completing her degree at CCAC and raising their son, Elijah.

Both Marcy and Carlos agree it wasn’t always easy to juggle raising their children while working and taking classes, but they were determined to create a bright future for their family. Just as Carlos had succeeded, Marcy excelled. She received an AS in general studies from CCAC in 1995, and then an AS in nursing in 1997.

In between completing her two degrees, Marcy says she took time off to raise her children (they welcomed their second son, Daylon, to the family in 1997), but was determined to finish her studies. After graduating with her second degree, Marcy didn’t immediately take the examination to become a registered nurse (RN), but focused on raising their growing family.

When she passed the examination, however, Marcy began working for the Valley Care nursing home in Sewickley. She then accepted a position in the coronary step-down unit in the Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute at Allegheny General Hospital, where she currently works.

Marcy says she worked full time as an RN for a few years, but decided to move to part time when she gave birth to their third child, Isaiah, five years ago.

As an RN, Marcy works to save lives, but as a mother and wife, she also works to help others. In addition to raising three children, Marcy finds time to volunteer with her children’s schools, her church and with Holy Family Institute.

In the past, the Carters have volunteered as a host family with Holy Family Institute. As a host family, the Carters would take a child on scheduled visits to their home and on outings in the community. Marcy says children within the Holy Family system are often mislabeled as “troubled kids,” but that the kids usually come from “troubled homes.” “We hosted a child who was abused in his home by his stepmother,” Marcy says. “The child’s father relinquished his parental rights, and we stepped in as a host family. There are a lot of kids that are abused that need help.”

In addition to hosting children through Holy Family Institute, Marcy says she recently hosted a child whose mother she had known since childhood. “We took the child in for a month while her parents got their lives in order,” Marcy says. “She still comes and spends weekends with us.” When the Carters host a child, Marcy says they treat that child as one of their own, and include the child in all family activities with their church and with their sons’ sporting activities.

With three children of their own, Marcy says she is often questioned by others as to why she and Carlos take in other children. “My kids are blessed with what they have, but other kids have so little,” she says. “It’s a great experience for us and for our kids to reach out and help others.”

Between raising her family, saving lives and helping others, Marcy said she hopes to return to CCAC to take continuing education courses for nurses. “Things change so often in nursing,” she says. “CCAC gave me a good foundation for my career plans and the instructors were great. I started there and graduated from there. It seems appropriate to go back.”

Marcia Carter headshot

Marcia (Berry) Carter