Student Spotlight: Kabryn Mattison

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you told me 6 years ago where I would be today, I would not have believed you. High school was not a walk in the park for me. Life happened, personal challenges arose and I didn’t even end up walking at my graduation. Directly after graduation in 2007, I got a job at a local bank and enrolled in a few classes at Nash Community. The instructors were wonderful, but I struggled balancing my personal life and academics. I was straight out of high school and unsure what I wanted to major in —what I wanted to dedicate years of formal education to. Business, Art, English, Science? All of these subjects interested me but nothing left me wanting more. I knew something had to change and that I needed to search for an answer. It was that so called “opportunity paralysis” that pushed me to make a change. I decided to save my money, and to go exploring.


I cut back here and there, and slowly found ways to save. I’d seen it in the movies; I’d seen photographs of a beautiful and vast wilderness, surrounded by the Tasman Sea that they called New Zealand. Glaciers next to oceans, penguins on beaches, I had to see it to believe it. A working holiday visa was offered there that allowed me to travel for up to a year and work legally in the country when I needed money. So after working two jobs to save up, I bought a plane ticket and a backpack and was off. I explored wildly and challenged myself daily. I worked odd and end jobs; I worked at a sheep farm, a coffee shop, a vineyard, a dairy farm, a yoga retreat and a feijoa orchard to name a few.

After New Zealand, I flew to Indonesia and traveled across Bali and her surrounding islands. It was there that I began to meet wildlife and environmental conservationists that were making changes in Asia. I snorkeled world-renowned reefs and learned about how humans were affecting them. I met people who dedicated their lives to saving endangered sea turtles, rehabilitating birds from the brink of extinction and raising awareness in local communities to push for change globally. I then flew to Vietnam and during my travels learned about the consequences of mass deforestation and the importance of environmental education. It was then that I knew. I knew that I had to dedicate my life to this cause. I knew I had to become a conservation biologist. I had to learn everything there was to know about the vast world around me, which ironically meant… I had to return home.

My plane landed on North Carolina soil in 2012, and I was changed and renewed. In order to begin to make my dreams a reality, I had to further my education. The very next semester I enrolled as an Associate in Science, college transfer student at Nash Community College. My decision to enroll at Nash Community was a no-brainer. The small class size, instructor accessibility and solid academic programs I had encountered in my previous enrollment made me feel confident in my choice to start at Nash instead of a four-year university.

2Now, in my last year at Nash, I have come so much farther than I would have expected. Since returning from my trip I have maintained a 4.0, served as an officer for Phi Theta Kappa, and was given the opportunity to serve as a Student Ambassador this year. Nash Community has pushed me to become a stronger woman by fostering my leadership skills and always encouraging me to think bigger and better. Thanks to the amazing Peer Assisted Learning program, PAL, I am tutoring in the very subject that made me want to pursue higher education, Environmental Biology. The unbelievable biology lab and biodiversity center at Nash Community’s S&T building has allowed me since my freshman year to process DNA, learn real world lab skills, and get hands on with animals I love. I have formed connections with instructors that have led me to pursue independent undergraduate research opportunities, attend and present at conferences in my field of study, and experience real field work in the North Carolina mountains.

I hope that my story can serve as an inspiration. Be easy on yourself. Be patient with the process of self-exploration. If my journey has taught me anything, it is that an inspired heart is a strong one. I began my journey at Nash Community just planning on obtaining my “Core 44” credits and transferring on, but the amazing opportunities that Nash offers have convinced me to graduate with the class of 2015. I can’t wait to put on that cap and gown for the first time and walk across Nash Community College’s stage!

balanganbeach  me-1 me-2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 22497921033Photos and story submitted by Kabryn Mattison.

NCC Shares Innovative Practices with Community College System


Michael Coleman, NCC Director of Counseling

Nash Community College is once again sharing proven methods of innovation — this time at the North Carolina Community College System Conference being held in Raleigh October 12-14, 2014.
The spotlight is on the college’s implementation of technology in its Student and Enrollment Services office, to streamline the workflow process and minimize student wait time. Michael Coleman, Director of Counseling at Nash Community College, will present “In House Electronic Sign-In System for Practically No Cost” at the system conference. The office houses admissions, financial aid, the registrar, and provides assistance to students registering for classes, and seeking counseling.

The college’s former process for seeing students in the Student and Enrollment Services office required individuals to sign in using a paper sign-in sheet at the front desk. A front desk staff member would then notify other staff members individually by phone until an available employee was located. The system caused delays, increased room for error, and allowed no process for tracking the number of individuals signed in or anticipate their needs.

After reviewing several companies that would charge as much as $30,000 for an electronic solution to improve the process, NCC decided to create an in-house solution. Using Google Docs, iPads, and the college’s website, NCC staff created an electronic sign-in system that has increased efficiency, record keeping, and customer service — all for less than $1,000 in equipment costs.

Since implementation in February 2013, the electronic sign-in system has significantly increased the efficiency and speed at which Student and Enrollment Services employees have been able to assist students, decreasing student overall wait times. Staff members now have the ability to monitor students signing in from their office, which means they can research students’ needs immediately and many times, staff members are able to provide answers and resolve issues in their initial contact with the student.

Even more impressive, is the ability of staff members to access the sign-in sheet on their smart phone or tablet. This means staff members can be away from their desk and still observe how many students are signing-in in real time. If a department director is off campus and observes a sudden influx in student traffic, they can quickly make a few calls and pull staff members to assist.

Additionally, with the electronic sign-in system, the department is now able to keep electronic records which can be used to make staffing decisions during peak times. Such reporting can also provide analytics including information about peak traffic and wait times, the types of questions students have, and the departments that are seeing the most traffic. Searches within the system can also find specific student information such as what days, times, and needs a particular student had each time they signed in. The system has been so effective, Student and Enrollment Services plans on adding more iPad devices in the future to further enhance students’ ability to quickly get the answers they need.

At the conference, Coleman will walk attendees through setting up their own electronic sign-in system. As an alumnus of the college holding an Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology, Coleman speaks from experience, knowing firsthand how improved processes and increased efficiency can benefit students. After graduating from Nash, Michael Coleman attended Liberty University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and Master’s degrees in both Religion and Business Administration. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Business Administration at Liberty University. Coleman has been employed at the college since 2007.

Retired NCC Professor and Scotland County Native to Present Civil War Program

MaryWayneWatson_02Scotland County native Dr. Mary Wayne Watson, retired Nash Community College Professor and Road Scholar with the NC Humanities Council, will present a program on Sandhills women’s perspectives of the American Civil War. The event, co-sponsored by the Richmond Historical Society, is set for 7:00 p.m. on September 15, 2014, at Rockingham City Hall in Rockingham, NC. Watson’s presentation is titled “Women’s Attitudes towards Secession and the Civil War.”

Research on the work of her great uncle, North Carolina Poet Laureate John Charles McNeill, as well as her cousin, Gerald White Johnson, noted historian and journalist, both from Scotland County, motivated Watson to look further into her family’s history. In so doing she discovered a series of letters written during the Civil War by her great-grandmother in Scotland County to a family in Moore County.

The program presents a fascinating look at women’s views during the beginning, middle, and end of the Civil War period in North Carolina.

An initially uplifting, idealistic support of the Union as a great experiment in democracy and self-rule ultimately fades into prayers for return of the surviving men as well as hopes for peace, followed by ultimate acceptance of the bitter realities of war on a land and a people crushed in the aftermath. Poignant descriptions of the impact of Sherman’s “scorched earth policy” on a once proud and surprisingly literary Sandhills community remind us once again that war is hell–even when it is brother against sister.

Watson received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and universities in North Carolina and Virginia.

A Sweet Pursuit of Lifelong Learning


NCC alumna Winde Jackson (right) with cake designer Wayne Steinkopf

Nash Community College alumna Winde Jackson has made a commitment to lifelong learning. She earned Associate in Applied Science degrees from Nash Community College in Networking Technology and Computer Information Systems Technology. Later she graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Food and Beverage, and a minor in Business Administration. Jackson is currently enrolled in Nash Community College’s Culinary Arts degree program.


Cake design by NCC alumna Winde Jackson featuring two cake lace mats developed by Claire Bowman

She recently attended a class taught by Wayne Steinkopf, owner of Swank Cake Design in Cary, NC, to advance her skills in cake design. “The cake I made features one of the newest design trends using two cake lace mats developed by Claire Bowman,” Jackson said. Steinkopf teaches classes throughout the United States at cake shows, conventions and other locations, sharing best practices and teaching bakers the latest techniques and trends. “I just don’t feel like in this field you can ever stop learning,” she said.

When she is not in the classroom, Winde Jackson is the baker at Lou Reda’s: an American Table. She also creates delicious treats for local weddings, parties and other celebrations through her baking business, and assists with baking at Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville, NC during banquets. “I am blessed and very fortunate that Nash has such great chefs and instructors. They are really great at answering and explaining and being there outside of class time when you have questions and problems.” Jackson is currently seeking an investor as she hopes to own a full bakery in Rocky Mount one day.


Banned Books Week is September 22-26!












Banned Books Trivia!

1. This perky coming of age story about a teenaged boy, in both book and movie format was banned for “graphic teenage sex, homosexuality, and drugs.”

Perks of Being a Wallflower


2. What autobiographical story of a young Native American cartoonist who chooses a life off of the reservation has been banned for “pornographic language” and scenes depicting sex and violence?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


3. Which magical seven book series, as well as the accompanying films, has been banned for promotion of witchcraft, being too dark, setting bad examples for youth, and being “anti-family?”

Harry Potter Series


4. A semi-autobiographical science fiction novel involving time travel has been banned for being pornographic, glorifying drinking, cursing, and premarital sex.

Slaughterhouse Five


5. Which adventurous book was banned for portraying humans and animals on the same level?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


6. What famous book, ironically about censorship, finds itself repeatedly on the banned and challenged books list?

Farenheit 451


7. What play penned by a famous Bard, was banned on shaky grounds because of a cross-dressing female as well as a suspected gay male character?

Twelfth Night


8. This incredibly popular best seller has been translated into many languages, and was banned due to sexual content and violence against women, among other complaints.

The Bible


9. Which book about coming of age in1930’s Alabama, characterizing the trial of an African American man accused of attacking a young Caucasian girl, has been banned for offensive language and racism?

To Kill A Mockingbird


10. What banned book tells the story of a young girl who faces down a deadly cyclone and soon afterwards finds herself among strangers and forced to adapt, while wearing someone else’s shoes?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


11. This banned book features an orphaned boy sent to live with two terrible aunts, who are soon crushed by vegetation. It has been banned for offensive language and anti-family content.

James and the Giant Peach


12. What popular teenage romance series featuring a large adoptive family interacting with local residents has been banned for religious viewpoints, violence, sexual explicity, and unsuitability for the audience?



13. A boy goes to boarding school, where he learns a new sport, makes new friends, gets into trouble, and learns to battle evil. The story was banned because it “promotes the occult.” Can you guess the book?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone













NCC Employees Publish Best Practices in Higher Ed

Deana Guido, Dean of Transfer and Learning, Nash Community College

Articles written by two Nash Community College (NCC) employees have been published in national trade publications. The goal of both pieces was to provide lessons learned at Nash Community College that can be shared and adapted by other colleges.

In the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s (NISOD) Innovation Abstracts, Nash Community College’s Dean of Transfer and Learning Resources shared the college’s professional development experiences and instructional strategies. The article titled “If You Feed Them, They Will Come: Ten Commandments of Successful Professional Enrichment” explains NCC’s professional development experiences, Blue Love, the 10 Commandments instructional strategy and an AVID snack-and-share.

“Two years ago Nash Community College embarked on a campuswide, strategic professional development plan via AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination),” Guido wrote. “This comprehensive professional development included instructional activities that helped change the culture of the entire campus.” She described being part of this paradigm shift as one of the most significant and rewarding endeavors in her career. “Bringing faculty together from across the campus on a regular basis to identify barriers and build toward student success altered the trajectory of this campus, and the best is yet to come,” Guido continued.

NISOD was established in 1978 with grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education. The organization is a consortium of two-year colleges sharing a philosophical commitment to excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership.

Guido holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music history and theory from State University of New York at Geneseo, a Master of Science in library science from The Catholic University of America and a graduate certificate in counselor education from North Carolina State University. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational evaluation and research from North Carolina State University and has been employed at NCC since 2010.


Kelley Deal, Senior Director of Marketing and Communication, Nash Community College

Kelley Deal’s article, “Tried-and-True Strategies for Single-Handedly Managing Social Media,” ran in the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations’ July 2014 40th Anniversary edition of Counsel magazine and provides best practices for college social media managers. She recommends colleges use social media for customer service, and that they not try to have a presence on every channel, but to master where they are. “Social media should be used for more than one-way communication,” she wrote. “Sure, it serves as a medium by which we post announcements and share updates, but it is far more than that. Students should be engaged and feel informed because of the way you talk with them, not at them.” Deal serves as Nash Community College’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communication. “Being seen with only one follower and a couple of year-old posts can hurt your online clout as prospective students and donors may see this as an indication of your passivity in other areas,” she wrote. Deal joined the college in 2007 and holds a Bachelor of Art’s degree in communication from East Carolina University. She plans to complete her Master’s degree in communication at ECU this fall.

Both articles address the rapidly changing nature of higher education as an opportunity for community college leaders to be change agents. “Our prospective students’ world is instant and spontaneous. Today’s students are going to choose a college that aligns with their way of thinking, like it or not,” Deal said. “Millennials bring a different expectation of learning to campus,” Guido wrote. “Bringing faculty together from across the campus on a regular basis to identify barriers and build toward student success altered the trajectory of this campus, and the best is yet to come.”

Alumni Association Spotlight: Grant Sherrod

Grant Sherrod

Grant Sherrod, NCC Alumnus

“I have made many careless decisions in my life; however, choosing Nash wasn’t one of them. After graduating high school, I decided to complete my first two years at Nash as a College Transfer student. This decision provided the foundation for a great future. For me, I chose Nash because of the minimal cost and the small class size.

Nash Community College students are provided with instruction which promotes success in the classroom. When I talked to friends who went to other schools about how things were going and what classes they were taking, they all seemed to have the same response – they felt lost. This is a problem I never endured at Nash Community College. One of the hardest classes I took was college level general chemistry; however, with assistance from my instructor I found success.

My instructors were willing to provide assistance when it was needed. Of all the instructors at Nash, no one comes close to my math instructor Mrs. Dina Pitt. She is an extraordinary person who cares about every one of her students and their future. Mrs. Pitt was in tune to her students and ready to assist with any issues that were hindering success. She always had that saying, “We Appreciate You at Nash Community College. I genuinely felt appreciated.

After completing my AA degree this summer, I can finally say that in the fall of this year I will be attending East Carolina University. My goal is to complete two degrees; B.A. in Accounting and B.S. in Economics. Eventually I would like to attend graduate school. Looking back I am thankful for the decision to attend Nash Community College my first two years. Through my experience Nash provided the opportunity to learn, meet new people, and find out lessons to enable me to be successful. My name is Grant Sherrod and I’m proud to say, I Chose Nash!!”

Contributed by: Grant Sherrod, NCC Alumnus