A True Definition of Blue Love

1038Blue Love – To some it may sound silly, but it represents something quite serious…a topic many may not wish to address. As Dr. W. Dallas Herring, the father of North Carolina community colleges intended from the inception of the system, our goal is to “….take people from where they are, as far as they can go.” And that is exactly what Blue Love does.

 
In her April 2013 TED talk, experienced educator Rita Pierson said, “We know why kids drop out. We know why kids don’t learn. It’s either poverty, low attendance, negative peer influences. We know why. But one of the things that we never discuss, or we rarely discuss, is the value and importance of human connection, relationships.” It has been suggested that the same is true about college students; many who drop out, do so because they do not feel there is value in what they are doing, or they feel that no one cares about them.

To help ensure student success, Nash Community College recognizes that not all students are alike, and that many face challenges beyond those arising in the classroom. Food insecurity, test anxiety, post-military life challenges, learning disabilities, transportation problems, mental health issues, financial concerns, substance use, impaired access to technology and health care needs are among the obstacles to learning that some NCC students encounter. These concerns must be addressed in order for learning and positive student outcomes to occur; and that is just what Blue Love does.  Additionally, NCC faculty have engaged in rigorous instructionally focused professional enrichment to help them engage students at the highest level.

NCC instructors share Blue Love by understanding these differences and addressing holistically the barriers to student learning. To be effective, NCC instructors have to be engaged, energized, and happy to be in the role they are in. Blue Love puts this level of faculty and staff commitment into action. “Teaching and learning should bring joy. How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think, and who had a champion? Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be,” Pierson said. NCC believes the same to be true about its students…every student deserves a champion.

The recent rollout of the Student Wellness Center with clinical outreach counseling is one way NCC connects students with qualified professionals and community resources who can offer support. The college has devoted a full-time employee to helping students get connected with organizations and people who can assist with their individual needs. Marbeth Holmes, NCC’s Clinical Outreach Counselor, holds an Associate in Arts degree from Louisburg College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Meredith College, a Master of Arts degree in English from Abilene Christian University, and a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Holmes has been working at Nash Community College since August 1998, and is part of the college’s professorate class.

The Wellness Center’s scope of services includes screening and assessment, crisis intervention, personal counseling, support groups, referral services for chronic care, psycho-education, cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy and more. Holmes is trained to provide assistance to special populations in need of therapeutic support groups such as veterans, single mothers, survivors of trauma and domestic violence, drug abusers and others. College resources that also provide assistance to students include: the Student Government Association, MALE mentoring program, the Library, a food pantry, and success closet with professional attire for students who need clothing for work or job interviews.

Blue Love is signified with hands in the shape of hearts, buttons, and blue tie dyed tee shirts, but these representations stand for much, much more. And those who live in local and surrounding areas can attest to the impact of Blue Love each day when they are treated by nurses, use locally fabricated products, receive goods transported by a CDL graduate, are served in a restaurant by a culinary student, and experience the protection and service of law enforcement or fire services agencies. So, this term that I and others have referred to recently, is not simply about the donning of apparel and smiles by NCC employees; it is about building caring, meaningful relationships with our students, with each other, and with the community.

NCC Medical Assistants Earn Diplomas

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Nash Community College recently held a pinning ceremony to recognize eleven graduates from the medical assisting diploma program. Each individual completed the academic and clinical work required to become Medical Assistants as determined by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). According to program director Nancy Worsinger, “Some have chosen to enter the workforce at this time, while others have returned to campus this fall for additional coursework leading to an associate’s degree in applied sciences.” All of the graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam that will earn them the credential of Certified Medical Assistant, or CMA.

 

This is the seventh class of diploma students to reach this milestone since the Nash Community College program began in 2007. The college developed the program in response to the needs of the surrounding health care community and since that time, the demand for qualified medical assistants has continued to grow. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 29% increase in employment for medical assistants over the next 10 years and we have seen that reflected locally in the excellent job placement rate of our graduates.

 

“The list of required courses for the diploma is very long – totaling 45 credit hours – and requires an overload every semester if completed in one year,” Worsinger said. “Since many of our students are adults with families and part-time or full-time jobs, time management skills are critical to success. I’m continually in awe of what our students are able to balance. And for many, it is the support and understanding of family and friends that make their success possible.”

 

Pictured on the front row, from left to right: Anna Owens, Elm City; Morgan Willcox, Rocky Mount; and Jessica Winstead, Wilson.  Second row: Janicia Rover, Roanoke Rapids; Maria Caudle, Rocky Mount; and Melanie Craft, Rocky Mount. Back row: Janet Silver, Louisburg; Elizabeth Hernandez, Bailey; and Shonlel Evans, Rocky Mount. Not pictured: Amber Crocker, Rocky Mount and Sonal Rathod, Rocky Mount.

Phi Theta Kappa to Host “Commitment to Completion” Signing at Nash Community College

Statistics show the surest way for anyone to land a job in their chosen field is to finish college and earn a degree or certificate. And that’s exactly what students at Nash Community College are promising to do. They are signing a mass pledge to complete their associate degrees or certificates before leaving the community college for transfer or entering the job market. Administrators, faculty and staff have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to do whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials.

On November 19th, students will gather to sign the completion pledge, part of a national community college movement. They will also hear from student guest speakers. The event is being hosted by Nash Community College’s Beta Upsilon Delta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa along with the support of the Nash Community College Alumni Association and college administrators. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members are serving as the student arm of the Community College Completion Challenge, a national education initiative. Learn more at www.cccompletioncorps.org .

In April 2010 leaders of six national organizations representing the nation’s 1,200 community colleges signed The Call to Action, a pledge to increase student completion rates by 50 percent over the next decade. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society was the only student organization asked to participate. Phi Theta Kappa launched the Community College Completion Corps in response to this call.

At the 2010 White House Summit for Community Colleges President Obama called for community colleges to produce an additional 5 million degrees and certificates in the next 10 years, part of a goal to restore the United States as the world’s leader in college graduates. The U.S. is now ranked 16th among industrialized countries in the percentage of citizens holding higher education credentials.

It is reported that students who complete their degrees or certificates will earn an average of $500,000 more over the course of their careers than their peers who did not complete. In addition, individuals with credentials are less likely to become unemployed than their co-workers who did not earn credentials.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,280 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than two million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually. Learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at www.ptk.org .

Online Registration Open for 25th Annual Scholarship Golf Classic

GolfCommittee_02Area golfers have provided 24 years of support for the Nash Community College Foundation and its scholarship program by participating in the NCC Foundation Student Scholarship Golf Classic. Golfers will have a choice to tee off October 2nd at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. at Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount for a day of challenging fun, while providing scholarships for deserving college students. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Players who select the morning tee time will receive $100 of registration. All proceeds from the golf classic will provide student scholarships and support the needs of Nash Community College. The format for this year’s tournament will be Captain’s Choice.

Register Online!

Community members may participate in the following ways:

  • $700 Sponsor/Player Package: Signage; cart and green fees for four golfers; beverages and meals
  • $600 Player Package: Cart and green fees for four golfers: beverages and meals
  • $200 Individual Player: Cart and green fee for one; beverages and meals
  • $200 Sponsorship Package: Tee or green sign; beverages and meals
  • Prize/Gift Bag Sponsor: If merchandise is valued at $200 or more, sponsor receives signage; beverages and meal

Mulligans are $40 per team (two per player) and junk packages are $50 per player including two mulligans: one throw and one red tee buster. Prizes will be awarded to each flight’s first and second-place teams. This year’s grand tournament sponsors are Content Marketing and Automation, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, MBM, Oakley-Collier Architects, PNC Bank, Roger G. Taylor & Associates, Cummins, Institutional Interiors, Franklin Street Partners, Autumn Care of Nash and Sandy Cross Consultant Service. Golf carts are sponsored by McLane. 2014 Hospitality/Event Contributors are Benvenue Country Club, Carolina Eagle Budweiser, Inc., Davenport Autopark, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and Speight’s Trophy Shop. Davenport Autopark is the hole-in-one sponsor.

Under the leadership of Tournament Chair, Phil Dixon, members of the golf committee coordinating the event are pictured from left: Providence Bank Vice President and Information Technology Officer Lyn Brown, NCC Vice President for Instruction and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Trent Mohrbutter, NCC Coordinator of Alumni and Annual Programs Melissa Sykes, First South Bank Senior Vice President and City Executive Lank Dunton, 2014 Golf Committee Chair Phil Dixon and CMA Chief Executive Officer Phil Dixon, Benvenue Country Club Tournament Director Rob Farmer, Century 21/The Combs Company Broker/Owner David Combs, NCC Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Annette Dishner, NCC President Dr. Bill Carver and NCC Foundation Executive Director Pat Ellis Daniels. Committee members not pictured: Nash Health Care Systems Senior Vice President Corporate Services Cam Blalock and Nash County Assistant Emergency Services Director Scott Rogers. For more information, call 252-451-8230 or visit www.nashcc.edu/golf to register online.

 

Alumni Association Spotlight: Heather Perry

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NCC Alumna, Heather Perry

Graduating from a small Christian school made the decision to attend Nash Community College easier. When I started my college experience, I was introduced to the most amazing faculty and staff. Their genuine support, accessibility, and expertise made the transition smooth.

 

While at Nash, I participated in the work study program. I worked in the Public Relations Department and took pride in my job. I saw “behind the scenes” of the institution. It was at that very moment that I knew I wanted to make Nash my home.

 

My goal was to graduate with my Associate in Arts and transfer to North Carolina Wesleyan College to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

 

Because of the hard work of the NCC Foundation and the support of their faithful donors, I received the Gravely Upper Class Scholarship. This scholarship provided the financial means to achieve my goal both at Nash Community College and North Carolina Wesleyan College.

 

The Lord opened the door for me to work at Nash. I began my career on August 1, 2007 as an Accounting Technician in the Business Office working with fixed assets, payables, and later on part time payroll. In March 2011, I accepted the position as Direct Loan Officer in the College’s Financial Aid Department.

 

Working in financial aid is not always easy, but knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of my students is worth it all. I know what it is like to be on the other side of the desk, and it is my prayer that I never lose sight of it!

 

There are always exciting things happening at Nash Community College, and I am looking forward to what the future holds in my career and especially in the lives of our students!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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NCC Shares Innovative Practices with Community College System

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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

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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.

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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.