Snapshots of the Class of 2013
Members of the Class of 2013 talk about their experiences at John Tyler Community College and offer advice to those just starting college.
Associate of Science in Engineering
Christopher Deloglos is curious by nature. He likes to know how things work, so he loves science, and he says that’s probably what got him interested in engineering. Christopher, who was home schooled, began taking classes at John Tyler Community College while finishing his high school work. When he completed high school early, he decided to continue at Tyler. He was just 15 at the time, and he liked Tyler’s proximity to his home. Christopher says he soon felt connected to the College thanks to his professors and to other students who offered advice and pushed him to succeed. His academic achievements earned him a membership in the Beta Omicron Omicron Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society as well as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarship. Christopher says the variety of classes and people at Tyler have made his first college experiences great ones. Even as he excitedly prepares for graduation day at Tyler, he’s looking ahead to the next step – Virginia Commonwealth University, where he plans to double major in engineering and business administration. After that, he’d like to earn a master’s degree and possibly a doctorate. His dream job? To manage a Fortune 500 engineering company.
Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
Chad Doebler’s life is going in a new direction, and he couldn’t be more thrilled. Chad is becoming a nurse, and he is anxious to be out in the field, full-time, helping others. As a member of the Class of 2013, he soon will be. Chad admits that he wasn’t always this excited about his career. Before deciding to pursue a career in health care, he worked in engineering and in software. He found neither satisfying. So, he sat down with his wife, talked about options, and honed in on nursing. Chad said he chose to attend John Tyler Community College because its Nursing Program had an excellent reputation in the community and because of economics – Tyler was simply more affordable. He laughs when he talks about the challenges of being a father, husband and full-time nursing student while working part time at a hospital. “It takes organization,” says Chad. It also takes emotional toughness. “Nursing is tough. This program is not stress free and neither is the career.” If you understand that, Chad says, then you can succeed – especially when you have a supportive family and you have dedicated faculty who provide you with the instruction needed to get ready for the real world. As he talks about graduating from John Tyler, his grin gets even bigger. “It feels awesome,” he exclaims. “You know what’s most gratifying? One of my professors told me that I’m now a peer!” So, what’s next for Chad? He is going to start a new job in the progressive care unit at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, and in the fall, he plans to start working on his bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, International Studies Specialization
Andrew Hart didn’t set out to achieve a first, but he’s proud that he has, and he hopes what he’s done will inspire others. Andrew is one of two students in the Class of 2013 who will become the first to graduate with an associate degree from John Tyler Community College before graduating from high school. Andrew says his journey was a merging of two plans. Because he is one of four children, his parents wanted him to attend a two-year college to save money. Andrew, however, wanted to go to college with his friends. So, he began looking for ways to earn college credits early. Through a combination of classes – dual enrollment, concurrent and AP, he was able to earn the credits needed to graduate with a Liberal Arts degree with a specialization in international studies. At times, juggling high school and college was difficult, but Andrew says he learned to overcome the challenges by managing his time well. What may surprise many is that Andrew also was able to schedule time to be a tutor at John Tyler, to volunteer at the school where his father works, to participate in honor societies, and to have fun with his friends. Andrew says the experience has been wonderful because it’s given him the opportunity to find out what college is like, and it’s helped him prepare for what next. “I am proud of what I’ve done. I’ve worked really hard,” says Andrew. “I hope others realize they can do something just like this, even if it is in an unconventional way.” Andrew also says graduation is a way for him to say thank you to all those who supported him along the way – his family, the professors and staff at John Tyler, and the staff from his high school. After graduating from Tyler in May, Andrew will celebrate his graduation from Clover Hill High School in June, and then enjoy a vacation. By fall, he will be back at school. He will attend Virginia Commonwealth University and would like to double major in political science/international relations and homeland security. He’s then thinking about working on a master’s degree. His ultimate goal is to work for the State Department.
Associate of Science in General Studies
Emily McGee knows that in order to succeed in fashion, you must challenge conventional thinking and get creative. That’s just the kind of attitude she adopted when she decided to try to graduate from college and high school simultaneously. Emily says soon after she started high school, she discovered that she wanted more. So, she sat down with her mother, and together, they designed a plan that would allow Emily to earn an associate degree while completing high school. Emily eventually ended up at John Tyler Community College, where she says she found great professors and a diverse atmosphere. She also discovered the College’s flexible class schedule, which she says helped make it possible for her to balance high school and college courses. Emily says at times the workload was stressful, and she admits she had less free time with her friends. But she says that is okay with her because her education is her main focus. Now that graduation is approaching, Emily says she’s able to take a deep breath. "I’m really excited," she laughs. "I haven’t had a free summer in three years." Emily also is proud to be one of two students who are marking a first for John Tyler. They will be the first to graduate with an associate degree from Tyler before graduating high school. In June, Emily will graduate from James River High School, and in the fall, she will start classes at Virginia Commonwealth University. There, she will pursue a degree in fashion merchandising. She says graduating now with her associate degree now will allow her to turn her attention to her passion – the fashion business. She hopes it will also mean that she’ll have more time to explore internships and study abroad opportunities that will give her a leg up in a competitive industry. When asked what she would like to do with her education, Emily says she could see herself owning a boutique and creating her own clothing designs. But, that dream could change. With a twinkle in her eye, Emily says, anything is possible. "I want to experience life and see where it takes me."
Associate of Science in General Studies
A lot can change in three years. That’s what Julianna Morgan discovered during her time at John Tyler Community College. Julianna says when she started taking classes at Tyler three years ago she was a very different person. At the time, she was a 27-year old single mother with a one-year old son. She says she lacked confidence and was not sure she could succeed. She doubted herself academically, in part because she had dropped out of high school. But, after getting her GED and becoming a mother, she felt she needed more for herself and for her little boy. So, she gathered her courage, drove to John Tyler Community College, enrolled, and began her college career. Julianna admits the first day of class was tough and full of anxiety, but, she says, that quickly changed thanks to the encouragement she received from the College’s faculty and staff. She began to overcome her fears and doubts, and soon, she discovered something she didn’t expect – a love for history. Once ignited, that passion blossomed. She jumped at the chance to be part of the College’s History Club and has held positions as its vice president and president. She also got involved in Student Council and volunteered and participated in a number of College activities. She says while at Tyler, she’s made new connections, enjoyed the College’s sense of diversity, and gained confidence in her abilities. She also excelled academically, and in 2013, earned a coveted spot on the Top Ten All-Virginia Academic Team, a recognition that showcases the best community college students in the Commonwealth as ranked by USA Today, The Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and the American Association of Community Colleges. Julianna describes graduating from John Tyler as a proud and emotional time. And, although she’s looking forward to celebrating this achievement, she’s also looking ahead to her next goal - a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Commonwealth University. After that, she hopes to continue her education in history by earning a master’s and eventually a doctorate degree.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, Pre-Social Work Specialization
For Donna Simmons, the road to a college education has taken some unexpected detours. Donna started going to college immediately after high school, but she says she just didn’t have the focus she needed. Instead, she turned her attention toward raising a family and working. But, throughout the years, she never stopped thinking about going back to school. With the encouragement of her husband, she decided to enroll at John Tyler Community College. Sadly, just as she was starting her college career, her husband passed away. The loss was painful, but Donna says she knew her husband wanted her to achieve her dreams so she continued on her path to a college degree. At first, she thought she’d pursue a degree in accounting, but after a few classes, Donna said she realized the career didn’t fit her personality. After realizing she had a passion for helping people, Donna changed direction and enrolled in John Tyler Community College’s Pre-Nursing curriculum. She was accepted into the College’s Nursing Program, where she began the challenge of trying to juggle nursing classes with being a single mother of three and working full time. She used her personal and vacation time from work to attend class, but she fell a few points shy of making it through one of her classes. Donna says she was disappointed by the set-back, but she was not willing to give up. She did some research and worked with the College’s counselors and discovered the Human Services program. She quickly got involved in all facets of the program by volunteering her time with various organizations, interning at the YWCA, taking on the role of president for the College’s Human Services Club, participating in Student Council, and representing Tyler at a Student Leadership Conference. She says John Tyler has made all of this possible through its caring faculty, who bring many perspectives to the classroom, and its helpful staff, who understand the challenges faced by the College’s diverse student population. She says her upcoming graduation is bittersweet. She’s ecstatic to have reached this milestone, but she is sad to leave John Tyler. Even so, Donna says she knows she needs to keep moving forward. Her next step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in human services, which she plans to do through an online program offered by Bluefield College.
Associate of Science in Business Administration
Thomas Wise refuses to be part of a negative statistic, and he’s worked hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. Thomas grew up in the foster care system, and he knows that far too often, children in that system don’t graduate from high school and even fewer finish college. But, Thomas was determined to beat the odds, and he is. In May, he will finish his associate degree, becoming the first student in the John Tyler Community College Great Expectations program to graduate. Great Expectations is a program that provides much-needed support to youth who are aging out of the foster care system. This support comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s helping a student navigate the financial aid or class scheduling process, and sometimes it’s helping a student find transportation or a place to live. The support also comes in the form of a mentor, who offers encouragement, advice, and when necessary, a little nudge to get back on track. Thomas says the support he received through Great Expectations has been critical to his success, especially when he realized he might want to change his degree focus. Originally, Thomas planned to go into engineering. He found the program to be challenging and the material and instructors to be interesting. But, then came a surprise. He got a job as a retail merchandiser, and he discovered he loved the work. Thomas says he had been shy in high school, so he was amazed to learn that he enjoyed sales and customer service work. His mentor encouraged him along the way, and with her help, he transitioned out of the Engineering program and into Business Administration. She’s also helped him plan for his next academic steps – a bachelor’s degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Class of 2012 Snapshots
Members of the Class of 2012 talk about their time at John Tyler Community College
Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
When she talks about her experiences at John Tyler Community College, Gina Cruz gives a big smile and simply says, “I got my start here.” Whether or not she should go to college was never a question for Gina, who believes education is vital to getting a good job. When it was time to explore her options, she discovered Tyler was the right fit for her. John Tyler was close to home; had earned positive reviews from friends; and gave her the opportunity to start her college education, even though her grades in high school were not strong. Once at Tyler, Gina took advantage of every opportunity presented to her. She studied hard and pulled her grades up high enough to be selected for induction into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, an organization in which she’s very active. She became a tutor, was a member of the College’s 2012 General Assembly student delegation, and volunteered at numerous College events. She also found inspiration for her future career. After taking a developmental psychology class, Gina decided she wanted to work toward her doctorate in psychology, so that she can work in a school and help children. Gina says she’s nervously excited about graduating from Tyler, but she is looking forward to the future, which includes continuing her education at the University of Richmond this fall.
Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
Helping people is Shawn Fenner’s passion. So, after working for more than ten years as a writer and editor for a local newspaper, he decided to switch careers to become a nurse. Shawn says it is a career that, “will give me the chance to help people on some of the worst days of their lives.” Shawn researched his education options and chose the Nursing Program at John Tyler Community College, because he found it to be well-respected in the community. For him, the program has been challenging and eye-opening. The instructors, his classmates, and his clinical experiences have helped him learn the skills necessary to become a nurse and, at the same time, discover more about his own capabilities and interests. He calls one experience, in particular, “life-changing” – his clinical at the Children’s Hospital. Shawn says the time he spent there made him realize his dream job would involve working with children. For now though, Shawn is focused on completing his associate degree. He says, at one point, graduating seemed like a distant idea, but as it nears, that idea is taking shape. Shawn says at commencement, he’ll feel a mixture of relief and euphoria. And, while he plans to pause and enjoy the moment he walks across the stage, he realizes he’ll have to get ready for the next step. Shawn wants to enter the workforce and start working on his bachelor’s degree in nursing. He describes that scenario as the best of both worlds.
Associate of Science in General Studies
Amanda Maready is animated when she talks about the impact John Tyler Community College has had on her life. When she started at John Tyler, Amanda was 17 years old and taking classes as a concurrent student. She was homeschooled, so sitting in a classroom and being taught by instructors who were not her mother was a new experience. She described those first days as “nerve-wracking” but says the small class sizes and the personalized instruction and support she received from faculty, smoothed her transition into the world of college. Since that time, she’s learned a lot, both in and out of the classroom. In addition to eagerly tackling her courses, Amanda says she’s honed her study skills, has become a better manager of her time, and has become more sensitive to deadlines. She also immersed herself in college life by becoming a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, by participating in College events and trips, and by just being on campus. These experiences gave Amanda a new vision of her life. When she started at the College, her goal was to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. Now, thanks to the encouragement of her instructors, she’s decided to pursue dentistry. She’s been accepted to the Honors College at Old Dominion University, where she will study pre-dental. She wants to go to dental school at either Virginia Commonwealth University or East Carolina University and plans to join the Navy Dental Corp. Although her plans will take her to many different places, Amanda gets emotional when she talks about her strong ties to John Tyler, where she has met many wonderful people. “I will definitely be coming back. I can’t completely leave this place.”
Tamarssa Nicole Roberts
Associate of Applied Science in Business Management
Tamarssa Nicole Roberts is a juggler. She is a single mother, who works full-time and goes to school full-time. She’s also determined – determined to get her associate degree, determined to complete her bachelor’s degree, and determined to inspire her son. Tamarssa says, originally, her decision to continue her education was influenced by her employer, which required its workers to possess a certain amount of college credit. Tamarssa says John Tyler Community College ended up being a blessing because it was close to both her home and her job, and because she’s been able to complete most of her degree by taking online classes. She describes those courses as challenging, but says she’s thankful she had them as an option. Throughout this journey, Tamarssa says she realized that earning a degree would not only help her not only in her current job; it would help her, one day, fulfill her dream of owning her own event planning business. When asked about graduating, Tamrassa says it seems too good to be true, but she admits, she’s not slowing down. She’s already taking classes at Liberty University, and after this semester, will be just ten classes away from earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. To those who wonder if they can handle the demands of college, Tamarrsa says she’s proof that you’re never too old to get an education. “Don’t sit back and do nothing. Take a class. Just try it.”
Associate of Visual Arts, Visual Communications Specialization
At eight years old, Jerann Robinson discovered his love of drawing. As the years went by, that enjoyment grew, and he realized that technology could be part of the creative process. So, when he explored his college options, John Tyler Community College’s Visual Arts Program was appealing. Jerann says the program, along with the College’s proximity to his home, the recommendations he received from family who had attended classes at Tyler, and his high school counselor’s suggestion that community college offered a more affordable education, led him to choose John Tyler. Jerann says the experience has opened doors for him, by giving him a vision for his life. He already knew that he liked to teach and work with children, something he discovered when he became a substitute teacher in Hopewell. But while at Tyler, he found he could take that interest in other directions. A business course sparked an idea, and with the skills learned in that class, Jerann developed a business plan that he hopes to one day turn into a youth center. Before he does that, however, he wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in teaching from William and Mary or Virginia Commonwealth University and get some real-world experience. He believes he will then be able to use all he’s learned and experienced to make his business plan a reality. He says that’s all thanks to John Tyler. “JTCC helped me come up with a business idea, helped me decide what I’m going to do with my graphic design skills, and helped me get to know myself better.”
Class of 2011 Snapshots
Members of the Class of 2011 talk about their experiences
Administration of Justice
Elizabeth Holmes wants people to know that with faith, hard work and determination, you can overcome the obstacles life puts before you and achieve your goals. “I was a victim of domestic violence and didn't think that I could make it without my abuser's financial support, so I stayed and died a little each day. Then, out of nowhere, a chance came my way, and I grabbed onto it and ran. That was November 1995, and I haven't looked back,” says Elizabeth. She joined the Navy and eventually came back to Virginia. The mother of three then decided she wanted to finish something that she started years before – college. Twenty years ago, she was a student at John Tyler Community College and had to abruptly drop out because her aunt and uncle who were in the military had to suddenly relocate. So, once she got back to campus, she was determined to succeed. That’s just what she did, earning a spot in the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and recently winning an academic award in administration of justice. She is proud of her accomplishments but admits that she’s sad to be leaving John Tyler, which has become a second home to her. Earning a degree in police science and a certificate in administration of justice is not the end of Elizabeth’s educational journey. She’s planning to work on her bachelor’s degree at Longwood University. From there, Elizabeth would like to use what she’s learned in college and through her own life experiences to help others. She says she wants to open a shelter for women, so that she can show them that they have the power to change their lives. She is, after all, living proof.
Alexandra “Alleigh” Scantling
Arts and Sciences, Theatre Arts Specialization
Alleigh Scantling studies light and shadow. Both are equally important when you are trying to bring a theatre production to life. The theatre is in her blood; it is a passion – one that she’s been able to pursue at John Tyler Community College. Her first role at John Tyler was that of a dual enrolled student. The classes she took in animation and digital design fueled her desire for the stage. She knew John Tyler was a good place to start pursuing her dream. The College offered her the program she wanted, made the transition out of high school virtually seamless, and was affordable – something that was extremely important to this first generation college student. While at John Tyler, Alleigh says she learned many important lessons, including how to persevere and how to be patient. When asked what’s the best thing about Tyler, Alleigh points to the College’s sense of community. “Everything from the faculty to the student body to the fun events we put on around the College. Not a lot of people expect a community college to do so much – especially since everyone commutes. Look a little closer and get more involved, and you’ll realize there is so much going on. I wouldn’t change it for the world. The people here have become a second family to me,” says Alleigh. What’s next? Starting in the fall, Alleigh, who recently received an academic award for theatre arts, will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University. She plans to pursue a degree in technical theatre with a focus on lighting design. From there, she hopes to get involved in community theatre here in Richmond and perhaps one day take her skills to New York.
Visual Arts, Visual Communications Specialization
Fine Arts Certificate
When Khiem Tran first decided to enroll at John Tyler Community College, it was about the money. But, when he got to Tyler, Khiem says, he discovered so much more. He found the College to be a place of unexpected opportunities. “I learned with peers who also shared creativity and drive. I had instructors who were willing to share their time and provide constructive criticism. I was able to design a logo and present it to an actual business. I toured and learned the ins-and-outs of a printing and design firm. I went to New York City for three days every spring. I coordinated volunteers for a fundraising race event. I had my photograph published in the newspapers and on posters. I went to a college that didn't have dorms, but had so much more,” says Khiem. In 2008, he earned a certificate in fine arts. He decided to continue on at John Tyler and is now graduating with a degree in visual arts with a visual communications specialization. Along the way, he’s been active in the Art Club and has won numerous awards, including the 2011 Foundation Art Award. Khiem is not slowing down. He already is studying creative advertising at Virginia Commonwealth University, and once his bachelor’s degree is completed, he plans to go to the VCU Brandcenter for his graduate studies. His ultimate goal is enjoy a successful career in advertising or graphic design in New York City.
Jonathan Turman says when he started researching career fields, engineering quickly came to mind. It may not be a surprising choice because Jonathan comes from a family of engineers. Plus, he likes math. During his senior year of high school, when he was a concurrently enrolled student at John Tyler Community College, he learned that the College was starting a new engineering program. So as soon as he finished high school, Jonathan signed up. At the time, he was not ready to commit to a specialization and wanted to explore his options. “That’s one of the things I like about the engineering program here. I am getting an overview of the profession and don’t have to commit to a particular field within engineering,” Jonathan says. While at John Tyler, Jonathan has received numerous recognitions. In 2009, he was named the Homer Eliades Commonwealth Legacy Scholar. Earlier this semester, he received an academic award for engineering and the John Tyler Community College Foundation’s Rising Star Award. He is also one of two John Tyler students to receive a DuPont summer internship. After graduating from John Tyler, Jonathan plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Virginia. He ultimately wants to conduct research to design new technologies.
Arts and Sciences
Ashley White proves that a person’s life does not have to be defined by the past. When Ashley was in middle school, difficulties at home prompted her to drop out of school. Several years passed before Ashley had a revelation – that she needed an education. “I watched as my mother and grandmother struggled to make ends meet,” Ashley says. “I realized that I need to do something, or I was facing the same future.” She earned her GED and then enrolled at John Tyler. It proved to be the perfect choice. Ashley, who was once terrified at the thought of returning to school, thrived. She became president of the College’s Tau Rho chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, which promotes academic success and community involvement. Earlier this semester, Ashley’s work with the honor society was recognized when she was awarded a Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Award. She also received an academic award in arts and sciences. As she prepares to graduate with her degree in arts and sciences, Ashley is planning for her next steps. She wants to eventually earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, so that she can help abuse victims and assist those living with psychological disorders. She says her ultimate dream would be to also earn a medical degree in psychiatric medicine, so that she can work with patients on both sides of the spectrum.
Class of 2010 Snapshots
Meet the Glascoes
When you first meet Delores and Raymond Glascoe, you immediately feel love. You quickly realize that you are talking to a husband and wife who deeply respect one another, who share deep beliefs about God and family, who inspire each other and who, at times, enjoy a bit of competition. Together they have made a home, raised two daughters and developed careers. And, together, Delores and Raymond will graduate from John Tyler Community College with degrees in human services.
For both, the road to commencement has been long. Delores and Raymond each went to college before they started dating. Once they married, they decided to start a family and put their college educations on hold. But, neither gave up their dream of one day earning a college degree. When their youngest daughter started college, Delores decided to join her at John Tyler. Raymond soon followed. Both admit the journey was challenging at times, but they agree it was well worth the work. Raymond, who plans to fold what he’s learned into his work as a minister, says the encouragement he received from the College’s faculty and staff made him realize he could continue to learn. Delores says her time at John Tyler has inspired her to keep going with her education.
Meet John Mayen Deng
When John Deng walks into the room, there’s an immediate reaction – a huge smile. John is always happy to see you and is quick to ask how you are doing. His greeting and questions are genuine – he truly cares about the people around him, and in John’s world, there are no strangers. He is curious about the people he meets and is quick to share stories about his life with those who are interested in him. John is one of the so-called “Lost Boys of Sudan.” War forced him to flee his homeland at a very young age and for years he lived in a Kenyan refugee camp. Then at 17, his life changed again when he came to the United States and settled in Richmond. He went to high school and then decided to continue his education at John Tyler Community College. John describes his years at John Tyler as wonderful, saying he’s learned much in his classes and from the caring people who work and attend the College.
For some, going to college is just an expected step in life’s journey. But, for John, that hasn’t been the case. He takes nothing for granted and relishes the opportunities he says he’s been given. His parents were not educated, and because of that, John is driven to succeed. He says his education is crucial because it will allow him to continue helping his family and the people back in his homeland, as well as those here in his new home. After graduating with his arts and sciences degree, he will be entering a four-year institution with the goal of becoming a radiologist.
Meet Bob Miller
Sporting a Hawaiian shirt and a big grin, Bob Miller laughs when he tells you that he’s finally doing what he was meant to do – be a nurse. After 22 years as a paramedic, Miller decided it was time to go after the career he really wanted, so he applied to John Tyler Community College’s nursing program. Miller says the road to a nursing degree took a lot of work, but he is confident that he now possesses the skills he needs to succeed in this demanding field. And, although Miller put hours into reading, studying and training in the nursing lab and in area hospitals, he is quick to point out that he didn’t do this alone. He says he couldn’t have accomplished his goal without the knowledge, encouragement and dedication of the College’s nursing faculty. He also thanks his family for supporting his decision to take on this challenging program.