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John Tyler Community College Students Named as Top Community College Students in Virginia

Primary Media Contact:

Holly Walker
Public Relations Manager

Secondary Media Contact:

Heather Busch
Creative Services Manager

Released on June 07, 2018

Dr. Edward “Ted” Raspiller, Donna Lapato, Elena Brancato, Julia Bailey, Heather Ashbeck, and Dr. Glenn DuBois

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Four John Tyler Community College students were recently recognized for their academic excellence and commitment to community by being named to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society’s All-Virginia Academic Team. Heather Ashbeck, Julia Bailey, Elena Brancato, and Donna Lapato were recognized during a luncheon in Richmond on April 18, 2018. In addition, Ashbeck, Bailey and Brancato were honored as being among the best community college students in Virginia by being named to the PTK Top Ten All-Virginia Academic Team. Ashbeck also was honored as a 2018 Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar, a national recognition. 

Ashbeck, of Midlothian, graduated from Tyler’s Human Services, Pre-Social Work Specialization degree program in May. Before enrolling at Tyler, the mother of three served in the U.S. Air Force for 18 years. After graduating with her associate degree this semester, Ashbeck plans to continue her education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She then wants to go to work in a career focused on helping domestic abuse survivors.

Bailey, of Hopewell, graduated from Tyler in May with an associate degree in Liberal Arts and a career studies certificate in Paralegal Studies. She plans to transfer to the University of Virginia to pursue a degree in English to continue building her communications skills before entering law school. Her ultimate goal is to become a family law attorney.

Brancato, of Chesterfield, wants to be a role model for her son. She also wants to develop a new career path. So, she enrolled at Tyler and began exploring her options. She discovered her interest in communications, and graduated in May with a degree in General Studies, Mass Communications Specialization. She plans to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to major in public relations and minor in media studies. 

Lapato, of Chesterfield, plans to pursue both the research and counseling aspects of psychology. She graduated from Tyler in May with a degree in General Studies, Psychology Specialization. She has been accepted to Virginia Commonwealth University and plans to apply to its honors programs. Her goal is to earn a doctoral degree and then put her education to work.

John Tyler Community College offers more than 60 majors that provide pathways to careers in high-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, a Nursing Education Center, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 13,900 students during the 2016-17 academic year. It also assisted nearly 6,000 learners and more than 200 companies and organizations through its workforce development division, Community College Workforce Alliance. 

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Holly Walker, Public Relations Manager


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