Friday, December 18, 2015

Fall Commencement speaker Daniel Reichwein: never, ever give up

Daniel Reichwein
Germanna Community College 2015 Fall Commencement alum speaker Daniel Reichwein is an example of courage and perseverance for all of us.

Reichwein, who has battled depression and PTSD, was living in a tent in a wooded area adjacent to the Fredericksburg Industrial Park when he enrolled at GCC in 2011.

In spite of the problems he faced, Reichwein excelled, graduating from Germanna a year later with a 3.94 GPA while working 32 hours a week. He transferred to William & Mary and earned his bachelor’s degree there last August. He’s currently a social worker with the Salvation Army in Fredericksburg, using his experiences to help others.

A total of 646 students were awarded 1,112 degrees and certificates Thursday night during commencement exercises at the Fredericksburg Expo Center.

The 32-year-old Thornburg resident’s never-give-up message is one that failure needn’t be the end—that it can drive one on to success.

“I was ready to change,” he said. “I had been homeless almost three years. I had to start doing things differently. I worked hard to do it and I received help from others.”
Daniel Reichwein speaks at Thursday's commencement
He said Micah Ministries, which works with the homeless in Fredericksburg, helped him get a part time job and suggested he enroll at GCC. One of Micah’s employees drove him to the college.

Another Micah employee, Dawn Witter, took him in.

“She opened her home to me,” Reichwein said. “I’m not sure I would’ve been able to finish my studies at Germanna if I’d lived out of a tent for two semesters.”

He called his three years of homelessness “a learning experience” and said much of what he learned came when he put aside his own concerns to help other homeless people.

“What’s made the biggest difference in my life is failure—three years of homelessness, dropping out of college without finishing and being discharged from the military basically for not showing up for work,” Reichwein told a crowd of 2,000 Thursday night at the Fredericksburg Expo Center.He was given an honorary discharge as an Army Reservist due to depression.

“Failure drives success,’ he said. "Failure strengthens us. I teaches us. It enables us to change.

Daniel Reichwein and Thursday's crowd

“From my failures, I gained strength, altruism, empathy for others. I learned to finish what I start. And I learned that past failures can lead to new successes.”

The second crucial component in changing his life was tenacity, he said.

“Nobody is going to give you anything in life. You need to earn what you receive, to continue to strive and never accept defeat. You’re better than your past failures and you’re more capable than you think.”

After graduating from William & Mary, he said, “I thought things would be easy.” But a job offer in Washington fell through and he nearly found himself homeless again.

“Things worked out and I was able to get a job as a social worker here in town with the Salvation Army. I’ve learned to relish the good moments while I pursue the longer term goals I have.”

“You’re better than your past failures,” he told the crowd Thursday night. “You’re more capable than others think. Know that you were meant to make a difference in this world, regardless of where you come from.”

Finally, he learned that satisfaction and a sense of completeness must be derived from within oneself.

“For years I chased externally derived fulfillment,” based on earning others’ praise [or the idea of becoming affluent]. This led me nowhere… It only led to being unhappy and depressed

“I’m in charge of my own dreams now,” he said. “And I’m just getting started. And so are you.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Get ready for the new Germanna website!

The Office of Marketing and Public Information will launch the newly redesigned Germanna website on Friday morning, Dec. 18th. This new design will be accompanied by a switch to a new content management system for the site. The nine-month redesign and migration project brought together content experts across the college in effort to improve the student experience online.

On the new home page, you’ll see minimalist, responsive design and navigation features such as new graphics, simplified menus, and new sliders highlighting Germanna services, announcements and upcoming events.

Marketing will swap out the Germanna website at 8 a.m. on Friday, December 18th. The website will be down for several hours during this process. In addition, the Google Search feature will not work completely for 24 to 48 hours after the site goes live. Google needs time to pass over our entire new website.

During the switch, services such as myGCC, Blackboard, Germanna Central, and Outlook 365 will remain available via the links below.

After the new site goes live, if you notice that something is missing please contact and we will find it for you and make it accessible to you. We hope you are excited by the new look and functionality of the Germanna website!


myGCC (Blackboard, SIS, gmail, HRMS):

Germanna Central:

Outlook Web Access:


Monday, November 9, 2015

Germanna president nominated for literary prize

Germanna Community College President David A. Sam has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.
A number of nominees will be selected for publication in the annual collection titled, "The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses," and one will be chosen for the prize.
Sam was nominated for his poem, “Taconic Orogeny,” published this fall in the Vine Leaves Literary Journal.
Previous winners of the award, first given in 1976, include Joyce Carol Oates at an early stage in her writing career.
“I am pleased and honored that the editors thought highly of my poem,” Sam said.
Sam, the author of "Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves," a semi-autobiographical 2014 book of poems, was born and spent his early childhood in McKeesport, Pa., a coal and steel suburb of Pittsburgh. Later, his family relocated with his father’s factory to Belleville, Mich., a Detroit exurb. Much of his childhood was passed exploring railroad tracks, woods, lakes, and rural farm fields, and they were the source of much imagery in his poetry. 
He's a grandchild of immigrants and a first-generation college student.
Profits from sales of "Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves" go to the Germanna Educational Foundation.
Sam is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University. He has taught creative writing, English literature, and composition at EMU, Marygrove College, Oakland Community College, and Pensacola State College.
Sam has written poetry for 40 years and has two published collections, the other being "Dark Land, White Light," published in 1971.
He's also been published in Carbon Culture Review, The Crucible, The Flagler Review, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Summerset Review, The Birds We Pile Loosely, and Literature Today.
Sam lives in Culpeper with his wife, Linda.

From the Pushcart Press website:

Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in our annual collections. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series. Every volume contains an index of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses with addresses.

The Pushcart Prize has been a labor of love and independent spirits since its founding. It is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60's and 70's.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Happy 240th birthday, Marine Corps!

On Nov. 10, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of two battalions of Marines to serve on the frigates of the fledgling American Navy.  This birthday is celebrated each year around the world at Marine Corps installations and anywhere Marines are serving with a cake-cutting ceremony on that date to honor the memory and sacrifice of generations of Marines who have served and continue to serve our nation. 
Join the Veteran Affairs Center as Germanna Community College celebrates this 240th birthday with a cake-cutting at noon, Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the second floor lobby of the Dickinson Building on the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Germanna, VDOT partnering to improve Virginia's roads

Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney announced the establishment of the Virginia Education Center for Asphalt Technology (VECAT) during a press conference on Monday, Oct. 5 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Germanna's Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper
 will be at the center of the new VECAT training  program.

The statewide effort involves a partnership of The Virginia Asphalt Association, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Virginia Community College System, led by Germanna Community College's Center for Workforce in Culpeper.
“Whether you’re in Abingdon or Arlington, students will now have the ability to further their careers in one of Virginia’s key industries,” Stoney said. “The efforts of this partnership will send a signal to all our competitors that we know what it takes to continue building the new Virginia economy."
VDOT, the VAA and Germanna are partnering on changes to the asphalt-related materials certification classes, the initiation of an asphalt technologist apprenticeship program and eventually an asphalt technologist associate’s degree. 
Germanna will offer training at its Joseph R. Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper beginning in 2017. Much of the training will be available via online classes, but students will be required to take part in labs on site. Several other VCCS schools will be involved in offering labs in order to make the training more accessible. The other VCCS sites have not been set yet.
VDOT's Charlie Kilpatrick with Germanna's Jeanne Wesley,
Martha Okeefe and Ben Sherman

The effort will be focused at Germanna with changes to the asphalt-related materials certification classes, the initiation of an asphalt technologist apprenticeship program and eventually asphalt technologist associate’s degree.

Germanna will offer training at its Joseph R. Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper beginning in 2017. Much of the training will be available via online classes, but students will be required to take part in labs on site. Several other VCCS schools will be involved in offering labs in order to make the training more accessible. The other VCCS sites have not been set yet.
The asphalt business is a key industry in Virginia.
  •   Virginia has the third largest state maintained highway system in the United States
  •    The Commonwealth spends billions of dollars each year on its highways
  •     Virginia’s asphalt industry has 50 different companies with more than 130 plants, employing over 10,000 people throughout the Commonwealth
  •    The industry contributes nearly $2 billion to the Virginia economy each year

Germanna President David A. Sam, (center) at VECAT launch.

The partnership will support business growth and jobs creation, increased competitiveness for Virginia’s asphalt industry, continuing education for changing materials and practices and create a supply chain to replace retiring workers. This will be accomplished through entry level to advanced training, stackable credentials, an apprenticeship program and the development of a pathway to an associate degree.

Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick said: “each year VDOT invests over $500 million in asphalt paving through new construction and maintenance. With this large investment, it is imperative the individuals involved with the design, production, placement and acceptance of asphalt materials are effectively trained to perform the monumental task of constructing and maintaining Virginia’s roads.” 

“New technologies, innovations in construction practices and changing materials usage are leading to increased sustainability and cost savings,” Richard Schreck, Executive Vice President of the Virginia Asphalt Association said. “But putting these innovations into practice requires the sort of focused training and education that VECAT will provide, deploying research, innovation and best practices to the benefit of taxpayers and the driving public.”

Amy Martin, National Director for the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, recognizes the pressing need for skilled labor in the road construction industry, both today and in the future. “With over 100,000 lane miles in the Commonwealth, having quality labor to support construction, maintenance and inspection of the roadway system is of vital importance. We hope this sets a precedent other states will follow.”

 “Germanna is pleased to partner with the Virginia Asphalt Association in developing these vital certifications and apprenticeships,” GCC President David A. Sam said. “The Commonwealth needs people with the skills to pave, inspect and repair our roadways. And citizens of Virginia need well-paid jobs that make a difference. Our work together in developing these programs helps to close that skills gap and make for a better Virginia.”

Training will be available for:
  •  Asphalt production facilities occupations: plant operators, plant technicians, laboratory technicians and asphalt mix designers
  •  Asphalt placement site occupations: asphalt paving foreman, asphalt paving crew, asphalt paving superintendent, and density technician
  •  Transportation agencies occupations: project manager, project engineer, project inspector, plant inspector, asphalt lab technician, asphalt mix designer/certifier
  •  Consulting industry occupations: project engineer, project inspector, asphalt lab technician, and asphalt mix designer/certifier.

Germanna launching drone training for commercial applications

Michael Zitz
Director of Media & Community Relations
Germanna Community College

Ben Sherman
Business & Career Coordinator
Germanna Community College
540/937-2901 (office)
540/661-8291 (cell)


Business drone use is a trend that isn’t likely to fade away. Current commercial uses for unmanned aerial vehicles include the monitoring of agricultural crops, photographing real estate and managing wildlife. Among those in the works are Amazon’s plans to use drones for deliveries. There has also been discussion of using solar-powered drones capable of remaining aloft indefinitely to beam WiFi signals to the ground to provide sparsely populated areas with Internet access.

A drone in flight during a demonstration outside
 Germanna's Daniel Technology Center in  Culpeper.

According to Fortune magazine, by July of 2015, there were over 500 businesses in the U.S. cleared by the FAA to operate drones for commercial purposes.

An industry study recently predicted that by the year 2025, the commercial use of drones could add $82 billion and 100,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

Locally, Germanna Community College will begin using drone flyovers to help Cedar Mountain Stone monitor progress at its Mitchells Quarry. The first flyover, on a date yet to be determined in late October, will take place during a blast at the quarry.

According to Ben Sherman, a Germanna Center for Workforce Business & Career Coordinator based at the GCC Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper, the drones will be doing aerial photography for photogrammetry and using two-dimensional photos to make a 3D point cloud to model progress at the quarry. The goal will be to determine the amount of stone removed. This will allow Cedar Mountain Corporation to more closely monitor the amount of material being extracted from and ultimately sold by the quarry.

This will be part of a new Germanna Community College Center for Workforce program at the Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper focusing on drone training for commercial applications.

Students will learn how to maintain drones and how the actual programming works—how to download information and process it, as well as the necessary flying skills, Sherman said.

The FAA is expected to require increasing levels of training and certification for those who fly drones for commercial use to earn certification, due to safety concerns.

Germanna had already been providing classes primarily for drone hobbyists, including basic flight training and even teaching middle school children to build their own drones using a 3D printer.

“Now we’re going into business and construction applications,” Sherman said.

He said Germanna’s Center for Workforce is prepared to help local businesses navigate evolving  federal and state drone regulations.


GCC accepting applications for All-USA Academic Team

Dear Students,

Germanna Community College is seeking outstanding student leaders from our college to apply for the All-USA Community College Academic Team and the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Programs sponsored by USA TODAY, Follett Higher Education Group, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, AACC and Phi Theta Kappa. Recipients will be awarded nearly $400,000 in scholarships, will be featured in USA TODAY, and will be recognized at AACC’s Convention in Chicago, IL in April. We have the opportunity to nominate up to two students per campus to participate in this competition, and our college has the opportunity to receive national press recognition should one of our nominees be identified as a scholar.
In addition to recognition by USA TODAY, Follett, and Coca-Cola, nominees to these programs are recognized in All-State Academic Team programs held in 38 states. All-State Team programs may offer students academic scholarships, stipends, newspaper coverage, medallions and/or certificates. By nominating students to the All-USA Community College Academic Team national program, we are able to provide additional scholarship opportunities for nominees to which they would otherwise not have access.
At this time, we are seeking qualified applications. In selecting nominees to represent our institution, we ask you to consider the eligibility criteria to determine if you might be a good fit for the scholarship. The scholarships look to award students with outstanding academic rigor and grade point averages; participation in honors programs; awards, honors, and recognition for academic achievement, and service to the college and community.
In addition, the focal point of the application is the essay. This should center around one endeavor undertaken by the student that utilized their community college education to improve their respective community or college. Judges look for innovative, creative, original and lasting achievements or undertakings.
For more information about the scholarships available, or to apply, please visit
Preliminary applications (with at least the first 6 tabs completed) must be submitted no later than Monday, November 2, 2015. After all applications have been received, applicants selected as one of the four Germanna nominees will be notified.
Completed final applications (all tabs completed including Essays and Recommender Assessments) by the selected nominees must be completed and submitted to PTK by Monday November 30, 2015.


Rebecca Morris