Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting to Know: Sandra Haynes, Student Success Coach


Germanna Community College has launched a new Student Success Coach Program. The coaches will stay with students all the way through their time at Germanna, giving them the help they need to succeed in college and in life.
Sandra Haynes

We'll meet each of the coaches in a series of Q&A profiles--Student Success Coach Sandra Haynes works with students at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.

· Where are you from?
I am from Maryland, but have lived in the Fredericksburg area most of my life.

 Where did you go to high school and college?
James Monroe High School.
Germanna Community College--General Studies, and Paraprofessional Counseling Certificate.
University of Richmond--Liberal Arts, B.A.
Liberty University--Human Services-Counseling, M.A.

 How long have you worked at Germanna?
I have worked at Germanna over three years.

What do you like about working at Germanna? About being a Student Success Coach?
I like working with students. As a Student Success Coach I am able to work with students one on one in assisting them in reaching their academic goals.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Staying away from all the candy and treats the other coaches bring in to share.

What’s your advice for Germanna students?
Be patient with yourself and stay focused. Keep your eyes on the prize.

 For students graduating from high school and thinking about college?
Stay in school! It is easier to stay in school then to have to go after you have a family and other adult responsibilities.

 For older students thinking about returning to college?
Breathe and be patient with yourself. You can do it. Make sure you keep an appointment book.

· What misconception does the public have about community colleges and community college students?
Some may think students will not get as good an education from community college as they will from a university. That's not true. Community college offers a great education, it’s affordable, and it’s easy to transfer to a four year college when you complete your associate’s degree.

Are you married? Do you have children?
I am divorced and have two great boys.

 Fun fact about you?
I am a “tomboy” at heart. For example, I enjoy riding dirt bikes, four wheelers and target practicing.

What’s your favorite book?
“The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino.

Your favorite movie?

“Pay it Forward”

 Your favorite TV show?

“The Big Bang Theory”

Your favorite sport and team?
College football--Liberty Flames and University of Richmond Spiders.

























Sunday, November 23, 2014

Get your Refund2Card today



Germanna Community College is launching its Refund2Card program on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.
Sign up now and your financial aid disbursements and certain tuition refunds fast.
Use the card at retail stores and ATMs.
Learn more here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting to Know: Student Success Coach Jennifer Lawrence

Germanna Community College has launched a Student Success Coach Program. The coaches stay with students from enrollment through graduation, giving them the help they need to succeed in college and in life.
GCC Student Success Coach Jennifer Lawrence
GCC Student Success Coach Jennifer Lawrence

We’ll meet each of the coaches in a series of Q&A profile—Jennifer Lawrence works with students at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.
  • Where are you from?


I'm from Varina, Virginia.  I live in Spotsylvania County near the Fredericksburg Area Campus.

  • Where did you go to high school and college and what degrees do you have?

I graduated from Varina High School.  I also graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor in psychology, the College of William and Mary with a master in higher education administration, and Virginia Commonwealth University with a master in rehabilitation counseling.

  • How long have you worked at Germanna?

I have worked at Germanna for two and a half months.

  • What do you like about working at Germanna? About being a Student Success Coach?

I enjoy working with students from diverse backgrounds.  I look forward to meeting with students to learn about their strengths and assist them with planning for their futures.
 As a student success coach, I hope to continue to empower students to make decisions that will have a positive impact in their lives and to prepare themselves for things that lie ahead.

  • What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?

I hope that students will begin to use their emails as an additional resource to learn about important information and events.

  • What’s your advice for Germanna students?

The college has supportive faculty and staff that really want to see you succeed and are willing to help you reach your goals.  Take advantage of the various resources that you have at your fingertips.  Make the best out of this experience and learn as much as you can.

  • For students graduating from high school and thinking about college?

College is a great place to learn more about your individuality, focus on your academic interests, discover and work toward your career goals, and improve your social awareness.

  • For older students thinking about returning to college?

Reflection about the accomplishments that you have made can be uplifting.  Making goals to set standards for your future can improve your self-awareness of things that you would like to accomplish.

  • What misconception does the public have about community colleges and community college students?

I have heard some feedback that community college is not as “rigorous” as a four-year college or university. However, community college is a “real” college that encourages in-depth learning of different subjects and provides strong support for that learning.

  • Are you married and do you have children?

I'm married and have one child.

  • Fun fact about you?

My favorite theme park is the Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla.

  • What’s your favorite book?

One of my favorite books is “A Hand to Guide Me” by Denzel Washington.

My favorite poem is “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

  • Your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is “The Sound of Music.”

  • Your favorite TV show?

My favorite TV show is “Law and Order.”
  • Your favorite sport and team?


I do not have a favorite sport or team.  I do enjoy watching basketball.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dr. Sam delves into his 'Dreams of Wolves' Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Griffin


Is there a gene for compassion? Or is it learned–developed by a series of experiences as we grow up?
It seems likely that both nature and nurture come into play.
David Sam's new book is semi-autobiographical poetry
David Sam’s new book is semi-autobiographical poetry
Germanna Community College President David Sam’s “Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves” is an honest and powerful book that provides a compelling window into the development of the heart and mind of a man who has devoted his life to helping those unlucky through no fault of their own.
“Die when I may,” Abraham Lincoln wrote to a friend, “I want it said of me by those who know me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower when I thought a flower would grow.”
“Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves” gathers poetry about a boyhood and adult life lived in conversation with nature. Sam describes a life shaped by his youth in Pennsylvania and Michigan and his journey by thumb through the Pacific Northwest.
“The are semi-autobiographical–which means I allow myself to lie if it makes for a better poem,” Sam quips.
Profits from the sale of the book go to the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation.
 Sam has a reading and signing set for 2 p.m.-4 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 15 at The Griffin Book Shop and Coffee Bar at 723 Caroline St. in downtown Fredericksburg. The book is available on Amazon.com, at The Griffin and at the Germanna Book Store.
BIO
Sam was born and spent his childhood in McKeesport, Penn., a coal and steel suburb of Pittsburgh. His home at the end of 36th Street abutted a woods, and the games he played on that street and the time he spent in those woods all influenced his poetry as well as his sense of the holistic ecology of all things. His neighborhood was filled with immigrants and children of immigrants, and his grandparents themselves came from Poland and Syria.
In 1961, the family moved with his father’s factory to Belleville, Mich., a far suburb of Detroit. Small town life near a lake and the rural farm fields and woods within a short walk along the railroad tracks often appear in the imagery and biography of his verse.
A first-generation college student and graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University, Sam has taught creative writing, English literature, and composition at EMU, Marygrove College, Oakland Community College, and Pensacola State College. He was partner/manager of Gondolier Music & Electronics from 1972-1985 in Belleville before moving into higher education as an administrator.
He and his his wife Linda live in Culpeper, still within sight of the eastern mountain chain. They have two children, Michelle and Ryan, and three grandchildren.

G.I. Bill enrollment climbing at Germanna

Bob Dixon, Germanna Community College Veterans Support Counselor, announced Tuesday that GCC has moved up from sixth to fourth among the 23 Virginia Community College System schools in terms of number of students enrolled through the G.I. Bill.
GCC Veterans Support Counselor Bob Dixon thanks veteran students for their service at a Germanna Veterans Day luncheon.
GCC Veterans Support Counselor Bob Dixon thanks veteran students for their service at a Germanna Veterans Day luncheon.
The total of 575 constitutes about 7 percent of Germanna’s for credit enrollment and about 10 percent of its full time equivalent enrollment.
During a Veterans Day Luncheon at Germanna’s Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania, Dixon said GCC’s welcoming attitude toward vets is making a difference.  Noting that veterans making the transition to civilian life sometimes feel uncomfortable going back to school. Army vet Dixon said, “We have a good [veterans support services] team that extends to caring faculty and staff who are doing a great job of making veterans feel they belong.”
He said that as the U.S. winds down involvement in Afghanistan, the number of veterans returning to college will continue to climb.
Germanna President David A. Sam, (left), told veteran students he's proud of them and of the sacrifices made by vets in his own family. At right is GCC Veterans Support Conselor Bob Dixon.
Germanna President David A. Sam, (left), told veteran students he’s proud of them and of the sacrifices made by vets in his own family. At right is GCC Veterans Support Conselor Bob Dixon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

GCC internship program making Javier Penzelina's dream a reality


Germanna internship program helping him find public service path

Since he was in the second grade, Javier Penzelina has had a dream.
Germanna Community College’s internship program is helping him make it a reality:
The 2008 Caroline High School graduate and resident of Ruther Glen knew he wanted to be involved in politics, but wasn’t sure what exactly he wanted to do or how to get his foot in the door..
Germanna's internship program has helped Javier Penzelina, pursue his dream of a career in public service
Germanna’s internship program has helped Javier Penzelina pursue his dream of a career in public service
Penzelina has been figuring it out with help from Cheri Ober, Germanna’s internship coordinator, who’s helped him land on Capitol Hill in the office of U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer and in Richmond on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s staff.
Working for Rep. Hoyer in Washington, he focused on issues of concern to fellow millenials.
In Richmond, he worked in constituent services.
With the governor’s office, “I was able to get a better understanding of how state politics work, “ Penzelina said.
In Washington, he said he was surprised  to see that politicians who seem to be bitter foes in the media are often friendly when they’re not in front of the cameras. Penzelina has been interested in politics since the second grade and “the 2008 presidential election confirmed my desire to pursue a career in government.”
As a result of his experience, he’s decided that “Ultimately, I’d like to run for public office.”
“Javier is focused and has a deep commitment to serve the American public,” Ober said. “I’m impressed with the sacrifices he has made to complete the two internships…  these opportunities gave him the fire to want to continue his education and succeed in a political career.”
Penzelina thanked Ober for her help and added that Caroline Maloney, his second-grade teacher at Ladysmith Elementary School, helped him see what was possible early in life.
“She encouraged me to reach for the highest level,” he said of Maloney. “She never placed a limit on how far I could go.”
“Cheri has been a great person in my corner,” Penzellna said.  He said she’s been working hard with him in an effort to land a White House internship.
Penzelina spent the early years of his life with his aunt and uncle in the northern part of the Bronx, in a neighborhood on 224th St.
“It was a diverse neighborhood and diversity was the pillar my upbringing was centered around,” he said. “When we moved to Virginia, we had to make the adjustment from a but city to a slower-paced rural area.”
Spending his formative years Virginia “has taught me more about myself,” he said,  “and it is why I want to give back in the best way I know how–public service.”
The interships forced Penzellna out of his comfort zone. He said he had to assert myself in intimidating situations, speaking up in meetings with high profile people.
He will graduate from Germanna in May and will study political science at UMW.
He said he’s glad he chose to start at GCC.
“The professors here do a really good job and they’re really friendly and cater to the needs of students here..”
“For me, Germanna made economic sense,” he said. “It cut my tuition in half. I’m debt free right now. When I graduate from UMW, I won’ t have the same debt as someone who went to a university for four years.”
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Germanna and I’m grateful for the internship opportunities,” he said. “I encourage other students to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

STEM careers not only for boys, Girl Scouts learn at GCC


Mirela Fetea, Ph.D., (right) answers questions from area Girl Scouts who participated in hands-on science workshops at Germanna Saturday.With her (background, l-r, are Trudy Witt, Ph.D. Prof. of Biology, GCC student Zilmara Montecinos Bonnet, Izabela Sikora, education technician wih the Tri-City Soil and Water Conservation Board,  JoAnn Schrass, Ph. D., Biology professor.)
Mirela Fetea, Ph.D., (right) answers questions from area Girl Scouts who participated in hands-on science workshops at Germanna Saturday.With her (background, l-r, are Trudy Witt, Ph.D. Prof. of Biology, GCC student Zilmara Montecinos Bonnet, Izabela Sikora, education technician wih the Tri-City Soil and Water Conservation Board, JoAnn Schrass, Ph. D., Biology professor.)
Fifty Girl Scouts from Fredericksburg and Stafford and Spotsylvania counties deconstructed electronic devices including computers, printers, smart phones and televisions and learned about physics and ecology during the first Girl Scout Science Day Saturday at Germanna Community College's Fredericksburg Campus in Spotsylvania.
Isabella Grasso of Girl Scout Troop 5214 takes part in a "Deconstruction" workshop during Girl Scout Science Day at Germanna Community College's Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania Saturday. participated in hands-on science workshops led by Germanna Community College faculty at the Fredericksburg Area Campus on Saturday, (Photos by Robert A. Martin)
Isabella Grasso of Girl Scout Troop 5214 takes part in a "Deconstruction" workshop during Girl Scout Science Day at Germanna Community College's Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania Saturday. participated in hands-on science workshops led by Germanna Community College faculty at the Fredericksburg Area Campus on Saturday, (Photos by Robert A. Martin)
During a panel discussion about women in science, Dr. Mirela Fetea, who teaches physics at Germanna, told the Girl Scouts not to worry about stereotyping that implies girls aren't suited to STEM careers.
"Just pursue your dreams," Fetea told the Girl Scouts. "If you want to stay home and raise your children, that's ok. But there's nothing wrong with chasing your dreams, whatever they are. Even if you are told you cannot do it. Show people you can."
Dr. Trudy Witt, who teaches biology at GCC, told the Girl Scouts not to be concerned about being pigeon-holed as a "nerd."
"I always remind people that nerds make more money," she said with a grin.
"It was pretty fun," 12-year-old Evelyn Pailthorpe of Stafford Troop 3546 said of the day.
"We're really excited about having the opportunity to get elementary school-aged girls thinking about careers in science," Witt said.
Germanna Biology Prof. Trudy Witt with local scouts
during Girl Scout Science Day at GCC.