Sunday, August 31, 2014

Culpeper, Germanna talk about the future

Dozens of Culpeper leaders from the fields of business, education and politics met last week with Germanna Community College officials incuding GCC President David A. Sam during a “visioning” session at the Daniel Technology Center to discuss a wish list of things they’d like from the college in the future.
Germanna Dean of Professional and Technical Studies Denise Guest writes suggestions gathered during a Culpeper Visioning Session  at GCC's Daniel Technology Center.
Germanna Dean of Professional and Technical Studies Denise Guest writes suggestions gathered during a Culpeper Visioning Session at GCC’s Daniel Technology Center.
In essence, they want Germanna to help them build a  future Culpeper where good careers that pay well allow their children and grandchildren to stay and raise their own families.
Germanna President David A. Sam talks with Culpeper leaders about the county's future
Germanna President David A. Sam talks with Culpeper leaders about the county’s future
Among the things mentioned as possibilities:
• An increasing selection of Dual Enrollment classes, which allow students to earn transferrable college credit at their high schools—in some cases getting their associate’s degree before graduating from high school
• An elderhostel
• Agricultural technology.
• Nanotechnology
• Expanded workforce training partnerships
• Transportation to the college
• More apprenticeships
• Expansion of partnerships with public schools
• More campus life to attract traditional students
• Increasing support for entrepreneurism

Monday, August 25, 2014

Germanna Scholars Program launched at Daniel Technology Center

Germanna Community College launched its Germanna Scholars Program at GCC’s Daniel Center in Culpeper Friday.
Twenty-four students from Eastern View and Culpeper County high schools began their studies at Germanna.
 They’ll be able to earn associate’s degrees in May 2016, the month before they graduate from high school, through a combination of Dual Enrollment and co-enrollment classes taught by Germanna faculty members. Students in the program earn credit for classes that may be transferred to four-year colleges and universities.

 “Sounded like a pretty darn good idea,” said Brett Leake, a junior at Eastern View whose mother Sharon is a nursing faculty member at GCC.
 “I’m kind of excited to get my associate’s degree and graduate while I’m still in high school,” said Travis Jackson, another junior at Eastern View.
They’ll be able to accomplish this entirely at Germanna’s Joseph R. Daniel Technology Center, without leaving Culpeper County. They’re bused from their high schools to the Daniel Center in the morning, then back for afternoon classes at Culpeper and Eastern View.
 “We have an excellent group for our first Germanna Scholars cohort” said Germanna Dean of Student Development Pam Frederick. “I’m very impressed. They’re intelligent, motivated and well prepared.” 
The program begins with this group of 25 students. Plans are for a second 25 to enter the program in August 2015.

Germanna’s tuition, currently $139 per credit hour, is one third to half that of a typical four-year college, so families of students working toward a bachelor’s degree often see substantial savings.
 The Culpeper County Public Schools identified eligible students based on financial need and submitted those lists to the GCC Education Foundation. Eligible students receive financial assistance towards their tuition, fees, and books, in accordance with available funds.
Otherwise, participating students will pay the tuition and fees set for Germanna by the State Board for Community Colleges. The high schools will collect the tuition and fees from the students and the college will bill the schools on a semester basis.
The college will provide Culpeper County Public School officials with progress reports on each student. At the conclusion of each college academic term, the student will receive a college grade for each course in which he or she was registered and such grades will become part of the student's permanent college record.
The Germanna Scholars class of 2016:

Geri Lynn Beamer
Jennifer Elizabeth Bosserman
Emily Caroline Boutchyard
Wyatt Richard Coughlin
Brianna Nicole Deleon
Wiliiam Jeffrey Dietz
Alexis Brianna Green
Hadiya Nicole Hairston
Emily Rose Henderliter
Tramayne Rachell Huguely
Travis Eugene Jackson
Austin Troy Kauffmann
Rachel Elizabeth Kidwell
Brett Austen Leake
David William Nichols III
Maya Robyn Perez
Katherine Aileen Portillo
Emily Elizabeth Ray
Jessica Nicole Ritz
Teneshia Renae Robinson
Esther Afi Sewordor
Noah Linn Shealy
Rachel Katharine Smith
Matthew Owen Wall

Monday, August 18, 2014

Venture capitalist enthused about Startup Weekend Fredericksburg

Ideas are everywhere, nationally known venture capitalist Jonathon Perrelli said during a visit to  Germanna Community College’s Center for Workforce & Community Education last week.
“I hate to say they’re worthless, but they’re worth less than an MVP—a minimum viable product … to create something, even if it’s just a concept put on paper to be able to show people and ask, “If I had this, would you use it?”
Jonathon Perrelli
Jonathon Perrelli
Perrelli, managing director of Fortfy Ventures, an early stage technology investment firm., praised the work Germanna is doing with FredXchange to create a climate conducive to a startup culture.
“It’a amazing what's happened in Fredericksburg,” Perrelli said. He said Germanna Vice President for Workforce Jeanne Wesley’s “open door policy” has helped the local entrepreneurial ecosystem thrive.
“The willingness Germanna has for them to come here and host events is unusual--it doesn’t happen everywhere,” Perrelli said.
He said Germanna, working with local startup leaders including Christine Goodwin, Matt Armstrong and Matt Norris, has “provided a platform for the startup ecosystem here that’s incredible.”
With FredXchange, Germanna’s Center for Workforce will host the third Startup Weekend Fredericksburg Sept. 26-28 at GCC’s Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.

Former Germanna President Frank Turnage honored

Germanna Community College President Emeritus Frank Turnage received the Orange County Education Foundation ‘s Lifetime Contribution Award Sunday at Montpelier.
Germanna President David Sam, Dean Pam Frederick and former GCC President Frank Turnage. Turnage was honored by the Orange County Educational Foundation Sunday an Montpelier.
Germanna President David Sam, Dean Pam Frederick and former GCC President Frank Turnage. Turnage was honored by the Orange County Educational Foundation Sunday an Montpelier.
Turnage was president of Germanna for over 20 years.
Current GCC President David A. Sam told the crowd at Montpelier that it was tough  succeeding Turnage, whom he called “a great college president and a very gracious southern gentleman.”
“It’s much easier to succeed a lousy president,” Sam joked. “Following someone who was in many ways a local legend was a challenge.”
Because of  Turnage’s leadership, Sam said, Germanna grew to become the seventh largest community college in Virginia, expanding from its original Locust Grove Campus location to Spotsylvania and Culpeper counties.
Frank Turnage accepts OCEF Lifetime Contribution Award
Frank Turnage accepts OCEF Lifetime Contribution Award
Turnage responded to Sam: “I think we did OK. However, I need to say I couldn’t be happier over your accomplishments at Germanna. When I read about Germanna in the newspaper and all the great things that are coming along I have to be grateful to you professionally and personally.”
In 2006, the Virginia State Senate passed a resolution agreed to by the House of Delegates commending Turnage for guiding Germanna, “from a small, remote community college to an influential educational force in the region by providing workforce development and the opportunity of higher education to all of the residents of the community.”
The same year, a Free Lance-Star editorial about his retirement said Turnage:
“looked at the employers in the community and saw how Germanna could help them train their workers. He gazed west, toward the businesses in the Route 29 corridor, and saw the need for technology education. He recognized the shortage of health-care workers and joined a statewide task force on nursing education to help community colleges alleviate it.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Germanna, UMW agreements provide new pathway to BSN degree

Germanna Community College and the University of Mary Washington have signed three transfer and co-enrollment agreements that provide a new, easier path to a BSN.
Click here for video from the signing, which took place Monday, Aug. 11 at UMW's Stafford Campus.

UMW President Rick Hurley and GCC President David Sam talk
after signing agreements to provide a new pathway to BSN degrees.

"It's a great day to be a nurse in the Fredericksburg area,” said Patti Lisk, Dean of Nursing at Germanna.   “These agreements are pivotal to meeting the Institute of Medicine’s 2020 goal of 80 percent of baccalaureate prepared nurses in our area.”--Fredericksburg Today

Friday, August 8, 2014

Germanna president's new book raising funds for GCC Educational Foundation

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.

Germanna Community College President Davis Sam’s “Memories in Clay, Dreams of Wolves,” is 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 semi-autobiographical poetry about a boyhood and adult life lived in conversation with nature. In this volume, Sam describes a life shaped by his youth in Pennsylvania and Michigan and his journey by thumb through the Pacific Northwest. The imprint of these experiences molds his ecological holism and sense of the holiness of the commonplace and of all life.

Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation.

Sam has a reading and signing set for 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 at The Arts Center in Orange.

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, MI, 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.

He has offices at Germanna’s original campus in Locust Grove and at GCC’s Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsyvania.

The book is on sale via, at The Griffin Bookstore & Coffee Bar in Fredericksburg and at the Germanna Bookstore.

Germanna's Welcome Day orientation set for Aug. 16

Germanna Community College's Welcome Day orientation for new students and their families is set for Saturday, Aug. 16.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GCC engineering student invents device to help vision-impaired children--wants to give it away

A 2014 Germanna Community College engineering grad headed for Virginia Tech this fall has invented a device to help visually impaired children learn shapes and colors and he wants to give it to teachers and students for free.
Germanna student  Reuben Strangelove explains the Color Creator to the GCC Local College Board.
Germanna student Reuben Strangelove explains the Color Creator to the GCC Local College Board.
The Color Creator is a high contrast tool for teachers working with the blind and visually impaired, said GCC grad Reuben Strangelove of Spotsylvania County.
He said it serves two purposes--one as a functional assessment tool and another as a high contrast education platform.
The device is about the size of an iPad. It has an 8-inch by 6-inch screen, is 10 inches by 10 inches overall and weighs about a pound. It has tactile color controls and andio feedback with an onboard speaker and headphone jack, as well as an external keypad with braille markings.

Strangelove said making the device sleek and tablet-like is important, because if it was bulky, having it on their desks would make visually impaired students more self conscious in a classroom setting.
“Other machines are the size of the desk,” said Noelle Davoy, who teaches low vision students full time in the King George County school system. "They’re already self-conscious enough having to use bifocals and magnifying glasses.”
“This is cool,” Davoy said. “It’s like pulling out the iPad all the kids want to bring to school.  It makes the vision impaired kids feel better about it."
Davoy has used the Color Creator, which is also more versatile in providing color options,  trying it first to help a 10-year-old boy in King George.
“Sometimes its hard for us to tell what they can see at all and how far away they can see things from," she said. “They start recognizing colors and objects.” She said the latter is “always an amazing thing to have happen.”
“I can put a toothbrush or a bowl on top of it to enhance the shape and they learn to identify the specific shapes that go with those things--things that their peers in preschool get so quickly because they can see it,” Davoy said.  “And you’d be surprised what they can see once they understand the shapes of what they’re looking at.”
Strangelove said the originally intended purpose was solely as to provide an aid for teachers of the blind and visually impaired, “but I don’t see why parents couldn’t use it as well.”
A lesson plan has been developed to be distributed with the device as a booklet, Strangelove said.
The next step is finding sponsors to allow Strangelove and Germanna engineering students to build at least 10 units to be distributed to local teachers of the visually impaired free of charge, he said. Each unit will cost $90 to build, he said, adding that Germanna students will construct the units on a volunteer basis so they can acquire practical, hands-on experience. And the devices would be given away to teachers and students.
“The hope is it will give [the Germanna students] a sense of accomplishment through community service,” said Strangelove, who was part of a GCC engineering student team that bested Yale and over a dozen other major colleges in a contest to design and fly an unmanned aerial vehicle last spring working with Prof. Davyda Hammond.
If he can find sponsors for the Color Creator, the device may do a lot more than provide Germanna students with a sense of accomplishment.
For more information, go to

UMW-Germanna agreement to ease path to BSN

An agreement between the University of Mary Washington and Germanna will make it easier to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing:
A Germanna nursing student works with a human simulator
in GCC's Virtual Hospital,