Monday, August 24, 2015

New Career and Transfer Center making sure students on right path

The counselors in Germanna’s new Career and Transfer Center have a question for GCC students:

“Do you know what you want to study and do you know where you want to transfer?”

Marie Hawley and Sheryl Williamson want to make sure students are on the right path--that there are as few missteps as possible. Missteps can be costly both in terms of time and money, they say, slowing students on their way to degrees and costing thousands of dollars in extra tuition and lost earnings. 

Career Counselor Hawley says of the new Center:
“This is an opportunity for students to really put together their career interests, things they’d like to study and make sure the pieces fit together to transfer for a bachelor’s degree.”

 Hawley said that when it comes to certain programs at universities where Germanna has a guaranteed transfer agreement, “we have to inform [students] that you cannot just do general studies and transfer--you need a degree focus.”

For example, she said, Germanna may have a guaranteed transfer agreement with a university, but not guaranteed entry into its business school without certain prerequisites.

Transfer Counselor Sheryl Williamson said: “We try to encourage students to look ahead. … What sometimes happens is that student graduates with that mentality transfer, they are then faced with taking additional math classes.”

“Or not admitted to the program,” Hawley said. “But if you prepare properly, you can align yourself.”

 “If you start at a four-year school, you have to declare a major by your junior year,” Williamson pointed out, adding that Germanna students should be thinking about that major before they transfer.

“The sooner you know where you want to go and what you want to do, the sooner you can match up your course work so it transfers more seamlessly,” Hawley said.

The Career and Transfer Center also offers assessments through the Virginia Education Wizard, counseling and information sessions and workshops in resume writing and mock job interviews. It also brings representatives from over 40 colleges and universities on campus as part of an annual College Fair. This year’s event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Daniel Center in Culpeper and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.

The Center also offers resources “to help identify career paths students may not even know exist,” Hawley said.
It also helps connect students and employers for internships.
Williamson and Hawley have over 50 years of combined experience in education.

The Career and Transfer Center is located in room 228 of the Dickinson Building at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.
The Center phone number is 540/834-1841.
Email addresses for the Center:
Career Counselor Marie Hawley
Transfer Counselor Sheryl Williamson
Sabrina Dunaway

Career and Transfer Center's Sheryl Williamson and Marie Hawley

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Germanna announces faculty Learning Environment Award winners

Germanna Community College has announced its Spring 2015 faculty Learning Environment Award winners.
The awards recognize extraordinary and exemplary contributions to the learning environment by fulltime teaching faculty in one or more of the following areas: Teaching, Scholarly and Creative Engagement, Institutional Responsibility, and Service to the college or the community.

Winners of Learning Environment Awards for Spring 2015
Vanessa Sekinger
Kelley Lloyd
April Morgan
Leigh Hancock
Patricia Parker
Mike Read
Carolyn Pevey
Carrie Lowry
Brenda Robinson
Jean Lauzon
Eric Vanover
David Marsich
Brent Wilson
Wen Maier
Angela Sheaffer
Camille Mustachio
Jerry Miller
Diane Merkel
Brenda Dixon
Marie Messier
Jamie Lennahan
John Stroffolino
Gayle Wolfe
Monique Lewis
Kellie Bradshaw
Gretchen Warren
Julie Fasano
Jessica Matheson
Maury Wrightson
Shawn Shields-Maxwell

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Germanna helping vets through mentorships and credit for life experience

Bill Anderson


Germanna Community College is one of five Virginia Community College System schools at which veteran students will benefit from a U.S. Department of Labor grant.

GCC has received $150,000 earmarked to provide veterans with community college credits for past military service and training and to establish a mentoring program for vets that will help pair them up with business leaders in the area.
Bob Dixon, who heads the veterans program at Germanna, said the move answers the question, “When am I gonna get more credit for all this good stuff I did in the service?”

He said said the grant has allowed Germanna to hire two part time employees to assist in this effort.

“These people will provide increased capacity to serve our veteran students,” Dixon said. “I’m excited about the mentoring in particular.”

He said this is a pilot program, but he hopes it becomes “a sustained effort.”

 Virginia’s veteran population is growing. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the commonwealth will be home to nearly 850,000 veterans by the year 2017.

Dixon says over 500 Germanna students have declared themselves as veterans as G.I. Bill users and that “the actual number is always higher than that.” He said the number is growing steadily from semester to semester.
Allie Dudley

Allie Dudley, GCC's Advanced Standing Counselor, will help veteran students get the academic credits earned through experience, and William T. Anderson, veterans mentor supervisor, will enlist

“I’m excited about the mentoring piece in particular,” Dixon said. “Our plan is to help student vets early in their academic careers to engage people in the community who will remove barriers and give real world advice on what to study and how to break into careers.”

William T. Anderson, a retired Marine Corps colonel, will work for Dr. Sarah Somerville, head of counseling at the Locust Grove Campus, but will be based in Dickinson Building room 108A at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania. He will also work with Marie Hawley of the GCC new Career & Transfer Center.

Anderson spent 33 years with the Marine Corps and Department of Defense as a lawyer and 18 years working for NATO in Europe. Since 2010, he has been an adjunct faculty member at the Command and Staff College Distance Education Program of the Marine Corps University.

Students in the program will meet with their mentors twice a month and attend related events and social gatherings.  The program runs for one academic year, from August to May.  Students may withdraw from the program at anytime. 

Anderson is an expert and published author on the Marine Corps in World War I.

Dudley, Germanna’s Advanced Standing Counselor, will be able to help more veterans thanks to the grant.

She’s a U.S. Army spouse who has worked at an American military installation in Italy advising vets and their families.
She said military experience, other past work experience and certifications can translate into college credit. Combined with College Level Examination Program credit and the option of taking courses online, vets should find the idea of going back to school less daunting.

To learn more, contact Anderson at or 540/891-3023 and Allie Dudley at or 540/834-1057.