Thursday, June 13, 2019

Reynolds Names Inaugural Dean of Enrollment

RICHMOND, Va. (June 13, 2019) – Reynolds Community College recently named Dr. Terricita Sass as its inaugural dean of enrollment. Dr. Sass currently serves as associate vice president for enrollment management at Southern Connecticut State University.

During her time at Southern, Dr. Sass served as a member of the university’s senior leadership team and was instrumental in enhancing the enrollment management division, growing transfer student admissions, and expanding student diversity. She was also influential in Southern receiving the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Shared Governance Award.

Reynolds President Dr. Paula Pando notes, “Providing access and opportunity to a high-quality, affordable education for our entire community is the highest institutional priority of this college. I am thrilled that Dr. Terricita Sass will bring her 25 years of executive level experience in enrollment management and recruitment to Reynolds. She is a student-centered, data-informed decision maker who will help Reynolds better serve our growing and changing region.”

Dr. Sass adds, “As the inaugural dean of enrollment, I am honored and excited to join President Pando and the cadre of professionals who have made it their life’s work to support students. Working with the staff, faculty, and community, I am committed to aggressively and strategically creating additional opportunities and successful outcomes for students, families, and employers of the Greater Richmond region.”

Dr. Sass holds a Ph.D in Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Enrollment Management from Capella University. She also holds degrees from Norfolk State University and Francis Marion University. She was previously recognized by the Connecticut State NAACP Chapter as one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut.”

Dr. Sass will start her position at Reynolds on July 10.

Save Big on Course Materials this Fall

 at Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores

Richmond, VA, 06/12/2019 – As Reynolds Community College students prepare for the start of another academic year, the Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstore teams are ready to support student success with a range of course material affordability options - including used books, text rental, digital content and price match.

As part of Follett's network of more than 1,200 campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores, Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores offers the largest inventory of used books in the industry as well as Follett's ever-growing text rental program. Students renting through the campus store can enjoy risk-free rental policies while saving up to 80 percent compared to purchasing new.

Follett's rental program saved students nationwide more than $239 million during the 2018-2019 academic year. These savings were made possible through campus store managers’ efforts to drive rental adoptions with faculty, the expansion of Follett’s national rental library (more than 27,000 titles were added), and giving professors the options to make their adopted titles rentable locally or by campus.

For students interested in exploring digital options, Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores offers a wide range of digital learning technologies including Follett's BryteWave digital textbook reader and study tool. Many digital titles provide anytime, anywhere access as well as varying discounts compared to purchasing new print materials.

"Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores are excited to help Reynolds Community College students save big this year. Our goal is to ensure each student has affordable access to their needed materials," said Lucy Jones, Reynolds Community College DTC Bookstore manager. "We’re focused on driving down student costs by providing a variety of format options and offering our popular price match program.”

Per Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores’ price match program, if students find course materials that they purchased at the campus store advertised at a lower price from a qualifying competitor, they are eligible to receive the difference in price from the campus store. This guarantees students get their materials at the lowest cost possible and allows them to apply price match funds to supplies or other needed materials.

For more information on price match or the various ways to save on course materials, simply drop by the Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores or go to

About Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores
Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores are solely devoted to serving the Reynolds Community College community – offering products and services to students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local Richmond community both in-store and online via Reynolds Community College Campus Bookstores are located at the Main Campus on Parham Rd. and the Downtown Campus on Jackson St. and they are open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday until 7:00 p.m. Stop in today to meet your DTC store manager, Lucy Jones and your Parham store manager, Larry Long.

About Follett Corporation |
Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of educational materials, digital content, eCommerce, and multi-media for libraries, schools and institutions. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools, and more than 2,700 physical locations, and campus eCommerce platforms in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett's reach also extends to the public library markets.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Doors Open

Starting a career? Restarting a career? Expanding your educational horizons? We are here for you. Since opening our doors in 1972 Reynolds Community College has ushered 22,571 students to the stage to receive their college degrees. Every year students like Katrina LaLuna "have doors opened they never imagined existed" until Reynolds advisors, faculty and staff showed them the way, and assured them their goals were possible. 

Here's what Katrina LaLuna had to say about her Reynolds experience.

My Reynolds Experience
Email from Katrina LaLuna
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Katrina LaLuna after 2019 graduation.
My name is Katrina LaLuna, and in May 2019 I graduated from Reynolds Community College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in architectural engineering technology with a concentration in building construction management. 

I finally decided to return to school when I was approaching a decade in the beauty industry. I always struggled with seeing myself in a particular career forever, and I knew that it was time for me to try something new. I wanted to enter a program that would lead to employment in a new field after two years, and since the more common career paths never quite appealed to me, I started exploring the local community college's other programs with a very open mind. 

I landed at Reynolds after walking in and speaking with the department heads of the Architectural Engineering Technology program. Mr. Bass and Mr. Andrews
Mr. Aubrey Bass, Assistant Professor -
Drafting & Design Technology with
Katrina LaLuna
both took the time to speak with me and gave me enough information to help me decide that I could pursue a fulfilling and lucrative career in the construction industry. They along with Ms. Powers and Mr. Littlefield were supportive the entire way, especially when I needed guidance and advice on my job hunt. 

I was thrilled to accept a career opportunity prior to graduating, and now that I am working in the field, I know this one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am continuing my studies through an online program specifically for AAS graduates at Fort Hays State University and will ultimately earn a Bachelor of Science in technology leadership. 

In only two years, Reynolds gave me the education I needed to change my life and set myself up for the future I desire. Doors have opened for me that ten years ago I did not know existed; I am so excited for what's to come!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Reynolds ECA Students Get 
Fast Start Out of the Blocks

On the field, the diamond, or the court, in the classroom or the community, Majestic Colley, Morgan Johnson, and Euniq Bennett are “scholar-athletes.” They run, jump, kick, pitch, and shoot hoops with the vigor of the pros. And, thanks to the Reynolds Early College Academy they got a fast start out of the blocks on their college education.

As “scholars”, these young women earned their Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in Social Sciences, with a total of 60 transferrable college credits before earning their high school diplomas. As “athletes” they were nominated for the Richmond Times-Dispatch Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Majestic and Morgan were chosen as two of ten finalists.*

Just being a standout student academically takes a tremendous amount of dedication and discipline. Standing out academically and athletically, takes a special sense of purpose and tenacity few possess. Reynolds Dual Enrollment programs – the Early College Academy, and Advance College Academy - are tailor-made to meet the drive and enthusiasm of these focused, goal-driven students. 

Majestic Colley – Reynolds ECA
Majestic was a student at George Wythe High School while earning her associates degree through Reynolds ECA program. At the end of her senior year, with her 3.9 GPA, she earned the distinction of class valedictorian.

Majestic is a member of the National Honor Society, and participated in the George Wythe Marching Band and Virginia Youth Speak Out for Safe Driving. She earned three letters in basketball, and was captain of the team in her senior year. She has two letters in volleyball and was team captain, known for her serve. Majestic will be attending Old Dominion University majoring in Biology and Sports Medicine.

Morgan Johnson – Reynolds ECA
Morgan was a student at Huguenot High School while earning her associates degree. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, and served as an elementary school volunteer reader. She is a four-year letter winner in hoops and softball. On the diamond she played as pitcher, third base and shortstop. She also plays travel softball for the Richmond Storm.

Morgan Johnson, in her own words: ""The ECA was one of the most stressful and greatest things that ever happened to me. Trying to balance practices, tournaments and homework was the hardest part. My parents, professors and advisors made me make a schedule which essentially was the best thing I ever did. This helped me develop time management skills I will need as a College athlete next year."

"Throughout the two years I was able to create friendships and bonds with people that will last forever. This allowed me to be able to complete work with my peers and seek help if needed. I want to thank all of my professors, they pushed us and gave great advice and skills needed. They held us be accountable and never lowered their expectations because we were in high school. It may have seemed like they were hard on us but they prepared us for the next step in our lives. Not only did they push us they supported us in everything we did and made the atmosphere welcoming. Ms. T and Mrs. Hott had just as much to do with our success as anybody. They sent us scholarships, they came to check on us in school, they sent internships, helped us research schools and always highlighted our success. They were great advisors, who were available for us to talk to if ever needed. I’m glad I was able to meet such an amazing group of people. Without these people, this experience would’ve been just that much harder, thank you for teaching me life lessons, and always being there for me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I’m forever grateful for the ECA program can’t wait to come back and share my success!"

Morgan will be attending Norfolk State, playing softball while majoring in Chemistry and Pre-Med.

Euniq Bennett – Reynolds ECA
Euniq was a student at John Marshall while earning her associates degree. She graduated third in her class with a 4.25 GPA. She was a member of the Yearbook Club and a volunteered for Partnership for the Future, a community-driven college preparation and workforce development program. Euniq earned three letters on the varsity cheer squad and played softball for two seasons.

“Being a scholar-athlete and being in the ECA Program was super hard to manage because of the dedication which was highly required for both," Euniq said. With the true humility of someone who has just accomplished a very challenging assignment, she continued, "Honestly, if I could do it... anyone could. There are no excuses for not being able to be in the top ten of your class and have late night games for your school.”

Euniq will be attending Norfolk State.

* * *

“We’re so proud of these young women for their grit and perseverance over the past two years in the Reynolds Early College Academy,” said Director of Reynolds College Academies Miles McCrimmon.  “It’s a special accomplishment to juggle the demands of being a scholar-athlete in high school or college, but to be a scholar-athlete while engaged in both levels of education at the same time is especially impressive.”

Indeed it is. And, the Reynolds Community is extremely proud to have been part of helping these three young women get a fast start on their educational future.

22 Reynolds ECA Graduates in 2019
from Ayanna Thompson, Early College Academy Career Coach

22 Richmond Public School students received their associate’s degree in social sciences in 2019 before earning their high school diplomas. 

Many of those 19 graduates are the first in their family to attend college, and certainly the first to earn a college degree before earning their high school diploma.

“We have students in seven out of eight of the RPS high schools,” Ayanna Thompson points out, “each of these students are outstanding. Many were recipients of outstanding scholarships. William [Wilkins] received over 1.8 million dollars in scholarships. He was also very active in his community and his school including leadership roles. His sport is tennis and he was a semifinalist in both singles and doubles tennis events at regional tournaments.”

"ECA is a once in a lifetime experience," said William Wilkins. "It is one of the toughest experiences I have ever had, but when I was done I have never felt more satisfied and accomplished in my life."

And get this: four out of eight of the Richmond Public School 2019 valedictorians were Reynolds ECA students. The 2019 RPS Valedictorians / ECA students are:

  • Laura Blackwell, Armstrong High School going to Virginia Tech - received a presidential scholarship.
  • Majestic Colley, George Wythe High School going to Old Dominion University – scholar-athlete. 
  • Lahjae White-Patterson, Huguenot High School going to Virginia Tech - planning to study graphic design, received a presidential scholarship.
  • William Wilkins, Franklin Military Academy going to Virginia Commonwealth University - planning to study psychology at the graduate level.
Adjectives like active, dedicated, achiever, driven, still don’t fully capture the personality of an ECA graduate. Consider that during their two years in the ECA program these students would begin their school day with classes at Reynolds in the morning, then return to their high schools for yet more classes in the afternoon. While maintaining their rigorous educational schedule, they still found time to be active in their schools and to make meaningful contributions in their communities. 

For the “scholar-athletes” - Majestic, Morgan, and Euniq - there was yet another dimension: they somehow managed to squeeze practice and competition into their schedule and still succeed. Weekends? What may have been down time for others, for all ECA students was time dedicated to studying, practice, and more studying and practicing.

Hats off – or in this case mortar boards off – to the 2019 Dual Enrollment program graduates (ECA, the 2-year program; ACA, the 4-year program). The Reynolds community applauds your impressive, and well-earned success!

*The RTD Award is open to outstanding area high school seniors nominated by their coaches. In addition to the recognition, the Award includes college scholarship dollars.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Reynolds Culinary Students Don't Just Shine 

. . . They Glow

Professors always appreciate hearing kind words about their students. So, getting a full-fledged epistle like the one below is as unexpected and rewarding as a perfect chocolate souffle.

Reynolds culinary students make their professors and their college proud. They are a dedicated, hardworking group, devoted to learning and perfecting their craft. Chef Jesse has taught them that even the smallest details matters . . . and they have learned that lesson well. 

Read what Melissa Collier of Everyday Gourmet wrote to Chef Jesse Miller about Reynolds students on not one, but two occasions. In the first email the "Sam" Melissa is referring to is Sam Bausone, one of two Reynolds students to win the 2019 Elby Student of the Year Award; "Anna" is Annamarie Zanetti. In the second email, "John" is John Bradley, the other student who won the 2019 Elby Student of the Year Award. 

Pictured here from top to bottom, Sam Bausone, Annamaria Zanetti, and John Bradley.

From: Melissa Collier 
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 11:58 AM
To: Jesse Miller <>
Subject: Everyday Gourmet and the 2019 Elby Awards

Good Afternoon,

My name is Melissa Collier and I am the office manager at Everyday Gourmet. I wanted to come down to the school and tell you this in person, but I know you are very busy and I did not want to catch you at a time that you would not have moment to really appreciate what I have to say.

On Sunday, April 28th, Everyday Gourmet catered the 2019 Elby Awards at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery for 550 people.  We had two students from your Pastry Arts program volunteer their time to assist us in executing this very important event and it would not have been a success with out them. Sam and Anna were nothing short of phenomenal. They both played key roles in making sure our diverse, delicate and intricate passed hors d'oeuvres were properly and uniformly assembled then presented beautifully on our passing trays. They both had lovely, attentive, indefatigable and helpful attitudes and showed me that they have what it takes to succeed in this industry.

In 2007, I graduated from J. Sargent Reynolds with my A.A.S in Culinary Arts. I would not be who I am today without the amazing education that I received from Reynolds and I see myself in both Sam and Anna. Having them with me, working so hard with and for me, really touched my heart.

Anna showed up on time with a smile on her face. She saw all of us setting up and everyone focused, going from here to there and immediately set her belongings down and offered her help. She was ready to hit the night head on and she knocked it out of the park.  Anna was kind, curious and I could feel her heart and soul going into everything she did.  From having a notebook with pen in hand ready to take notes when I started to explain how the hors d'oeuvres were going to be constructed to having to dance around 10+ cooks in our small tent while still making sure those delicate cucumber cups and deviled eggs were filled and garnished just right during passing time to not hesitating to get down and dirty during clean up, Anna was extraordinary every step of the way.  I personally loved her thoughtfulness of her fellow workers, offering up waters she brought from home, had bandaids at the ready for any mishap that may happen and her passion not only for her work but for her family. She must have lovingly mentioned her family ten times over the course of the evening, how they were excited for her to work this event, how much they wanted to try the food and how much they meant to her. I made sure she got some to go containers with goodies for them to try.  I wanna meet her family and tell them what a wonderful, driven, strong, kindhearted and empathetic woman Anna is and how much of myself I see in her. I have no doubt they are proud of her and have every right to be.

Sam was a breath of fresh air. From the moment he stepped foot in my tent, I knew our crew was complete. Sam was professional, on time and ready to help in any way he could. He had passion in his eyes and his attentiveness and care for detail was exquisite. Anyone around him could feel his passion and strong will to produce his best. He was gentle, kind and willing to step up when things started rolling. I was unaware that Sam was going to be receiving the title of Rising Student and did not figured this out until he came up to me and politely asked if he could excuse himself because it was time for the awards. I could see from just the few short hours that I worked with Sam that he deserves that award. I was ecstatic when he returned, told him I was so excited for him and he deserved it and his response was that he was glad he received it but the whole time during the awards ceremony, he could only think of getting back out to help and be with us. That right there really meant something to me that I can't put into words. The infectious smile he had the whole evening is etched in my heart. He was truly a pleasure to be around and work alongside of.

This industry is special and it takes people with heart and soul and passion to succeed and be happy in their lives simultaneously and I can tell you that Sam and Anna have what it takes, hands down, and I can not wait to see the amazing, wonderful, chart topping, heart stopping things that they will produce in their careers. I was truly blessed to have the privilege of work with them.  I teared up releasing them that evening, I didn't want them to go but the event was over.

I would be honored if they would be willing to join me again on Saturday, May 11th at Dorey Park in Henrico for the Virginia Capital Trail Foundations' Annual Cap2Cap Trail Ride presented by Hardywood Brewery. We will be feeding 2,000+ cyclists and their families a salad buffet lunch at the Post Ride festival held at Dorey Park.  The hours would be from 10 a.m. to around 3 p.m.  Myself and one other employee from Everyday Gourmet will be there with the Glee Club from a local high school to help us.  This will be an amazing event and I know that they would enjoy it and learn some valuable things from being part of it. (See Melissa's follow up email below that give a recap of the May 11 event.)

I would greatly appreciate it if you would personally ask them to be part of this event with me. I want them to know how amazing they are and that you are aware of the exceptional job they did Sunday.

Thank you so much for taking the time to hear what I had to say and I eagerly await their responses regarding May 11th.

Melissa Collier
Everyday Gourmet

From: Melissa Collier 
Sent: Monday, May 13, 2019 12:03 PM
To: Jesse Miller <>
Subject: Re: Saturday May 11th Everyday Gourmet

Thank you for reaching out to John, he saved my life Saturday! Out of the nine volunteers we were supposed to have, only two showed up and an hour late.  

John was amazing and there was no way that we could have pulled off feeding the 1,400 plus we fed without him. He was there, ready to work when we arrived. We had an hour to set up two salad buffet lines and prep area with just three of us.  I think I may have said five non-work related words to John in the five plus hours he busted his butt for me. He single-handedly took care of a whole buffet line. He had no less than 200 people go through his line with no help other than me keeping his items full before our two high school student helpers showed up. I put half this event solely on John shoulders from the get go and he took it with a smile. 

He rocked through standing in the very same spot for four and a half hours straight with no breaks, no down time and was happy, talked and joked with customers and kept his non stop line rolling. John toughed through serving while getting rained on for two hours straight.  We had our tent pulled over our customers heads while they were in line receiving food and getting rained on and John did not hesitate to accommodate and be flexible. 

So many different things happened at this event and it's all still a blur. I had no time to breathe let alone be the face of our company because I was behind the scenes keeping the lines stocked and I thank God John was there. I was proud to have him there. I felt his confidence and I knew, when we were 30 min away from guests arriving and all I had was him, my husband and myself, that he was going to be amazing.  I literally put him in the weeds, close to drowning, after only having met him 30 minutes prior.  I have to work with him again. I feel speechless regarding him and his performance.  I am still in AWE. 

Thank you again for reaching out to your students.  I will contact you again soon, I know we have more events coming up that I would love to have students at. 

Melissa Collier

Note: Several Culinary students will be helping Melissa again at Broad Appetite on Sunday, June 2. If you plan to attend, please stop by the Everyday Gourment booth and let them know you are part of the Reynolds community.

What's Cooking in The Kitchens at Reynolds this Summer

Building Update
The building that will house the Kitchens at Reynolds in the Church Hill area of Richmond is really taking shape. All the exterior concrete walls have been poured, and the large openings in those walls are awaiting the delivery of the curtain wall/glass systems. The floor slabs have been poured on all four levels of the building. The only concrete slabs remaining to be poured are some of the roof areas.

As you go within the walls of the building, you will see several of the interior systems taking shape. The erection of metal stud framing for the interior partitions is in progress on every floor. Permanent stairs are only in place between the first and second floors. Access to other floors is only by means of temporary stairs. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are well underway. Mechanical ducts and air handler units are being hung from the underside of the floor slabs. Conduit lines are being routed overhead in the above ceiling spaces and within the metal stud framing. Electrical cable is also being routed from the electrical panels into the conduits throughout the building. There is a vast network of hot water, cold water and sprinkler pipes being installed.  The building is becoming the wonderful facility it was designed to be! 

Building Update courtesy of John Mitchell, Senior Project Manager | CBRE | HEERY; Aerial photo courtesy of Horrigan.

Sneak preview of the building interior taken during a hard hat tour:

Steve Markel says Church Hill project, which includes grocery store, 'is truly a philanthropic operation'

Steve Markel said he and his wife, Kathie, are trying to make a difference in Richmond’s East End.
The couple are financially backing a mixed-use development in north Church Hill that includes a new 27,000-square-foot grocery store, a culinary school operated by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, retail and office space, and 42 apartments.
“This is not a typical real estate project where one expects to get rich. This is a not a typical real estate project where one hopes to make money,” Steve Markel told the 150 people attending a breakfast meeting of the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate held at the Country Club of Virginia.
“This is truly a philanthropic operation,” said Markel, the vice chairman of the Henrico County-based specialty insurer Markel Corp. “My goal in this project is to lose as little money as possible. One important point is for the long-term sustainability for the project. It is important that the grocery store, which is the center of this project, becomes self-sustaining.”
The Market @ 25th grocery store opened three weeks ago at North 25th Street and Nine Mile Road with a pharmacy, deli, fresh fish and seafood, sushi counter and salad bar. A credit union branch is expected later.
“A lot of sweat equity will go into making this happen,” he said. “For it to stay in place for the next 10, 20 and 30 years, it doesn’t have to make a lot of profit but it does need to be financially viable.”
It is too early to say how the store is doing, but Markel is pleased with the initial results. “The community reception has been very positive.”
Markel said he and his wife decided to look at the poverty issue in Richmond’s East End and find a way “we could make a difference.”
That part of Richmond, he said, has the highest concentration of poverty on the East Coast between Philadelphia and Atlanta. “It is sad that we have let that evolve like that.”
It also is home to four large public housing communities — Mosby, Whitcomb, Fairfield and Creighton courts. And the life expectancy in that area is 62 years old compared to suburban neighborhoods where residents on average live beyond 82 years old.
“We had two goals,” he said about the couple’s plan.
“Try to make the neighborhood healthier with a grocery store and fresh food. And to provide jobs. The store employs about 100 people, which has an impact on jobs in the community. The second goal for Kathie and I was to get more engaged in the community about the problems that exist and get a great understanding of the issues,” he said. “The first goal has not been met, but the second one certainly has.”
The grocery store is part of the Church Hill North project that the Markels are developing.
The building for the culinary school operated by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is under construction and should be ready in early 2020, he said.
It will have state-of-the art culinary kitchens, classroom space, offices and a greenhouse facing Nine Mile Road.
A 5,000-square-foot restaurant is planned for the fourth floor of the building that Markel said will have “absolutely incredible” views of downtown Richmond.
Attached to the grocery store are The Flats @ 25th apartments, a 42-unit complex that is above the store, and the VCU Health Hub @ 25th community resource center. Residents started moving in last weekend, Markel said.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meet Ariel Cole

Special Events Manager, Advancement

Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Fairfax, VA and it was wonderful! But I think my family had more to do with that than location. I grew up in a close family with amazing parents, a brother and a sister and close extended family. My grandmother, aunt and cousins all lived in our neighborhood. As a kid it was great!

How long have you worked for Reynolds and have you always been involved with events planning at the college?
I have been at Reynolds for four years now and have been the Special Events Manager from the beginning!  Before Reynolds, I was the Assistant Director of University Events at William & Mary.

As Special Events Manager you have a reputation for being extremely detailed, incredibly organized, and always appearing to remain calm in the face of any and every challenge.  Does this come naturally to you, or did you have to develop these valuable skills?
I have always been a detailed and organized person, that has come naturally. If it involves file folders and color coding, I’m in! 
Remaining and appearing to remain calm in the face of challenges, however, has come with experience. Before higher education, I managed events in several hotels and at Busch Gardens Williamsburg . . . let’s just say working in the hospitality industry will teach you some things!  I’ve encountered my fair share of challenging customers (ahem, mother-of-the-brides), inclement weather emergencies, hotel renovations and other obstacles that can impact the success of an event. 
I learned three key things: 
1.  Don’t freak out.  It doesn’t help anything. 
2.  Plan, plan, plan. Plan ahead for different scenarios and everything that you CAN control. This way you will have the time and flexibility to adjust to things that come up that you CAN’T control.  
3.  You can’t do it alone. I depend on a team of colleagues, vendors and other industry partners for every event that I manage.  Building and maintaining good working relationships is essential. I need partners that I can trust to get the job done and who I can call on a moment’s notice if needed.
How many events do you orchestra each year at Reynolds? 
Do you have a favorite one, and why?
On average, I am involved with about 50 events each year. My favorite annual event is our Scholarship Luncheon. It is lunch for about 200 scholarship donors and recipients where they get to meet each other. Donors are so excited to meet all the amazing students and learn what they are studying and what they plan to accomplish. The students are equally as eager to express their appreciation - it is a powerful event.
Every year there are also some fun things that pop up – a visit from the Governor, a building grand opening or, my favorite from this year, a presidential inauguration! 

What are the most challenging and most 
rewarding parts of your job?
I think the most challenging sometimes is letting go and trusting other people to do their part for an event – hard to do for a planner! The most rewarding part is seeing an event go from concept to live event and knowing all the little pieces that had to come together to make it happen. 

What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
Too many to choose from! I’m going with one of my childhood classics, Home Alone.  My siblings and I were obsessed with it and still quote it to this day. My poor dad had to endure years of Home Alone “traps” in the house.

What is your favorite activity outside of your work at Reynolds?
Love the beach, being outdoors and just spending time with my family. We have a son who is five and a daughter who is one and a half who keep things fun and interesting! 

What do like most about Richmond?
Food and craft beer! 

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do with the money?
Support The Kitchens at Reynolds! I would help my Development team with a major gift to finish the fundraising campaign for The Kitchens. And then pay off the mortgages of everyone in my family, buy my dad a pickup truck that he’s always wanted, and travel!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Two Reynolds Students Named 

"Culinary Students of the Year" at Elby Awards

Reynolds Culinary Arts Students Sam Bausone and John Bradley
John Bradley (center) and Sam Bausone (right)
receive their Elby awards.
Reynolds Culinary Arts students Sam Bausone and John Bradley were named Culinary Students of the Year at the 8th Annual Elby Awards hosted by Richmond Magazine.

The Elbys, Richmond's Oscars for food, recognize the work of the city's dining community visionaries, staffers, chefs, restaurateurs, producers and beverage makers.This year over 600 Richmond Food Scene Lovers came out to witness the awards. Reynolds is proud to have Sam and John recognized for their hard work and dedication as students of the culinary craft.

Sam Bausone
Sam Bausone
Sam said this about his award: "I was honored hear that I was student of the year. The staff at Reynolds has helped me to become much more confident and able it the kitchen. I want to thank Chef Miller and Chef Rounds for all of the knowledge they share with us. I look forward to continue growing in this industry." Read Sam's Culinary Profile.
John Bradly in Reynolds Cooking Uniform
John Bradley
John had this to say about his award: "I'm humbled to have received this year's Elby for Culinary Student of the Year. I am especially thankful for the Culinary and Pastry Arts program at Reynolds, and to my internship with Chef Jannequin at Camden's Dogtown Market. I also greatly appreciate Chef Cook and his team at ZZQ for opening their kitchen to me. All of them have given me something to aspire to as a professional, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to learn from them." Read John's Culinary Profile.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Meet David Seward

Associate Professor - Horticulture

Where did you grow up and what was it like?  
I grew up in Richmond.  I’m 59 now and it was a different time then. My parents weren’t worried about where I was (even without cell phones) since they knew I’d be home when I got hungry. It was a simpler time then.

How long have you worked for Reynolds and have you always been on the Goochland campus?  
I worked as a Horticulture faculty member for four years back in the late 1990’s, and went back into industry for a few years. I came back to Reynolds in 2006 as the Horticulture Program Head and have been here since. I was always based at the Goochland campus, but the Horticulture Program was originally at the Parham Road campus, but that was at least 30 years ago.

How did you get interested in horticulture?  
I was a Biology major at ODU. My last year there I took a Greenhouse Management class and got hooked. Since I didn’t have a strong background in Horticulture I continued my education at Virginia Tech, and acquired my MS degree in Horticulture in 1985.

What are the most challenging and most
rewarding parts of your job?

Most challenging:  Dealing with the bureaucracy of a state agency like Reynolds (there’s a form for everything) and delivering a high quality experience for students within the budgetary constraints of late.
Most rewarding: I love the ability to help students with their career goals and bring my experiences to the classroom. I also love working with so many good people that are willing to help get things done.  

You are just wrapping up the 15th Annual Garden Fest.
Please tell us about this event.

I was involved from the beginning. It started out as a way to pull in the community and let people see our wonderful campus. It has changed over the years to become a signature event at the college. Every year we seem to draw more people to the Goochland campus. We just wrapped up another successful event last Saturday (April 27th) and the weather was amazing. The gardens were at their best. My motto has been “grow it and they will come”.  So far that has worked out well.

What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
The Big Chill. It’s a comedy-drama about baby boomers that are reunited after a friend’s tragedy and I think it is a very telling and humorous look at that age group. (Which I’m one of). 

What is your favorite activity outside of your work at Reynolds?
Gardening (of course), hiking and hanging at my pool. Summer used to be my least favorite season with the heat and droughts, but as a nine month contract employee at Reynolds my summers have improved greatly.

What do like most about Richmond?
Richmond today has become more of a “Foodie Experience”, and I do like all of the Microbreweries that have popped up. It has embraced the “farm to table” movement as well, and I am lucky to have been a part of that.  We have been teaching Sustainable Agriculture over 20 years. I also love all of the history in Richmond, making it a great place for “Staycations”.

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery
what would you do with the money? 

I hate to say it but I would probably not be working full time. I would love to do more for our veterans and battered women in our area. For many veterans working in the soil and living sustainably is a new focus of theirs when they return from the military, and I would like to help them adjust to their new role in society. I have the facilities at home to do this and would expand on this by having housing available nearby for a full immersion experience in horticulture and food production.  
Women that are not feeling safe and need help (particularly those with small children) are a group that I think just really need someone they can count on. I would use the extra money to make sure they were housed and fed and had counseling to get them ready for an independent life.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Her Future’s So Bright She's Gotta Wear Shades
Honors Student Stephanie Cull

Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
Lyrics: Patrick Lee MacDonald

It’s hard to imagine anyone more upbeat, positive, and involved than Reynolds Honors student Stephanie Cull. But, being an Honors student is just a start.

Stephanie’s calendar includes JSR Leads, PTK – she is the outgoing PTK Vice President and a recipient of the All-Academic Team Scholarship, she’s VP of the Spectrum Club, she’s on the Honors Steering Committee, and she’s on the Food Pantry Implementation Team. This spring she traveled with several other Reynolds Honors students to the Virginias Collegiate Honors Council Conference and gave her first presentation to a large audience in an academic setting. And, if that isn’t enough, she was one of five Honors students recently presented with the Honors Designated Scholar medallion (and yes, it’s literally heavy metal).

“Probably not,” she says when asked if her life has always been an involvement whirlwind. “It’s really only the past two years since I came to Reynolds that I’ve been so engaged. Reynolds has really changed me. Saved my life. I’ve taken advantage of all the opportunities the College offered and it’s been great. Everything has changed for me.”

Stephanie continues, “As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a greater appreciation of life and its special gifts, not gifts like the Honors medallion although it’s very special and I am so proud to have it, I mean life’s simple gifts like a sunset or being with friends. I’ve always been one of those eternal optimists, but more so now than ever.” Given the challenges Stephanie has faced, she’s needed every ounce of optimism she could muster to keep moving forward, much less achieve all she has achieved. But, she keeps her focus forward, and as the song goes, the future’s so bright she’s gotta wear shades.

Consider this. “I came in to the downtown campus one day just to ask a question,” Stephanie says. “All I wanted to know was if it was possible for me to enroll. That day, when I walked out the door I was enrolled, had applied for financial aid, and would be starting classes in a few weeks. I needed help, and the Reynolds staff got me through the process each step of the way. From there, other students and faculty encouraged me to get involved. I went to a JSR Leadership Retreat just to check it out. That was the catalyst that began my student leadership addiction. I was elected VP of Spectrum that same fall, and VP of PTK the following spring.”

Graduation is around the corner for Stephanie and overshadowing the push of exams she is waiting, like many students, to hear about acceptance to her college of choice. “I only applied to VCU and VCU Honors College. VCU is my home. I grew up there. My Mom has worked there for 36 years. She used to take me to work with her when I was a toddler and I played in the halls. She worked in the warehouse then. Imagine this, now she is the Director of Budgets and Finance for Health Sciences in the Dean’s Office. She is just incredible.” Not too hard to see where Stephanie gets her drive and dedication.

Stephanie will take her commencement walk to pick up a dual degree: an AA in Social Science and an AA in Science. So, what’s her favorite subject? “That’s a hard one. I’ve got two . . . makes sense with my degrees. My “go to” is Geology. I’ve loved rocks since I was a kid. I never thought there would be a class to study them. Dr. Layou calls it “nerding out” when the Geology students get together to talk rocks with her. She is so excited and passionate about her work it really rubs off on you. But, I also loved Honors Sociology. Dr. D’Andrea is fantastic, and we got to do actual research like the campus study that revealed student food insecurity, and led to the opening of the Food Pantries. Taking an active part in a solution to a problem is so incredibly rewarding.”

After such a busy year, what about summer? “It’s been a really hard year, but very, very good. I’m ready to kick my feet up and relax for a few weeks. I’ll be hanging out with my seven-year old grand-nephew, going to the pool a lot, and doing what kids like to do first. I’ll also be volunteering with the Food Pantry team. I’d really like to find a part-time job, preferably here at Reynolds, and have been asking around.”

Stephanie, you’re gonna need those shades for all that pool-time you’ll be putting in this summer . . . and you’re gonna need them for your next whirlwind round of classes, studying, and involvement coming in the fall. Best of luck to you and all the other Reynolds 2019 graduates.