Wednesday, February 8, 2012

FIRST PERSON: Meet Alumnus Matt Vinson

I am so thankful for the clear vision that I have had for my life and for God’s guidance and help to achieve my goals.  My name is Matthew Vinson and I am a 2008 graduate of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (JSRCC) and a 2010 graduate of the University Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.  It had been my dream since high school to become a civil engineer and to work in that field. 

After graduating from high school, I enrolled at JSRCC full time in the Engineering Associates degree program.  The education and activities at JSRCC prepared me as a person and a student to go onto bigger things in life.  One of those things was to transfer to the University of Virginia to complete my four-year degree.  The community college made this easier by having transfer days each semester where representatives from four-year universities presented information on their specific programs and transfer agreements.  Establishing contacts and receiving information from various colleges definitely helped me in my transfer process.  Applying for department scholarships was another valuable aid.  Good grades and my clear goal of becoming a civil engineer were beneficial in winning several scholarships throughout my scholastic years. I am thankful that I only accepted loans for one year at UVA—this kept my total debt below $10,000. 

After a year and a half of part-time civil engineering work at Willmark Engineering in Ashland, I finally got full-time work as a contractor for Dominion Virginia Power.  I am working in the Electric Transmission Operations group, at their headquarters in downtown Richmond.  This is an exciting new field of engineering and I am hoping to be brought on as a permanent employee soon.  The timing of this job was an answer to prayer.  My wife, Heather and I had a one year old, Noelle, and were expecting another one, when I started the new position in December.  Now we are a family of four with the birth of our second daughter, Vera.  This job provides steady work and a healthy income enabling me to provide for my family.  I am so glad that I am not over burdened with college debt, thanks to the Virginia Community College System and the numerous scholarships at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and the University of Virginia.