Thursday, May 30, 2013

Great Expectations Tour visits JSRCC

The Great Expectations “Building the Bond” tour made its final stop at JSRCC with a luncheon event for over 100 stakeholders including students, foster parents, social workers and others who work with Virginia’s foster youth on Wednesday, May 29.  

Who among us doesn’t remember teenage angst?  Imagine getting through those years with no support system, no one to turn to for advice.  That’s what foster youth face, and much worse.  That’s why the Great Expectations program is so important to Virginia’s foster youth.  With its emphasis on a person-to-person connection with a Great Expectations coach, the program offers a unique answer to the vexing challenge of single-digit foster youth graduation statistics.  Great Expectations seeks to increase foster youth graduation and college retention rates.
Anne Holton, the program director of Great Expectations, and other Virginia Community College leaders have hosted events across Virginia this month, seeking ideas and support for elevating the next phase of the foster youth-focused program.  May is National Foster Care Month.
Great Expectations began in fall 2008 as a pilot program at five Virginia community colleges and has grown to serve foster youth at 17 Virginia community colleges today.  J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College was among the schools who piloted the program in 2008.  Over the past four years 28 students have graduated from the Great Expectations program at Reynolds and 58 are currently enrolled.  Statewide more than 500 youth are currently in the program.
The May 29th luncheon celebrated JSRCC’s newest Great Expectations graduates, highlighted the importance of the bond between Great Expectations students and their coaches, and concluded with a discussion seeking suggestions on ways to improve the program for the future. 
For more information on the Great Expectations program, please visit


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

JSRCC first in nation to offer distance-based Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Career Studies Certificate - Futuristic hydrogen-powered vehicle included in studies

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is pacing the automotive technology field educating students on the car of tomorrow that doesn't use gasoline and doesn't pollute the air. In fact, this vehicle produces steam instead of exhaust - what's the mystery fuel? Hydrogen -- the simplest and most abundant element in the universe.

And while some people think that in 20 years we'll all be driving hydrogen-powered vehicles, JSRCC’s Automotive Technology program is currently filling today and the future’s need for cutting edge technology educated technicians who are equipped to perform both mechanical and diagnostic repairs.
This fall Reynolds will offer a four credit course titled Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles which covers hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle systems and advanced automotive electronics. Focusing on safety, the course teaches theory, function, and operation of fuel cell electric vehicles and provides students an opportunity to perform diagnostic procedures and maintenance for fuel cell electric vehicle systems - the course is part of the nation’s first distance-based Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Career Studies Certificate program. When students graduate, they will be qualified to service electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles that provide for increased energy efficiency and employ “green” technologies.
Developed with funding provided by a grant from the Department of Energy, the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle course addresses the rapidly emerging automotive technologies of fuel cell power generation systems found in electric drive vehicles, which automotive technicians are now being required to service.
To enhance hands-on learning opportunities, JSRCC faculty members this past year partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering to design, fabricate and install a functioning hydrogen fuel cell system onto an electric golf cart.  The completed prototype benefits students in the automotive labs at the JSRCC Goochland Campus where they will be able to dissect and diagnose the system for academic purposes for the next 10 years. Several hydrogen cars are now in existence, but most of them are concept cars. These eco-friendly driving machines include the Chevrolet Equinox, the BMW 745h and the Honda FCX that's currently available for lease in California.
School of Business Assistant Dean Chuck Swaim noted, “The opportunity for our faculty and students to collaborate with VCU and our alumni at VCU was a win-win for our institutions. Working on future technologies allows JSRCC to stay ahead of the instructional needs of our students and future workforce. We are hopeful that this year’s collaboration between our Automotive Technologies program and VCU’s Senior Engineering Projects is just the beginning of a long string of successes for our students and faculty.”
Where automotive repair may not have been considered high-tech some years ago, today much has changed.  High school grads can no longer start their automotive repair career as a shop sweeper who works their way up to mechanic. Sophisticated electronic computer systems now control an ever-increasing number of functions in our vehicles resulting in an ever-growing demand for educated technicians who can quickly and accurately service them. Recent high school graduates who like computers and technology, problem-solving, cars and working with their hands are good candidates for a career in automotive technology.  Unlike many high-tech careers that require four or more years of college, automotive technology careers can begin after just two years of college.  
For more information on JSRCC’s Automotive Technology program please visit

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Congratulations PAVE Graduates!

The only one of its kind in the state of Virginia, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s Program for Adults in Vocational Education (PAVE) is a two-year vocational training program which serves students with intellectual, physical, emotional, and learning disabilities.

The PAVE program provides students with tools to become independent support professionals in their field. Students may earn career studies certificates in Child Care Assistant, Clerical Assistant, Healthcare Assistant, and Food Service Assistant.   The PAVE program allows students to work independently through an unpaid, coordinated internship after completing professional and social skills training in the classroom.
This year, at a graduation ceremony on Friday, May 10th in the Lipman Auditorium of the Massey Library Technology Center on the Parham Road Campus, 20 students graduated from the PAVE program, six with Clerical Assistant Career Studies Certificates, eight with Food Service Assistant Career Studies Certificates, four with Healthcare Assistant Career Studies Certificates, and two with Child Care Assistant Career Services Certificates.
Six of this year’s graduates have already accepted positions with their internship sites and two are planning to return to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to earn an associate’s degree.
Gary Jamal Wallace
Deemed by his instructors as the “hardest-working” of this year’s graduates, Gary “Jamal” Wallace, a graduate of Hanover High School with a compassion for cooking since an early age, began the PAVE program in 2011 in the area of food service.  He completed a culinary arts program in high school and continued his dream at Reynolds.  As part of the program Jamal completed a 200 hour internship at VCU’s Jonah’s CafĂ© where he had the opportunity to work with excellent chefs in a variety of areas and gain a wealth of experience while consistently maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.  Friendly and quiet with impeccable manners and a strong commitment to always complete work on time, Jamal has surpassed all odds in spite of serious health issues at an early age.  He believes that “when people tell you that you can’t do anything or that you are no good, then you must prove them wrong.”  He goes on to say “never give up on your dreams, make good grades where ever you go, and never give up on yourself.”

Healthcare Assistant
Kierra Allen
Christopher Dyke
Suzanne Griffith
Jade Scott
Child Care Assistant
Jaquetta Richardson
Shameka Scott
Food Service Assistant
Shanequah Brooks
John Gatewood
Waddell Green
Alonzo Johnson
Amber Norris
Jaie Robinson
Gary Wallace
Faatima Winston
Clerical Assistant
Madelyn Allen
Danielle Brown
Shelbie Fabian
Kristen Garner
Tysheena Hughley
Natalie Schwartz

Faculty Critical Thinking Workshop

On Thursday May 9th, full-time faculty from across academic disciplines at JSRCC and John Tyler Community College attended a one-day Critical Thinking workshop sponsored by the Critical Thinking Task Force.  The workshop was planned by task force members Karyn Pallay (chair), Miles McCrimmon, Marty Watkin, Barbara Glenn, Jane Rosecrans, David Loope, and Sandi Fulton. 

This daylong workshop was facilitated by Brian Barnes of the Foundation for Critical Thinking.  Brian Barnes’s goal was to introduce faculty to specific methods that encourage critical thinking skills in students and allow the faculty to practice using these methods. After Brian’s introduction to the fundamentals of critical thinking, the workshop participants had a chance to role-play in small groups and practice using these skills to analyze readings and share their writing as modes of thinking across the curriculum.
The workshop was funded in part by a JSRCC Professional Development Grant, a VCCS Paul Lee Professional Development Mini Grant, and a significant JTCC contribution. The 15 JSRCC faculty participants registered for the workshop were selected to pilot these Critical Thinking techniques into at least one of their Fall 2013 courses and will receive a $750 stipend at the semester’s end, generously provided by Dr. Barbara Glenn from Humanities and Social Sciences foundation funds.

The JSRCC faculty who participated and will be piloting the Critical Thinking in their Fall 2013 courses are: 

Beverly Aronowitz, English

Sherry Compton, Respiratory Therapy

Alan Crouch, Automotive Technology

Sarah Jessie, Administration of Justice

Nancy Morrison, Reading

Mark Plume, Sociology

Maria Ramos, English

Jane Rosecrans, English

Stephen Sowulewski, Health

Chris Thomas, History

Wendy Unison-Pace, Practical Nursing

Shalini Upadhyaya, Biology

William Wilson, Health Records Coding

Danette Young, Biology

William Ziegler, English

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Annual Essay Contest Winners Announced

 Elizabeth Kent Duffey, Crystal Mickens, Grace Yancy, and Kim Pomier 
Four winners in the 2013 J. Sargeant Reynolds Annual Essay Contest were announced at a Reading Reception on Tuesday, April 23rd in the Gallery in Georgiadis Hall on the Parham Road Campus.  The Annual Essay Contest was open to all currently enrolled JSR students and Dual Enrollment students in upper-level courses who attend class on campus.  Available topics included What Reynolds has Meant to Me, Why I Decided to Come to Reynolds, What I Expect from My Education at Reynolds, and The Best and Worst of My Reynolds Experience. A total of 55 essays were submitted for consideration.  A panel of three judges reviewed the submissions and selected the winners.

Congratulations to Crystal Mickens, First Place; Elizabeth Kent Duffey, Second Place; Grace Yancy, Third Place; and Kim Pomier, Honorable Mention. 
Crystal Mickens described her personal struggles at two other colleges before finding JSRCC.  “The opportunity to go to Reynolds came at a time when I thought I was a complete failure, when I thought I would never see any success in my life.  My time at Reynolds has reaffirmed to me that I’m more than capable of handling whatever life throws at me – that I have the skills and knowledge to succeed and move forward.”  Crystal noted, “And the teachers, well, they have been the best part of the school to me.  They’ve looked out for me almost as much as my own Mom.  That’s why going to Reynolds has meant so much to me.”
When Elizabeth Kent Duffey enrolled at Reynolds to complete prerequisite courses for a Bachelor of Science degree at Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing she considered Reynolds as simply a means to an end. However, in her classes she witnessed men and women of all ages striving to improve their lives though education, often in spite of difficult circumstances, with hope for a better future.  As to what Reynolds has meant to her, “It means hope.  It means dedication.  It means being witness to individuals who know that an education will bring change to their lives and to the lives of those they love.”
In her essay Grace Yancy talked about her journey of self-discovery at Reynolds.  Although her relationship with learning started out well as a young child, she describes her years in middle school and high school as “miserable and traumatic experiences.”   Nonetheless, after high school graduation she enrolled in classes at Reynolds at the urging of her parents.  She found the professors at Reynolds to be a breath of fresh air and did very well from her first semester, renewing her confidence in her abilities.  During her time at Reynolds she came to realize that “my biggest obstacle has always been me.”   Grace said, “I have resolved to not allow myself to be mediocre or cheat myself out of success ever again.  I have taken the confidence and insight that I found at J. Sargeant Reynolds and applied it to other facets of my life…I didn’t just learn how to use Microsoft Excel or how to factor polynomials; I learned to hold myself accountable for my happiness and productivity.”
Kim Pomier’s “long and interrupted Reynolds journey” began in 1977, when she enrolled to study Secretarial Science.  One of her class assignments was to take the exam for employment with the State of Virginia.  Although Kim was not seeking a job and had no intentions of leaving school, in the end a full-time position with the Department of Health was offered, and Kim accepted the position.  She worked for the state for the next 14 years, got married, held jobs in several different industries, and traveled extensively doing missionary work.  Through the years her desire to gain an education never left her and returning to J. Sargeant Reynolds was always in the back of her mind.  For many years she passed the downtown campus every day and longed to attend classes again.  Kim was finally able to realize her dream of returning to Reynolds in 2011 after being laid off when her employer moved out of state.  Kim calls her Reynolds experience “a thirty-four year journey back to what my heart desired.”

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Earth Day Stream Cleanup

As part of JSRCC’s Earth Day 2013 celebration a group of 16 enthusiastic volunteers composed of students, staff and faculty members spent four hours on Saturday, April 20 in hip-boots sloshing through the North Run stream removing trash and liter from the stream and surrounding terrain.

Richard Groover, Assistant Dean of Mathematics, Science and Engineering coordinated and led the cleanup effort.  Before taking to the water the participants completed a safety briefing as the water level in the stream was approximately 6” above flood stage due to recent rains.
This environmental stewardship effort resulted in the collection and removal of more than 200 lbs. of trash and liter from the stream, which is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.  The larger items collected included a piece of Plexiglas, a hubcap and a tire. 
The stream habitat was not the only beneficiary of the day’s activities, as the volunteers increased their understanding, education and appreciation of natural aquatic systems.  Wildlife observed during their cleanup activity included a variety of birds and a group of newly emerged Common Baskettail dragonflies. 
In discussing the day’s event Mr. Groover noted, “I’m very proud of the 16 great volunteers who assisted in this effort to improve the quality of North Run stream.  Improving the stream benefits not only the Chesapeake Bay, but aids in Henrico County’s efforts to improve its streams’ water quality.”
 Next year the group plans to tackle the stream which flows into North Run stream. To learn more about sustainability at JSRCC, visit the MS4 program web page.

Community Room unveiled at Goochland Campus Garden Party

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College continues to fulfill its commitment to be a good neighbor with the recent opening of the Goochland Campus community room.

Decorated by the Goochland Historical Society, the community room is a 2,145-square foot multifunction room available to host public gatherings and corporate meetings.

“(JSRCC President) Dr. Rhodes came to one of our Goochland Rotary meetings to announce that the college had renamed the campus from the Western Campus to the Goochland Campus and wanted to know how we could make the campus Goochland’s clubhouse,” noted Goochland Historical Society President Wayne Dementi.

The grand opening “Garden Party” held on April 26 attracted over 100 visitors from the Goochland community to view the renovated space first-hand that includes a static display area maintained by the Goochland Historical Society.

“The large mural on the wall features a number of photos that help celebrate the college’s partnership with our community, including pictures from the local YMCA, the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services and many local faces I am sure you will recognize,” noted Dementi.

Along with the opening of the community room, the college showcased a newly renovated student activity center that will include interactive games, televisions and vending machines that students can enjoy during their break from classes.

“It was a total team effort from the community,” noted Goochland Historical Society Executive Director Phyllis Silber.

“I want you to think of it as “our” college,” added Rhodes addressing the audience. “I hope you use this space so much that you wear it out and we have to replace the furniture.”

For information about reserving the community room, contact Pam McGinty at (804) 523-5933 or

Watch the video here:    Goochland Garden Party