Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reynolds Culinary Student Profile

Meet Kimberly Morris

What motivated you to study culinary arts?
I have always loved cooking with my mother and father since I was a child. I have been a stay at home mother since my children have been born thanks to my wonderful husband Rico being our great provider. I wanted to make a difference in my family’s life, so I decided to go to school to be an example to my children, so they will follow their passions as well. I wanted them to know that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to go to school to get a degree. I will be the first person in my family to graduate college, so this is a big deal to me.  I would love to have my own restaurant one day. 

Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am a senior at Reynolds and taking my last and final class, which is my Capstone course. I am revisiting my weaknesses and improving on them, while maturing with my skills.  

What are you working on now?
We are working on menu planning, logic, flow and quality. We also have to do a nutrition analysis of our menu a HACCP Analysis, food costing, and create an ingredient list for our food, setting pricing for our menu and then cook the items. We will be tested in what we have learned in Culinary French as well.  Then we will take a final exam of 458 questions to test our knowledge of what we have learned in our entire culinary program. 

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
Culinary arts have brought my talent to the table. I have loved to learn to cook cuisines from all over the world. We have experienced cuisine from different cultures and learned the history behind it all. I enjoy the hands on experience in the kitchen.
What is your favorite ingredient?
Cooking with fresh herbs from my garden is very important ingredient in my kitchen. They are so versatile and can add some great flavor to any dish or drink.
Do you have a “signature dish”?
I love smoking ribs; I am still working on perfecting my father’s recipe. He cooked the best ribs I have ever eaten. I am working on mastering my smoking and grilling techniques. 

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
I am going to jump in the culinary field and work my way up to become a great Chef and work on having a food truck. One day having a restaurant may be in my future. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond?
I love the Jefferson Hotel, they have amazing food, and it’s a great dining experience that you will never forget. They have the Lemaire, TJ’s, and Sunday Champagne Brunch. All of the menus are locally sourced and sustainable ingredients with a Southern influence of the Richmond food culture. 

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
We all will go through hardships in life, and we all will have some situations that take us by surprise. One thing I have learned in culinary that has helped me is perseverance. I kept working hard, no matter how hard it has been to achieve my degree, I am here and finally about to finish. I never gave up even when I have failed, I kept trying, and trying. You are going to have things in life that are out of your control, just don’t give up.  

My mother passed away on December 17, 2015, which was the most devastating thing I have ever dealt with. Then five months later her sister, my Aunt Patricia, passed away on May 22, 2016. Then my father passed on October 18, 2017. Life can be unbelievably painful, but God has the final authority in my life and yours. No matter what situation you may face in life don’t give up on your dreams. If I can do it, so can you. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. 

Going to Reynolds you can gain the culinary experience and all of the professional skills you need to further advance your career. You will get the education background to understand the chemistry of food, and learn the roots of recipes and the science behind it all. You will have to chance to try new cuisines, and experiment in creating dishes.You will learn how to give dishes flavor and what to pair with them that will give you the groundwork you need so you can create some culinary masterworks. Chef Miller has taught me all of this and has helped me to move forward in my culinary career. Come talk to him if you are thinking about Reynolds Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, or Culinary Management. It is a great opportunity for someone if you have a passion for cooking. You will love to eat delicious foods and learn from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds.  

Reynolds Culinary Arts Student Profile

Meet Megan Glasscock

What motivated you to study culinary arts?
Growing up I always enjoyed cooking with my grandma, and she motivated me to study pastry arts. When my high school offered culinary classes I decided to try them out. I fell in love with cooking then. I came to Reynolds after finally realizing my dream was to become a pastry chef. In 2014 I received an Associate’s Degree in general studies from Southside Virginia Community College. Then I went to X-ray school, but that was not a fit for me.  It has been a long road to get here, but I’m happy I made it. I have lived in South Hill, Virginia all my life, so it was a big change for me to drive to the city every day for class. So, there has been a lot of adjustments.

Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am currently in my last semester in the pastry arts program and am working on my internship. My internship site is Red Cap Patisserie where they make French pastries. Working here had made me step out of my comfort zone into something I enjoy doing. 

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
My favorite task as a student is making bread. It is amazing to me that so many types of bread come from just water flour yeast and salt. I enjoy baking because it is very calming and it is a source for creativity.

What is your favorite ingredient?
My favorite ingredient is chocolate; pairs well with everything. 

Do you have a “signature dish”?
My “signature dish” is an apple pie. Apple pie was one of the first dishes I learned to make, so ever since it has been my signature dish. There is nothing super special in the apple pie, I just always make it for all the special occasions in my family. 

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
My goal is to work in a cute little bakery, maybe one in Southside Virginia. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond?
My favorite place to eat in Richmond is En Su Boca for their tacos. I honestly do not eat in Richmond much because I live in South Hill which is an hour and a half away. But my favorite restaurant in South Hill is the Horseshoe Restaurant. 

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
I would tell people to follow their dreams and to start their culinary journey. I say that if you have a passion for baking then you should go for it! It takes hard work and determination, but it’s worth it in the end.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Denise Pitman

Information Specialist - Information Center

Reynolds Graduate May 2018

Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, Specialization Litigation

Denise has been working for Reynolds since June 2014. But, Denise doesn't just work here, she studies here too. Diligently working and studying, Denise graduated in May earning her Associate's Degree in Paralegal Studies. 

When asked what motivated her to pursue her degree, she says simply, "My son is my motivation."

As if working full time, studying long hours and getting a degree, and taking care of a family isn't enough, Denise has several other passions. She says, "I love to run. It is a hobby of mine as well as a way clear my head. I like to run outdoors, never on a treadmill. It is not the same! I also enjoy building and decorating doll houses, miniatures are so interesting to me because I can create a perfect little world of my own design. I write poetry and I take care of my plant babies in my spare time too."

Denise believes in dreams, and has certainly worked hard to bring hers into reality. She believes in other people's dreams too and had this to say: "I would like to share with the Reynolds Community that I believe in the dream! By this I mean I believe in the product that we sell, which to me is a path to a better future by way of a quality education. I love my job and I love it because I get to, in my own small way, help others on the way to achieving their dreams."

This is poetry, Denise.

Meet Culinary Arts Student Arteezjah El

What motivated you to study culinary arts?
I become interested in culinary arts because of it cultural attachments, in my family food has been the way to bring us together. I also feel like culinary arts is a way of pleasing people and an expression of love. I strive to spread love and bring happiness everywhere I go.

Where are you in your culinary studies?
Right now, I am getting my degree in pastry arts this summer. The following summer I’ll be graduating with the culinary degree.

What are you working on now?
Perfecting my bread baking skills and capstone, which is my final class before I can get my degree.

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
There is always something new to try while cooking. Even if it’s an old technic It is always something to explore.

What is your favorite ingredient?
I don’t have a specific ingredient, I enjoy different flavor combinations.

Do you have a “signature dish”?
No really, I believe I haven’t found my niche. 

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
I plan to build my repertoire and portfolio, learn to run a small business, travel to learn how different cuisines and a new cultural, then ultimately own my own restaurant.

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond?
Southbound is my favorite restaurant.

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
Don’t let your fears and doubts hinder you from achieving your goals.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Paula J Green

Communications Officer - Reynolds Department of Police

Reynolds Graduate, May 2018, 

Associate Degree Management Small Business (Cum Laude)

Paula has been working for the Reynolds Department of Police for the past seven years. But, for that seven years she hasn't just been an employee, she has been a Reynolds student too, first earning a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Small Business and then her Associates Degree Management Small Business this past May. And, if that isn't enough, she has been on the Dean's List from 2011 to 2018.

When asked what prompted her to get her degree, Paula said, "Cleaning has been one of my passion, so I decided to take some courses in Business, and to have my own business. My business is PG Cleaning Services (Entrepreneur) and I have been in business since 2014." 

Paula's favorite hobbies are singing and cleaning. "Singing is my part-time job, I do weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and birthdays. I sing with a singing group call Rev. D. Kay Logan & NU Beginning Experience, and have been singing with the group for nine years, and I sing in the choir at my church, Faith Community Baptist Church."

"I am a single parent, I have one son, Krystopher A. Cooper. I have one grandson who has stolen my heart, Xzavier M. Cooper who will be three years old June 15. I have two sisters, Sabrina Jones and Brice Perkins, and two brothers, Alexander, and Charles Futrell. My mother retired from J Sargeant Reynolds in 2016, my father is deceased. I love spending time with my family and friends, and going to church and movies and eating." 

When asked about her future, Paula says, "I am planning to attend Old Dominion University to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in the area of Business Administration.  My future plans include continuing to grow my cleaning business. Trust your Savior to pick you up, comfort you, and give you the confidence you need to continue on your journey, taking each minute, each day as it comes."

Monday, June 11, 2018

“Recent Works” Exhibit by the "Reynolds Art Duo" 

Opens Thursday, July 5

If you don’t like “epic” outdoor adventures with tent camping, horseback riding and hiking in the wilderness, don’t go on vacation with “The Reynolds Art Duo,” Meredith and Tony Mullins. 

The Mullins are artists and professors of art at Reynolds, but they are also travelers and lovers of the outdoors. They both grew up in rural, “ruggedly beautiful” areas as Tony puts it, Meredith being raised near Shenandoah National Park outside Charlottesville, Virginia, and Tony in Rockwood, Tennessee near the Cumberland Plateau. This summer they will be taking the second part of an “epic” trip out west, driving across country to visit Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. 

Before leaving on their adventure the “Reynolds Art Duo” has an exhibit of their work opening on Thursday, July 5 in Conference Center Gallery in the Workforce Development and Conference Center on J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s Parham Road Campus. Their exhibit, “Recent Works” includes approximately 20 of their paintings. It will be available for viewing until Friday, August 31.

Meredith Mullins says of her work, “In the evolution of [my] current paintings, the familiar female figure is studied within the contemplative moments of feminine rituals and routines. Ideas and symbols representing femininity, motherhood, childhood, growth and change appear in my work. My intent is for the figures portrayed to invoke a sense of familiarity, reminiscent of Woman, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Partner or Wife.” Meredith’s “women” are unadorned, and she most often captures them in “quiet moments of domesticity ad reflection.” She captures their essence in their natural state, before make up is applied or hair is arranged. Meredith has an incredible artistic ability to reveal the soft beauty present at that moment.

Tony Mullins says, “I have spent the majority of my painting career wrestling with color, mark making and other formal elements, all while exploring the possibilities of abstract painting. With this new body of work, I’m pursuing these same themes, only now I have recognizable subject matter upon which to build paintings. I’m more interested in retaining the expressive qualities of the painting process than in capturing a perfect likeness. The faces and heads of my subjects are armatures, skeletons of an image upon which to slash, drip and expressively apply paint.” Tony’s paintings are explosions of color and recognizable faces – Johnny Cash, Willy Nelson, and Prince to name only a few. He uses unlikely combinations of bright blues, reds, and even greens to add shadows and lines to faces, bringing them alive beyond the canvas.

Both Mullins love teaching art and find the students’ passion fuels their own passion. Meredith says, “The most rewarding gift is the surge of creative energy that I feel after teaching studio class classes. When students grow artistically, their excitement and pride is like a shared electric current.” For Tony, “Helping art students avoid all the mistakes that I made and getting them ready for their next steps is the most rewarding. I’m a former community college kid myself so I’ve walked the same path that they’re on now.”

The Mullins have been married for 19 years and have been teaching together at Reynolds for nearly 14 years. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Goochland County Board of Supervisors Recognizes Dr. Gary Rhodes

(Goochland County, June 5) The Goochland County Board of Supervisors recognized Dr. Gary L. Rhodes, President of Reynolds Community College at their June 5th Board meeting. Dr. Rhodes is retiring September 1st after serving as president for sixteen years. On behalf of Goochland County and our citizens, thank you for your leadership and service Dr. Rhodes!

Dr. Rhodes is pictured here with Board Member Ken Peterson.

Sophak Seng Named a 

2018 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar

Seng Only Virginia Student Selected

(Richmond, Virginia – June 4, 2018) Reynolds Community College student Sophak Seng has been named an inaugural 2018 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. Only one New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar was selected from each state. More than 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,600 college campuses across the country. Reynolds student Seng was chosen out of all the Virginia students nominated.

New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. This new scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions who plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or certificate on a national scale. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa.

Seng is in his third year at Reynolds. After his first year in Reynolds’ ESL program he continued his studies with the goal of earning an AAS in Medical Laboratory Technology and an AS in Science. Seng credits his brother, a Reynolds graduate, with inspiring him to pursue his degree first at Reynolds and then to continue his education at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Seng’s passion for the field of medical technology was also fueled by losing his mother at a young age to lung cancer and experiencing his family’s financial devastation paying for her care. “Becoming an MLT gives me an opportunity to save people’s lives,” Seng says. Getting his associates degree at Reynolds will help him save money so he can continue pursuing his ultimate goal of earning a master’s degree.  

“Education can change lives and help ensure that young people can realize their full potential,” said Helen Price, executive director of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “The Coca-Cola Foundation places a high priority on supporting education to help build strong communities.”

“We congratulate Sophak for receiving this prestigious scholarship, and we are honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize his outstanding achievements,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach.”

The New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars will be recognized during the Association of Community College Trustees’ (ACCT) Congress in New York City in October 2018. 

About Phi Theta Kappa
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of college students to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations. Learn more at about PTK.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $830 million in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Paula P. Pando Will be the Next President of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

RICHMOND (May 24, 2018) – Dr. Paula P. Pando, of Atlantic Heights, NJ, will become the next permanent president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. That announcement was made today by Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. Pando’s selection concludes a national search that attracted 102 applicants.

“Paula Pando’s life is a uniquely American success story,” said DuBois. “She was very young when her family came to the U.S. from Chile. She had to learn a new language and a new culture, and she has excelled ever since. She has built an impressive career, focused on helping people find and leverage opportunity, and I expect her to be a terrific president for Reynolds Community College.”

Pando has worked in higher education for more than 21 years. She began her career in 1994 as the director of campus activities and programs at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ. Beginning in 2000, Pando worked as a consultant for a New York firm, facilitating sensitivity and diversity training, among other topics. 

In 2003, she joined Hudson County Community College, in Jersey City, NJ, as the associate dean for student services. She has since risen through the ranks, holding three different vice presidencies, including her current role as senior vice president for student and educational services.

“I am thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to lead Reynolds Community College as it approaches its half-century mark of providing the Richmond area outstanding educational opportunities, and to join the forward-thinking community college system that is the VCCS,” Pando said.

In 2017, Pando was among 38 leaders from across the country selected for the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous 10 month applied leadership program. Pando holds a doctorate from Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ; a master’s degree from Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ; and bachelor’s degree from Stockton University in Pomona, NJ.

“Reynolds was blessed to receive an array of well-qualified candidates interested in serving as the next president of the college. This made our job very difficult. We selected a person who we believe is extremely well-qualified,” said Stephen E. Baril, chair of the Reynolds Community College local board. “She received outstanding reviews from faculty, staff, community leaders, and the College Board. We are delighted that Dr. Paula Pando has accepted our offer to be the next president of our college.”

Pando will become the college’s fourth president, succeeding Dr. Gary Rhodes, who will retire on September 1 after serving in that role for 16 years.

Serving over 16,000 students annually, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is the youngest and third largest of 23 community colleges in Virginia. The College operates three campuses serving residents in the City of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan and Louisa.

Reynolds Recognizes 65 Graduates with

 Associates of Applied Science in Nursing

Reynolds recently recognized 65 students who completed the Associates of Applied Science degree in Nursing. The ceremony was held in the Lipman Auditorium of the Massey Library Technology Center and opened with a welcome by Reynolds Coordinator of Nursing Programs Elaine Beaupre and a greeting by Reynolds President Dr. Gary Rhodes. Dean of Nursing and Health Technologies and Professor of Nursing at Germanna Community College Patricia Lisk was the program speaker.

Clinical Awards were given in the areas of Fundamentals of Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing I, Maternity Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing II, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, Nursing of Children, and Medical-Surgical Nursing III. Two special awards, The Evelyn Bacon Nursing Award and the Fran Stanley Nursing Award were also given.

The Reynolds’ Nursing Program is designed to prepare students to serve as collaborative members of nursing care teams and to provide direct care to patients in a variety of health service facilities and agencies. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, students are eligible to take the licensing examination to become Registered Nurses.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Meet Meredith & Tony Mullins

The Reynolds "Art Duo"

Professors, Reynolds Art Department

Pictured here: upper left, Meredith Mullins; upper right, Meredith's painting: Kind to Everything it Touches; lower left, Tony's paining: Prince; lower right, Tony Mullins.

An exhibit of Meredith and Tony's work will open Saturday, June 30 in the Workforce Development Building Conference Center Gallery on the Reynolds Parham Road Campus.

Question: Meredith, you grew up in Charlottesville. Tony, you grew up in Tennessee. You two met while attending Savannah College of Art and Design and moved to Glen Allen when Tony came to Reynolds. How does the Richmond area compare with your home towns?

Meredith: We have grown to love it here in Glen Allen, and it is a wonderful place to raise our family. Life in suburbia is quite different from where we both grew up. I spent my childhood as a faculty “brat” on the campus of a boy’s boarding school, tucked in the foothills of the Shenandoah National Park, west of Charlottesville. We lived with students and other faculty families in a tight-knit community. Blue Ridge School is an idyllic setting; 1,000 acres of woods, ponds, athletic facilities and historic American Gothic style stone buildings. I consider my “hometown” Blue Ridge School (St. George VA) and Dyke VA which is a tiny general store/post office one mile down the road. The isolation of being in the country was balanced by the freedom to roam the outdoors. My brothers and I could take off hiking or biking and my mother would tell us to blow a whistle if we needed help. By contrast, my children have a very active social life, with exposure to more varied cultural, academic and athletic opportunities.  

Tony: I grew up close to Knoxville, TN and Richmond reminds me somewhat of Knoxville. My hometown of Rockwood, TN is a small town that is nestled between the Cumberland Plateau and Watts Bar Lake. It’s a ruggedly beautiful area though the town itself looks a bit tired and worn. Richmond is of course far more vibrant, and a beautiful city in its own right, though I do miss the mountains and desperately miss the lakes of Tennessee.

Q: Do you know if you are the only married teaching couple at Reynolds?

M: I believe so, but I’m not positive. I call us “The Reynolds Art Duo”. We have been married 19 years and teaching together at Reynolds for nearly 14 years. Tony started teaching at Reynolds in 2004 and I came on board a year later. 

T: I’m certain there have been others, but I’m unaware of another married couple currently teaching at the college.

Q: You are heading out on a special trip this summer with your three children. Please explain what makes this trip special.

M: We are embarking on our “Epic Western Trip, Part II”. We will pack up the minivan and drive across the country to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone NP and Grand Tetons NP. We plan to tent camp, ride horses, hike and hopefully avoid close encounters with wildlife. Two years ago, we camped up to Acadia ME and all the way up to Prince Edward Island and then Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada. The previous year, we camped in Yellowstone and the Tetons for the first time and realized that we would need to return to fully experience it all. These “epic” trips are a way to give our children a taste of the outdoors that was so important to Tony and I growing up. 

T: I want my kids to see the country, understand how vast our nation is and how geographically and culturally diverse it truly is. Travel expands horizons, opens minds and fires the imagination. I am fortunate that my online teaching during the summer here at Reynolds allows me to make these journeys. 

Q: You are both involved with lots of activities in addition to your professional lives as artists and teachers. How do you find and manage the time for all the things you want to do? 

M: I am the Queen of Lists. I plan ahead for work deadlines, our three kids’ activities/sports and Tony’s band practices/gigs. A decade ago we started running to model a healthy lifestyle for our children. We usually run the RVA half-marathon and the Monument 10k, along with several other local 5ks.  We train several times a week; I run in the mornings and Tony runs in the evenings.  

My family is the priority during the day, so I often paint from 8 pm - 1 am and then the next day take a mid morning nap after the kids go to school. When I’m on a roll with a painting, I try to squeeze in an hour or two in the afternoons. 

T: I rely pretty heavily on my phone calendar. I run, paint, draw, game and make music in creative spurts, focusing on one or the other as my mood or need dictates. I am a late night creative person so I’m often painting into the wee hours of my home studio (currently in flux due to our recent move) or at the college studio during office hours, between semesters, etc. 

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching art at Reynolds?

M: The most rewarding gift is the surge of creative energy that I feel after teaching studio class classes. When students grow artistically, their excitement and pride is like a shared electric current.  

T: Helping art students avoid all the mistakes that I made and getting them ready for their next steps. I’m a former community college kid myself so I’ve walked the same path that they’re on now.

Q: How have your artistic styles changes over time?

M: I still obsessively paint the figure and my style has changed very little in 25 years. Since my process is fairly laborious, I always seek more efficient ways to develop compositions and prepare surfaces so I can get painting quicker. 

T: Color and expression have always characterized what I do on canvas and paper. I bounce around from one subject to the next far more than I should, but I have an active imagination and enjoying tackling new challenges. In grad school and for many years thereafter, I was an exhibiting abstract painter who enjoyed many other subjects and techniques, but never really seriously pursued them. Today, I focus primarily on pop images of people who I find inspiring or present interesting painting opportunities. 

Q: If you could select a dream project what would it be?

M: My dream project would be to attend an artist’s retreat somewhere remote and beautiful where I could be engrossed in the environment and paint without distraction for several weeks. 

T: Somewhere in this country, there is a museum that needs colorful pop portraits of the great musicians enshrined therein. I’d like to be the artist that provides those.

Q: Do you ever work collaboratively as artists? As teachers?

M: We collaborated once to make a large mural and several life-sized figure paintings for a history museum in TN. We always work together to prepare for exhibitions - building/installing frames, painting the sides of paintings, and wiring/photographing/hanging artwork. We often counsel each other during our separate painting sessions. He points out areas that I need to refine and I tell him when his paintings are finished! 

We do not jointly teach together but since the curriculum overlaps in our classes, we often share teaching materials and project ideas.

T: Meredith and I actually work very closely in the development of content for the classes we teach. We’ve spent years working on the content for our Drawing course and Art Appreciation course.

Q: What advice do you give students pursuing a career as an artist?

M: A fine arts or commercial arts program helps students to produce a cohesive portfolio and learn professional practices. College is the perfect time for students to explore artistic styles, try out different media and discover what fuels their passion. Students can develop focus and confidence to choose their career path. In the meantime, I tell them to produce a lot of art, participate in exhibits and start an artist website. 

T: I tell them to work hard and be prepared to compete. Talent is not enough, as most people who make a living in the creative fields are ridiculously talented individuals. I also encourage them to develop their sense of persistence. You’ll be told “no” quite often, but persistence and work ethic are the keys to success, and this is probably true in most areas of life.

One other thing that needs to be said, art and a career in art goes far beyond simply making paintings and drawings. Two of the most lucrative industries in the world are stuffed to the brim with artists and other creatives; film and gaming. Far too many parents and counselors have a myopic view that an art degree leads one to the life of the stereotypical starving artist. Whether it’s the latest big budget Disney film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the latest release by a huge gaming company like Blizzard or Bethesda, those endeavors require a massive amount of creative work produced by, yes, you guessed it; artists.

Q: If you won the mega millions lottery, what would you do first with the money?

M: After essential finances were settled, I’d travel abroad each summer, letting each family member pick a destination. I would love to visit Scotland and New Zealand. 

T: Pay off the rest of the mortgage; stock some money away for the kids to go to ridiculously expensive colleges. I’d then buy a nice fishing boat, get a lifetime fishing license in Tennessee and off to the lake I’d go. I wouldn’t change my teaching schedule at all really since I love what I do. There’s a pretty good chance I’d splurge on a vintage guitar; a 50s era Gibson J-45 or J-50, and maybe 40s era Martin D-28 or D-18. I suppose I’d have to take Mere to Scotland, though we’d manage some time in Ireland while we were at it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Reynolds Receives $250,000 Grant from Dominion Energy

Reynolds receives $250,000 grant from Dominion Energy to
support culinary and workforce education opportunities in Richmond’s East End

Reynolds Community College has received a $250,000 grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation to support need-based scholarships for residents of Richmond’s East End community. 

Dominion Energy’s investment helps bring to life a vibrant extension of Reynolds' footprint, broadening access to the college’s award-winning Culinary Arts program as well as dozens of other occupational and academic programs. Construction of a new state-of-the-art facility at the corner of 25th and Nine Mile Road in Church Hill began late last year. The facility is expected to open for classes in the fall of 2019 and will double culinary enrollment capacity. It will also help develop a talent pipeline of skilled culinary and hospitality professionals critically needed in Richmond’s burgeoning food scene.

“Richmond’s restaurant industry is on fire right now, so it’s the right time to invest in the programs and people that will make our community more vibrant and livable,” said Mark O. Webb, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, Dominion Energy.

“Dominion Energy’s generous investment will help Reynolds offer education and training opportunities that lead to sustainable employment and economic security,” said Dr. Gary L. Rhodes, Reynolds President. “At the end of the day it’s really families and communities that will benefit from this project.”

The college’s new space will also serve as a key access point for career planning, financial aid, enrollment assistance and job placement. A free shuttle for all students, which will loop from the East End site to the downtown and Parham Road campuses, will ease transportation and expand career preparation options for residents. 

Reynolds has engaged numerous partners throughout the life of the project, including the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building, Virginia Commonwealth University, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, and leaders in philanthropy, small business, and the corporate and faith-based communities.

“This project is a great example of what can happen when we all work together,” said Webb. “It’s setting the stage for more great projects to come in and around downtown Richmond.”

Chemistry is EVERYTHING!

Meet Ella Thomas – Powhatan ACA

Ella Thomas is young, but she has the serious, brow-knitted focus of an Olympic competitor. Mention chemistry or the University of Virginia and instantly her serious face lights up with a broad smile and twinkling eyes. “Chemistry is EVERYTHING,” Ella says, “it’s in everything, it’s all around us.” As for the University of Virginia, that’s where she has been accepted by early decision and is headed in the fall.

Ella Thomas is one of 19 students in the first Reynolds Advance College Academy class at Powhatan High School graduating with her Associates Degree from Reynolds in May, before receiving her high school diploma from Powhatan High School in June.

These first Powhatan ACA graduates got their start in the program in 2014 when they were in the 8th grade. The Reynolds ACA programs give students the opportunity to earn an associates degree in social sciences while also earning a high school diploma in advanced studies. All 8th grade students are eligible to apply for the ACA. Once accepted students begin taking honors and AP level courses during the 9th and 10th grades and dual enrollment college courses during the 11th and 12th grades, earning a total of 60 college credits. 

While the ACA Powhatan graduates began this process four years ago with their application to the program, it was clear Ella was a candidate for such an opportunity by the time she was in 2nd grade. She was tested and moved in to a “TAG” (Talented and Gifted) program where she was told about the Reynolds ACA and encouraged to apply once she was eligible. Her early gifted programs had games and challenges, but Ella said, “I used to breeze through school.” Then came ACA, and she said, “I really had to do something. I really had to work hard. I became more independent and disciplined. My parents didn’t push. They let me do my thing, but they made sure I worked.”

Given her focused mind, Ella’s passion for science, specifically biochemistry, is understandable. “In science everything is concrete. There is a single answer to questions, it’s not open to interpretation.” She shakes her head, “History is not my thing. I like straightforward answers.” Ella’s passion for biochemistry is also personal. She would like to research and create new drugs and be involved in the process of finding cures. She has experienced healthcare first-hand and knows what it means to need drugs. Ella has cystic fibrosis.

When asked what advice she would give students thinking about applying for the ACA, without hesitation she says, “It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s a lot of hard work. But, it’s great. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do, it [the program] lets you explore lots of things and figure out what you like and don’t like. It’s very rewarding to get two years of college out of the way before the end of high school.” Is she ready for UVA? “I hope I am,” she says, followed quickly by, “I know I am.”

Reynolds ACA Career Coach at Powhatan High School Rick Cole reflected on this first Powhatan ACA cohort group, “This has been a terrific group of students who have truly chosen a road less traveled.  They were willing to take a risk and they have persevered in what is one of the most challenging programs at their high school. They have been willing to give up an easier path with the faith that their hard work would pay off as they transitioned to college. They have done extremely well and they have set a very high bar for succeeding cohorts. We have learned so much from our ACA "pioneers" at Powhatan High School. Their questions and feedback have enabled us to make several small tweaks that have resulted in a much stronger program for the classes that have followed them”.

Congratulations, Ella! Congratulations, Powhatan ACA graduates! Job well done. The entire Reynolds community wishes you the very best.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Meet Bill Ziegler – Associate Professor - English

Where did you grow up? If not Richmond, how long have you lived here, and what brought you here?
I grew up in one of the small trolley suburbs outside Philadelphia. I’ve lived in Virginia for 32 years and in Fredericksburg since 1990, and I began teaching at Reynolds in 1993. Through it all, I have striven to maintain my hometown credentials: distinctive vowels and a frequently thankless devotion to the Phillies.

You play the cello. When did you start playing? How did you decide on the cello? And, finally, do you play other instruments?
I began playing the cello as a sixth grader, mainly in some hope of making the kind of music I enjoy listening to. Cello was an easy choice; it has range and expressiveness unsurpassed by any other instrument when it’s played well. After college I left it alone for more than 30 years, but I resumed taking lessons about seven years ago. It’s hard to list all the rewards: new connections and insights into the music I love hearing; appreciation for the dedication it takes to master a skill; discovering the talents of colleagues; outlets for emotional expression. Sometimes music says what not even language can.

You are quite knowledgeable about the Reynolds grounds. What got you interested in the environment?
Growing up near a city, we rarely saw more than squirrels and common songbirds, so I’ve loved having a home and a workplace where I can find creatures I used to see only in illustrations. It’s encouraging that even in relatively developed areas we can still find wild things, from raptors to reptiles. Digital cameras let me take lots of photos without the expense of film, and I began showing them off in emails and social media as a way to say, “Isn’t it amazing what we have living around us,” hoping that others will share the appreciation and preserve the diversity of living creatures. Especially the snakes. They mostly mind their own business and get no consideration.

You are getting ready to retire from Reynolds after 25 years, 3 months, two (or three) weeks, and so many hours. What are you planning to do next?
As far as I’m concerned, “planning to do” and “retirement” are mutually contradictory concepts. I haven’t thought past trying to figure how we’ll move seven or more geriatric cats to our new home.

What do you recommend for summer reading for the Reynolds community and why? 
Recommended reading: For leisure, my first choice is the mystery genre, especially series by British writers. But I also read—and highly value, given times as they are—investigative journalism in periodicals such as Harper’s, The Atlantic, and Mother Jones.

Everyone is asked the “lottery question.” If you won the Mega Millions jackpot and had unlimited funds what would you do first?
I avoid big-prize lotteries. I want to avoid the slightest risk of taking responsibility for large sums of money. (A career in the humanities has also minimized that risk).

Reynolds Culinary Arts Student Profile

Meet Bria Crawford

What motivated you to study culinary arts?
My mom mainly motivated me to study culinary arts. My mom saw that I was passionate about cooking food at an early age. She suggested that I attend culinary school when I graduated high school. I of course resisted at the time but I now see she was right all along. 

Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am currently beginning my Externship for culinary arts and entering my final capstone class beginning in the summer semester. I am also three classes away from obtaining my pastry arts degree. 

What are you working on now?
Currently I am working with Chef Matt Harris at Travinia at Willow Lawn to develop my skills as a chef. He is training me in everything from line and prep work to the financials of running a restaurant. 

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
My favorite task as a culinary student is participating in the local volunteer events. I really enjoy networking with local industry professionals and learning about events that I never knew existed before joining the program. 

What is your favorite ingredient?
My favorite ingredient right now is alcohol. I enjoy experimenting with how the addition of alcohol can make the flavors of a dish taste more complex.

Do you have a “signature dish”?
My signature dish would be Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes with a White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce. It’s the dish that my family has me make for every major holiday. 

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?  
My immediate goal after graduation is just to continue to learn and grow under various chefs in the industry. Ultimately, I want to own several restaurants in various cities around the US. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond?
My favorite restaurant in Richmond is Secret Sandwich Society. They are a from scratch kitchen. Their pimento cheese fries with a side of roasted garlic mayo is the best!

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
If you are passionate about learning culinary or pastry arts, I believe Reynolds has the best program in Richmond. Chef Miller is very passionate about giving us the best education in the city. The program is a lot of hard work so definitely make sure that this is something that you truly want to do.

Reynolds Earns First Place in Digital Colleges Survey Awards 

On April 29 the Center for Digital Education awarded Reynolds Community College first place in the Digital Community Colleges Survey Awards, in the “Large Colleges” category which includes community colleges with an enrollment of 10,000 students or more. The Center awarded Reynolds the national first place ranking for its initiatives in digital education.

The awards reception was held in Dallas, Texas. Reynolds Vice President of Technology Dr. Mark Webster said he “enjoyed the great privilege of accepting the trophy on behalf of the college.” Dr. Webster is pictured here receiving the award from Director of the Center for Digital Education Dr. Kecia Ray.

Dr. Webster pointed out, “In their public news release announcing the winners of this national survey, the Center for Digital Education commended Reynolds for our decision to purchase laptops for faculty upon the recommendation of the Educational Technology Advisory Committee. They also applauded our program that offers students free library checkout of laptops and mobile devices, and noted how the program benefits students and helps reduce the digital divide.” 

“This was the third consecutive year Reynolds was recognized in the national top ten, and being ranked first this year is quite an honor for the college,” Dr. Webster said. “The annual survey is a good benchmark for continuous improvement, and its questions have been useful in providing guidance to Reynolds to orient technology services toward serving students while implementing best practices.”

Reynolds was also recognized for the college’s Windows 10 migration on academic computers across the college, and how the college leverages technology along with coaching to help students with developmental math though Math Central. In Reynolds submission for this survey virtually every unit at the college was mentioned in some way to describe the college’s uses of digital technology.

The Center for Digital Education’s Digital Community Colleges Survey recognizes community colleges annually for their use of technology to engage students, to collaborate with K-12 and other educational institutions, and to improve learning. Now in its thirteenth year, the Digital Community Colleges Survey analyzes how community colleges use a range of technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large. All accredited U.S. community colleges are eligible to participate in the Digital Community Colleges Survey within three classifications based on enrollment size.

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insights to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century.

Reynolds to Host MAPS Annual Member Exhibit

Reynolds Community College is pleased to announce that for the first time it will host the MidAtlantic Pastel Society (MAPS) Second Annual Judged Exhibit in the Conference Center Gallery in the Workforce Development and Conference Center on Reynolds Community College’s Parham Road Campus. The exhibit will be open from Tuesday, May 8 until Thursday, June 28.  This exhibit is an excellent opportunity for Reynolds faculty, students and staff to view soft pastels created by these talented artists. 

Show awards will be presented at a public Awards Reception to be held on Friday, May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery. The reception is free and the community is invited.

Alain J. Picard will be judging this year’s exhibit. Alain Picard is an award-winning artist, instructor, author and speaker. His acclaimed pastel and oil paintings have been exhibited throughout the US, Europe, China and the UK. Alain travels internationally as an art instructor, demonstrator, speaker and artistic advocate for the vulnerable. Alain’s work and writing have been featured on numerous occasions in such publications as The Artist's Magazine, The Pastel Journal, and Practique des Arts. Alain has written three instructional books, including “Mastering Pastel” and “Beginning Drawing,” and stars in a growing collection of instructional art videos. 

MAPS is a not-for-profit organization of over 70 members dedicated to the promotion and greater understanding of pastels as a fine art medium.  MAPS membership includes pastelists from beginner level to award-winning, nationally recognized artists. The society provides its members with fellowship, support and growth through bimonthly programs, workshops, opportunities to exhibit and other educational training.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Honors Graduate Luncheon

Pictured here from left to right: 
Honors students Nhi Vu, Meghan Clancy, Joshua Briere, Jeremiah Meadows, Honors Faculty Coordinator Dr. Ashley L. Bourne-Richardson, and Honors student Misha Yakavenka.

Reynolds Honors students graduating in May were recognized at a luncheon held on the Parham Road campus Wednesday, April 25. Honors program students and their families, Honors program faculty, key supporters, Foundation Board Members and administrators were all invited to attend and celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding graduates. In his welcome message President Rhodes gave the following impressive Honors program statistics:

  • The Reynolds Honors program has admitted 145 students since it began in Spring 2016
  • Honors students have received over $95k in scholarship funding to date
  • Reynolds Honors students have been admitted to Columbia University, Virginia Tech, VCU Honors College, JMU, Emery & Henry, William & Mary, George Mason Honors College
  • 23 Honors program students are graduating this spring; 5 are Honors Scholars, having completed 18 credits in Honors 

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kimberly Britt gave a moving message to the soon-to-be-graduates. Dr. Britt began by congratulating them on their intelligence and accomplishments, but advised that to succeed they needed more than just smarts, they would need a "tremendous desire not to fail." She offered brief profiles of Milton Hersey, Dr. Seuss, Ben Franklin, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Edison and Walt Disney as those who didn't quit, but had a burning desire to succeed in spite of all odds. She then told her own story of perseverance and it is quite a story.

Honors students Meghan Clancy, Kofi Riddick and Joshua Briere spoke, giving high praise to their Honors peers and to the Reynolds Honors faculty. Joshua Briere told the story of getting a note from Professor Barbara Lytton that said, "I am excited for your future." No one had said that to him before. He took a picture of the note so he would have it with him at all times on his phone. In their own words each Honors student echoed Joshua's final comment: "My experience in the Honors Program will always be with me wherever I go throughout my life." 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Student Essay Contest Winners

Pictured here from left to right: Reynolds Development Director Marianne McGhee with contest winners Zachary Fendley - Teacher Prep (Award: Honorable Mention), Angelo Olayvar - ESL Graduate & Social Sciences (3rd Place Winner), Ivona Biondic - Middle College Graduate & Nursing (2nd Place Winner), Taylor Jennings - Nursing (1st Place Winner), and Savannah Gornik - Human Services (Honorable Mention). 

Reynolds Student Essay Contest winners were honored at a reception Friday, April 20 on the Parham Road campus. About 30 people attended which included the winners' family members, teachers and program heads.

The Student Essay Contest is sponsored by the Multicultural Enrichment Council. For the contest, students were given their choice of three topics: What Reynolds Means to Me, Why I came to Reynolds, or How Reynolds will Shape my Future. The winning essays were chosen from more than 45 contest entries. Coincidentally, winners chose to write about what Reynolds meant to them, however their essays had elements of all three topics. 

ESL Program Coordinator, Laurie Weinberg who headed up the contest, had this to say: The Student Essay Contest has been going on for some time, but after a brief hiatus of a few years, it took off in earnest about five years ago.  The stories that students share about their life experiences and how Reynolds has made a difference in their lives never fails to bring tears to the audience’s eyes.  We have been fortunate over the recent years of the contest to attract students from a variety of disciplines at the college. This year we held the reception in the renovated Georgiadis Hall lobby with Dr. Rhodes making welcoming remarks and Marianne McGhee providing closing remarks.  The cash prizes are provided by the college Foundation Office.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Meet LaTika Lee 

Dual Enrollment Admissions Specialist, PRC

Where did you grow up? If not Richmond, how long have you lived here, and what brought you here?
I was born in the bosom of southern hospitality in the “Hostess City of the South”, Savannah, GA. Grounded in my grandmother’s Gullah (Geechee) culture which spans along the coastal sea islands dotting the coastline of Georgia and South Carolina. My blended family “migrated” to Fairfax County when I was a senior in high school, but I have lived in the Richmond area for 20 years.

How long have you worked for Reynolds? What did you do for work before you came here?
My career bookends with Reynolds employment. In the early 2000s, I worked as a “P14” in the Office of Marketing and Public Relations for nearly four years (during the transition between Dr. S.A. Burnette) when Dr. Rhodes came on board. Then, I worked at WWBT, WCVE PBS and in local newspapers. I have been with the Office of Admissions and the Office of Dual Enrollment since 2013.

What is the best part of your job? 
Making a difference in the lives of our diverse student, faculty, and staff by helping people from all walks of life.

I hear that you like to write – stories and poetry – and that you are an avid reader. Would you be willing to share one of your poems in this Profile?
My poem "Hope" is below. I "hope" everyone enjoys reading it.

What is your favorite book and why?
The Color Purple, written by Alice Walker. It was set in rural Georgia, so I could relate to its surroundings. It was published when I was about 14 years old, so it made a profound impact on how I saw the world.  Recently, I had a chance to meet Alice Walker during her visit to Richmond in early April.

What is your favorite thing to do in Richmond and why?
I love all of the cultural festivals that are here in RVA. I especially like the Richmond Folk Festival, Down Home Family Reunion Festival, Second Street Festival and the Afrikana Film Festival.

If you won the Mega Millions jackpot and had unlimited funds what would you do first?
Education is very important to me so I would be sure that my two sons have academic support and their higher education tuition is Paid-In-Full! Then, I would seek and enroll in a Master’s Degree program (debating between Social Work and History & Material Culture) and finally, I would pledge funding to my alma mater, Norfolk State University, a historically black college, and create a merit-based endowment here at Reynolds for students in need.


Rising due east
Amber light peeks through
an alluring prism
persuading morning dew to surrender … 
Waving a white flag like a ribbon in the sky. 

Today is the dawn of
a new beginning, a new season.
It’s the first week of spring but,
Intervals of grey skies c l o a k 
the Capitol City & play Hide n seek with the sun,
masking our celebration of syncopated
‘Easter on Parade’ fun.

Yet, Hope awakens, dancing skip to my lou,
Twirling loop-de-loop,
Twisting hula hoops.
Spring, you're my Muse …
I just want to take it all in
And B O O M,
bloom with you …

There’s a certain je ne sais quoi that
Nurtures my soul.
Delights me, serendipity caresses me.
Your energy invigorates me
with an aura which lures me into this
spring equinox ---
like an eclipse teetering on its axis
radiating into
An unknown abyss.

The enchantment seduces me into this
Fixation on budding irises undeterred
To PoPUp like a Jack-in-the-Box
six weeks before Mother’s Day.
But, I am intrigued by 
your mystery, 
your mastery,
your mystifying green eyes that shine
like glass marbles reflecting the light 
of a mirror that hypnotizes my soul.
I can't help but gaze and stare and 
wonder what is beyond cotton-candy hyacinths