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.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Student Expo 2019

During the three April days of the Student Expo 2019 over 500 visitors came to the Reynolds Libraries to catch a glimpse of what Reynolds students learn, think about, and do in their classes. 188 student projects were on display, representing 24 courses and the combined efforts of 338 students

If you missed the Expo, you can view additional photos in the Expo photo album. Be sure to look for the video of the Rocking Crib.

A big "Thank You" to the following faculty members for their support:
Janet Aams, Maxie Cannon, Sylvia Clay, Rachel Jascizek, Karen Layou, Gretchen Mandley, David Minoza, Karen Neal, Jill Newbauer, Carolyn Parrish, Mary Penzer, David Pippin, B.T. Pryor, Anthony Roe, Stephen Sowulewski, Karin Stretchko, Christopher Thomas, Shalini Upadhyaya, Mike Vaughan, Piumini Wanigasundera, Sheryl White.

Congratulations to the following 
“People’s Choice” winners:

The Downtown Campus Expo had a three way tie:
“Life Cycle of a Butterfly” – CHD 120 
Student: Joszette Eddy; Instructor: Sheryl White

“Diabetes”NSG 200
Students: Tamika Coleman, Courtney Lund, Sarah Motley, Dominique James, Shannon Ennis and Stephen Ford; Instructor: Jill Newbauer

“Need Sleep?” – NSG 200
Students: Whitney Lewis, Courtney White, Belle Kazikewe, Kaylyn Sullivan, Tamara Turner, Kathleen Cumiskey, Katrina Woodson
Instructor: Jill Newbauer

Goochland Campus Expo
“Airplane” – WEL 155
Student: Turner Parrish; Instructor: Mike Vaughan

Parham Road Campus Expo
“Brain Match” – BIO 102
Student: Aaron Czerniawski; Instructor: Karen Neal  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Community College Philanthropists Honored with 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

Pictured here left to right:
Bess Littlefield, Executive Director, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation;
Dr. Paula Pando, Reynolds President;

Sabine Neumann; Mitch Haddon, Foundation Board President

Richmond – The Virginia Community College System and Chancellor Glenn DuBois presented Mitch Haddon and Sabine Neumann, of Richmond, Virginia, with the 14th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. They were nominated for the award by Reynolds Community College.
Mr. Haddon and Ms. Neumann were recognized along with two dozen other individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia for their exceptional support of Virginia’s Community Colleges. The awards were presented at a luncheon sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education in Richmond on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019. As part of the award, each college will be given funds for the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, to be named in honor of the college’s 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient.
Now in its 14th year, the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy recognizes outstanding leaders who have helped support Virginia’s Community Colleges and their respective foundations. This year, among those to be honored are four members of VCCS faculty, all of whom have made contributions that have helped their colleges and their students grow. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of more than $18 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.
The CEO of ColonialWebb, Mitch Haddon serves as the President of the Educational Foundation Board and is an alumnus of Reynolds. He and his wife Sabine established a nursing scholarship and have been instrumental in fundraising for The Kitchens at Reynolds.

Donald Graham, keynote speaker and Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company and Co-Founder of TheDream.US, spoke about the importance of Virginia’s Community Colleges and the ways that the philanthropists have contributed to the Commonwealth.

“We are in this room today to tell you, whether you work for one of the colleges or have given to one of the colleges, that what you are doing is absolutely right,” Graham said during his remarks. “I am so proud of this crowd for what you’re doing, and I hope you are proud of yourselves and your fellow donors and of the leaders and teachers at the community colleges you serve.”

Recipients of the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy:

BLUE RIDGE                                Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. Bowman
CENTRAL VIRGINIA                    Donna Schewel Clark Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
DABNEY S. LANCASTER            Stephen and Donna Vaughn
DANVILLE                                     Danville Kiwanis Club Foundation
                                                       Lions Club of Danville Foundation
EASTERN SHORE                        Tom and Page Young*
GERMANNA                                  Mary Jane Pitts O’Neill
J SARGEANT REYNOLDS           Mitchell F. Haddon and Sabine Neumann
JOHN TYLER                                Amsted Industries
LORD FAIRFAX                            The Jenkins Family – Russell, Elta Rae, Rodney and Karen
MOUNTAIN EMPIRE                     Ralph T. and Shirley M. Fisher
NEW RIVER                                  Dr. and Mrs. Lee Wheeler
NORTHERN VIRGINIA                 Dr. Glenn Fatzinger
PATRICK HENRY                         The Harvest Foundation
PAUL D CAMP                              Charles R. Henderson, Jr., Bank of America Foundation     
PIEDMONT                                    H. Gordon* and Mary Beth Smyth
RAPPAHANNOCK                        Rick and Sue Farmar
SOUTHSIDE VA                            Microsoft                               
SOUTHWEST VA                          Mary W. Lawson
THOMAS NELSON                       Newport News Shipbuilding
TIDEWATER                                  Stanley Black & Decker
VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS                 David and Schéry Collins
VIRGINIA WESTERN                    Maury and Shiela Strauss Family
WYTHEVILLE                                Floyd and Hilda Jonas
VFCCE                                           The Petters Family Foundation

*honored posthumously

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 241,000 students each year. For more information, please visit

About the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education:  Working hand in hand with Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education seeks to guarantee financial assistance to all students who dream of attending college. The foundation is building an endowment that is already generating interest to provide full scholarships to selected community college students; helping more Virginia foster youth pursue and complete higher education through the Great Expectations program; and leading a partnership to improve rural Virginia’s education pipeline through the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative. Learn how the Virginia Foundation for Community College is building the future of Virginia. Visit

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Meet Reynolds Culinary Arts Student

Vanessa Lorenzo

What motivated you to study culinary arts?
My culinary interest has been on hold for many years because I was pursuing a different career. I started writing about food and recipes back in 2015 and it’s been a good creative outlet. However, I wanted to know more. My motivation to study culinary arts was to have an in depth knowledge of cooking, baking, and food entrepreneurship.

Where are you in your culinary studies?
This is my first semester at Reynolds and was previously at Virginia College/Culinard.

What are you working on now?
Several things. Homework and Projects which appear to be the trademark for a full time Reynolds student. I’m always working on improving my website which mostly features Filipino Food or its ingredients. I’m looking into upcoming book events I can attend for The New Filipino Kitchen Cookbook and Stories which I am a part of. Lastly, trying to balance a healthcare career while making time for school and possibly a new job in baking.

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
My favorite is when our class is in the kitchen lab cooking. I get to practice basic kitchen skills and learn a lot of new things from the Chef. A classroom setting has always been challenging for me. When our class is in the kitchen and applying what we’ve learned in the classroom, then that’s always a favorite.

What is your favorite ingredient?

Do you have a “signature dish”?
Chicken Curry - it's the dish I've cooked the most for friends and family.

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
I would like to be a recipe developer or a Pastry Chef. I’m actually still discovering what avenues I can follow while studying culinary arts. Everyone thinks I want to have my own restaurant but it takes a village to build one. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond? 
That’s a tough one. I would say Tiny Victory and Perch since it features what Filipino Food, which is not mainstream in the US, can evolve into.

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
I've learned so much in my short time at Reynolds and can't wait to learn more. Cooking and Baking is just the tip of the iceberg since there's a lot more moving parts to any business related to food. I quickly realized as a student that the culinary program at Reynolds will not just teach you the skills of cooking or baking but will give you the essential tools to make it in the culinary industry.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Meet Maria Pointdexter

Coordinator, College-Wide Professional Development 

Reynolds Human Resources

Where did you grow up and what was it like? 
I grew up in the East Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, PA. The neighborhood was and remains one of the most amazing neighborhoods I’ve ever experienced. As children, my brother, sister and I played outside with the neighborhood kids and a ‘mom’ was always watching. We lived about 1.5 blocks away from Carpenter’s woods. In the summer we would collect salamanders in the creek and in the winter we would sled through the trees on treacherous hills. It is amazing no one ever broke anything. Lots of fun and fond memories.
How long have you worked for Reynolds, where did you work before you came here? 
I started working at Reynolds in February of 2006. Prior to Reynolds I worked as an elementary school administrator in Washington, DC helping faculty integrate technology into their lessons. 

What is your typical day like in Human Resources?  
Extremely busy. The Office of Human Resources at Reynolds is proud to offer the best customer service possible, which means every question or need is addressed as quickly as possible. You’d be surprised at how frequently the phone rings or someone just pops in to ask a ‘quick’ question. As Coordinator of professional development I design and conduct training on various topics. I attend a lot of meetings to ensure the college’s training needs are met. I’m currently working on designing online training modules for different training topics. My overarching goal is to help the faculty and staff at Reynolds shine professionally.

What are the most challenging and most rewarding parts of your job? 
The most challenging part of my job is accomplishing everything I’d like to accomplish.  The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the light go off during a training session and receiving thanks from trainees who appreciate what I do.

What is your favorite book or movie, and why? 
I love reading fiction and non-fiction. Any story that transports me to another time and place will always be my current favorite. I’m currently reading Kindred by Octavia Butler, which is excellent. She is an amazing author. I also love The Color Purple, Beloved, Song of Solomon, I know why the Caged Bird Sings and anything by Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright and Earnest Gaines. The Red Tent, Kite Runner, The Fire Next Time and Freeman are on my list too. A Reynolds librarian recently recommended The Glass Castle which I’ve added to my list. As you can see I could go on and on. My favorite movie is the Sound of Music. I love musicals.

What is your favorite activity outside of your work at Reynolds? 
Spending time with family and friends.

What do like most about Richmond? 
It’s small enough to feel like a town, but large enough to have options for anything you might want.

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do
with the money? 
Call the Reynolds Foundation office and set up a scholarship.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Meet Culinary Arts Student

Daniel Bishop

What motivated you to study
culinary arts?

I was motivated to venture into the Culinary field because I have always loved cooking. It’s the only job I have found satisfaction in. I’ve been told numerous times that I should open my own restaurant and I’m now on my journey to make this a reality. My end goal is to open my restaurant and have people come together with smiles and full stomach.

Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am in my first lab semester and nearing the end now. It has been awesome and exciting to be able to produce and learn new things. I like the professionalism that comes with it and has really helped in my workplace as well.

What are you working on now?
Currently, I am working towards becoming an Assistant Kitchen Director at my current job, Burgerbach. I am also trying to figure out a more exciting signature dish.

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
My favorite task is definitely being in lab. I get to produce new recipes and improve upon them. I also get to have actual Chefs taste my food and give me criticism on my dish which is super helpful. Also, being able to cook with ingredients I’ve never seen or used is such a privilege and I enjoy it a lot.

What is your favorite ingredient?
As a student, I’m still finding new ingredients that I like or dislike. I don’t necessarily have a unique favorite, but I’d have to say chicken because of it’s versatility.

Do you have a “signature dish”?
My signature dish is a Korean dish known as Bibimbap or Kimchi Jigae.

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
Once I graduate, I’d like to travel and grasp other cultures foods. I believe this will give me a better understanding of all people and hopefully gives me more ideas for my restaurant ideas.

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond?
This is a tough one because I’ve only lived in Richmond for about 2 years and I tend to either cook at home or eat at work. I will give honorable mentions to Sen Organic because their Master Pho bowl was fantastic.

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
I would tell them, “Do it if you have the passion and drive to perfect food. It’s a great program and I feel that the Chefs do care about your success.” If you’re hungry to learn and improve your culinary skills to the next level, this is where to be.

Reynolds Community College Leader 
Selected as a 2019-2020 Aspen Presidential Fellow

40 Exceptional Leaders Tapped to Participate in 
Highly Selective Program Amid Looming Shortage of Community College Presidents

Dr. Kimberly Britt, vice president of academic and student affairs at Reynolds Community College, has been selected by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program to join the 2019-2020 class of the AspenPresidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a leadership program aimed at preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success, both in college and in the labor market.

Dr. Britt and the 39 other Aspen Presidential Fellows will embark on a 10-month fellowship beginning in July 2019. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the fellows will work with mentors – current and former community college presidents – who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students throughout their careers. Fellows will also learn from national experts about ways to harness data to assess student success outcomes, strategies for internal change leadership, and how to create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, and employers.

The Aspen Presidential Fellowship responds to a specific and growing need for a new generation of leaders who are well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of community college presidents plan to retire in the next decade. The pathway to replace them has traditionally excluded women and people of color. The incoming class of Aspen Presidential Fellows is 65 percent female and non-binary, 43 percent are people of color, and their institutions vary widely in size and location.

“Evidence shows that substantial improvements in student success are achieved only when presidents have the commitment and skill needed to lead change within their institutions and through partnerships in the community,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “These fellows have been chosen because they embody that commitment and, we believe, will build their skills even further to become transformational presidents.”

Dr. Britt was selected through a rigorous process that considered her abilities to take strategic risks, lead strong teams and cultivate partnerships, and focus on results-oriented improvements in student success and access.

For a bio of Dr. Britt and a list of the 2019-2020 class of Aspen Presidential Fellows, visit:

* * * 
The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, College Futures Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.