Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Reynolds Student Named Valley Proteins Fellow 

for 4th Consecutive Year



She’s here. She’s there. She’s everywhere. "And that," says Valley Proteins Fellow Janeen McNeish, “is one of the most important keys to student success. You have to be everywhere. You have to be visible. If you want to stand out, you have to give to your school, and to your community. You have to volunteer.”

In her first year on campus Janeen was everywhere, devoting every bit of her time and energy to her studies, her college, and her community. And her philosophy paid off. It has earned her scholarships, the respect of faculty, administration and fellow students, and the latest award: the prestigious designation of Valley Proteins Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Being named a Valley Proteins Fellow is an honor earned by few. 

Consider this: of the more than 250,000 second-year students in the whole Virginia Community College system, only 10 are selected each year to participate in the Valley Proteins Fellowship Program. 

Now consider this: for the fourth consecutive year a Reynolds student has been chosen to be a Valley Proteins Fellow. 

Past Reynolds Valley Proteins Fellows are:  
Grace Swal – 2018-2019 
Donald Cooper – 2017-2018
Angela Graves – 2016 – 2017

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Janeen, she is a second year Nursing student participating in a special partnership with ODU. She will graduate from Reynolds with her associates degree along with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Her plan is to work for a year as an ICU Nurse and then apply to VCU’s Nurse Anesthesiology program so she can ultimately, “put people under.” Her plans were ambitious and rigorous even before being awarded the Fellowship. You can read more about Janeen in a previous post on the Reynolds blog.

With honor comes responsibility. “I don’t expect the Fellowship to make my life easier,” Janeen says, “what I expect it will do is reveal my role, or roles, on campus, in the community, and in my area of interest - Community Health.” While the scholarship has an approximate value of $15,000, which includes professional development, travel, networking opportunities, full tuition, books, fees, and intellectual and cultural activities, there are expectations. To strengthen their leadership skills and develop a strong foundation for future success, Fellows are expected to volunteer for 80 hours of community service during the academic year. At the same time they are required to maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average.

What’s up for Janeen this semester along with the Fellowship? “Med Surg – an important class where you learn all the illnesses, Clinicals, Nursing Information – an online class through ODU, Health Participation, and Chemistry. It’s going to be a busy year.” 

How is it possible to carry such a heavy course load, participate in a Fellowship, and work at VCU as a Care Partner? Janeen takes a deep breath and explains what sustains her.

“I live by my calendar. It doesn’t happen if it isn’t on my calendar. With the big stuff planned I can better handle all the other unexpected stuff that comes up. Like last minute changes to my schedule.”

“Support. I can’t say enough about the support I have gotten from my professors and from the administration at Reynolds. Dr. Pando and Ann Bushey have been in my corner from day one. Every time something good has happened to me, Ann has been there."

"And the professors. They are fabulous. I did not love Chemistry until I came to Reynolds and had a class with Professor S [aka Professor Sinanian]. He is a hard teacher, no doubt, but he always made time to explain everything. I came to see him one day at noon, he set aside his lunch to help me. As long as you applied yourself he would make sure you really got it, and understood Chemistry, and I really needed to understand Chemistry."

"And then there are my classmates, I have made some amazing friends here. Having great people around you can take you to the next level. They share what they know, like the information about applying for the Valley Proteins Fellowship. I tell other students now, if you want to apply, reach out to me, I will help you - you need to be thinking about it now, because now is when you have to do the work, you have to participate, and you have to be VISIBLE.”

“I’ve learned when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to opportunities. I want to do a lot, but I can’t do everything. I have to choose carefully so I have enough time and energy to give 100% to what I do. Also, I invest in myself. I take vacations when I can. Even with a little bit of time, I’ll go watch a movie, or spend time with my family, these small things keep my tank full, too.” 

Our hearty congratulations go out to Janeen McNeish. May your tank always be full.

About the Valley Proteins Fellowship

The Valley Proteins Fellows program is made possible by the generous support of Valley Proteins, Inc., a Winchester-based rendering business operating for almost 70 years throughout the US. Valley Proteins management is committed to outstanding corporate citizenship, excellent customer service, technological innovation and support for the community college mission. 

President of Valley Proteins, Inc. Gerald Smith, Jr., said, “My brother and I are pleased to support the Valley Proteins Fellows program because it provides us with the opportunity to develop a more educated and competitive Virginia.” The Valley Proteins Fellowship Program is administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. Its mission is to help promising, second-year students at Virginia’s community colleges pursue their academic goals and strengthen their leadership skills.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Reynolds Employee Profile

Anthony Peterson – Computer Help Desk Technician


Where did you grow up and what was it like? 
I grew up down the road in Petersburg. Being raised mainly by my mother, she always made sure that I kept my mind on my studies because she didn’t want me to be influenced by people who were involved with drugs and gangs. I had a lot of friends (some I still keep in touch with) and we always made sure to keep each other out of serious trouble.

How long have you worked for Reynolds? Have you been at the Help Desk the whole time? 
I’ve been here at the college for almost 11 years - and I have been at the Help Desk the whole time.

Were you always a computer whiz, or did you learn along the way? 
I didn’t start learning about computers until high school, but I became technically proficient when I joined the Air Force back in 2003.

Working with computers – especially faculty and staff with computers with problems – can be stressful. How do you calm them down? How do you keep yourself calm? 
I have to admit that working in the Help Desk is not easy at times, especially when trying to solve issues that don’t seem to logically make sense. What helps keep both myself and users sane is when I can use remote desktop to actually see what the problem is. I have to constantly remind myself to not take issues personally because at the end of the day, the user just wants to be able to get their work done and my job is to help them get it done.

What are the most challenging and most rewarding 
parts of your job? 
The most challenging part of my job is not being able to figure out why something is not working because my mindset is that every problem has a cause and a solution. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to meet people that I have talked to over the phone as we can get to know each other better.

What is the craziest computer issue you’ve ever had to resolve (please, no names, just the issue!)? 
The craziest computer issue I ever had was a few months ago when a user called saying that she could not login to the Reynolds Intranet page but could not login to her email account. I explained that even though they both use the same password, the Intranet page would not allow her to login if her password was expired, which would only be resolved through a password reset. She kept saying that she understood what I was saying but didn't understand why she could not login to the Intranet page, which confused me because her statement was a contradiction.

Long story short, after about 30 minutes of explaining the same thing over and over to her, she finally was exasperated and relented to a password reset. In trying to make her feel better, I told her that she didn't have to go through this again for another six months; whether I succeeded or not is up for debate.

If you had one extra hour a day, how would you use it? 
I would use the extra hour to catch up on some needed sleep.

What do you like to do when you aren’t being a superhero computer technician at work? 
In my spare time, I like to cook, read books, and take road trips to different places (especially places that I have never been to before).

What do like most about Richmond? Favorite places to visit? Favorite restaurants? 
I love that Richmond always has something to experience and that it’s a short drive from my house. My favorite places to visit are the Science Museum and the Redskins Training Camp. My favorite restaurants are the Olive Garden, Texas de Brazil, and Cracker Barrel.

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do with the money? 
I would pay off some bills, create a scholarship fund here at Reynolds, buy me a new house, and do some travelling across the United States in an RV.

Outstanding Scholarship Student Series:

Katherine Alloway-Roof


150 Scholarships. 427 Awards.One Application. You can do this.


Last year the Reynolds Foundation funded approximately 150 scholarships, and made awards to 427 students of all ages, backgrounds, and academic standing and interests.

We believe in you. Just like we believed in Kiersten Echols, Janeen McNeish, Katherine Alloway-Roof, and Mark AlexanderThey got scholarships to help fund their education. You can, too.



“Coming to Reynolds required a bold leap of faith,” says Horticulture student Katherine Alloway-Roof. “I didn’t even live in Richmond, and I was enrolled in another community college when I decided to pursue a career in horticulture. I did some research and found Reynolds. To attend meant I would have to leave home, move to Richmond, find another job, and really start a new life. It would be a bold move. I did it. And, I love it! And my experience here has been fantastic.”

Katherine first “fell in love with plants” when she was in high school and took a job as a cashier at a garden and landscape center. Now, in her last year at Reynolds, Katherine says, “There’s a lot to love about horticulture. The field is always evolving, with new techniques and innovations being introduced every day. Plus, plants are always going to be here. We owe them their care. I love working with plants and with people, so it’s perfect for me.”

Most of us take landscaping for granted. Grass has to be mowed, trees have to be trimmed. Not Katherine. She has a vision for how our surroundings could be different and how they could be designed to make more sense. Her work is more mission than work.

“One of my greatest challenges is working with landscape designers,” she says, “I want to encourage them to break out of the mold of using evergreens and hollies all the time. I want to show them other options that actually bloom. I’d like to see the use of more natives, perennials, and plants that attract pollinators. I really enjoy suggesting horticultural alternatives, and helping people learn about something new and different.”

In her time at Reynolds Katherine has clearly put down roots and bloomed. She says this about her experience: “One of the best parts of Reynolds is the strong support system. In my first year the advisors were really important. David Seward has been absolutely amazing and I can’t thank him enough for all the help he has given me. He knew I needed financial help and encouraged me to apply for scholarships. All the professors and the other students have been great. The whole experience has been fantastic and my leap of faith has paid off. At one point I had to move back home to Fredricksburg and commute to school, and it was still worth it.”

Katherine has been awarded the John H. Wright-Elk Hill Scholarship to help her finance her last semester at Reynolds. Right now she works full time at a local nursery taking care of the greenhouses and helping customers. She plans to graduate in December after taking a full load of classes this fall.
  
Then what? “I really like my job and want to continue working. I’ve been looking at Virginia Tech or UVA for a four-year degree in landscape architecture. Eventually I’d like to work with cities, maybe Richmond, designing green spaces. It’s so important for people to have green spaces, no matter where they live.” 

Coming to Reynolds may have been a big leap of faith for Katherine, but she has cleared her first hurdle beautifully, and has bloomed where she has been planted. She is well on her way now to making our world a little greener.

Want to apply for a Reynolds scholarship?

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and closes Sunday, March 1, 2020.

You can apply for a scholarship through the Reynolds General Scholarship Program or through the Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship Program. 

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and close Sunday, March 1, 2020. A wide variety of scholarships are available. Some are general, others are for specific programs of study, or are for students living in a particular locality. Current and prospective students can complete and submit one common scholarship application to be considered for all available scholarships. For more information visit: http://www.reynolds.edu/scholarships.

Reynolds General Scholarship Program
Reynolds Community College offers a variety of scholarships to students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Each year the Reynolds Scholarship Office awards more than half a million dollars in scholarships to eligible students. Awards can range from $100 to $4,000, with the average award being $1,500.  Reynolds scholarships are established by gifts to the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation and awarded by the Reynolds Scholarship Committee.
  
Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship

If you live in the East End of the City of Richmond or Henrico County you may be eligible for a scholarship this scholarship. With more than 90 degree and workforce programs, including culinary arts, healthcare, and other credentials for immediate employment or 4-year transfer, Reynolds has a program for you. There is no age limit. Reynolds staff members are available to help with your admission and financial aid applications. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Outstanding Scholarship Student Series:

Kiersten Echols


150 Scholarships. 427 Awards.

One Application. You can do this.


Last year the Reynolds Foundation funded approximately 150 scholarships, and made awards to 427 students of all ages, backgrounds, and academic standing and interests.

We believe in you. Just like we believed in Kiersten Echols, Janeen McNeish, Katherine Alloway-Roof, and Mark AlexanderThey got scholarships to help fund their education. You can, too.


Kiersten Echols


“I didn’t know there were so many scholarships available at Reynolds. I really had no idea I would even be eligible for one. I thought scholarships were only open to A students, or athletes, or special students. I’m not any of those things. Then I found out I was actually eligible for two scholarships. I received an award from the Nursing Endowed Scholarship. It will help me finish my last two semesters at Reynolds and get my AAS in Nursing.” Ironically, Kiersten’s grandmother and the donor of the scholarship went to Johnson Willis’s nursing school and worked together at Johnson Willis hospital as nurses.

Reynolds was a perfect choice for Kiersten. Many of her family members are involved in nursing, patient care, or emergency medicine, so nursing is, so to speak, in her blood. Perhaps most important, once she decided on nursing, she visited other larger schools and knew they weren’t for her.

“Reynolds was close to home and affordable,” she says. “Just what I wanted. The small class size and personal attention are just what I need. I have loved all of my teachers and the experience has been great. Everyone has been very helpful and they always try to work around your schedule.” In addition to classes, Kiersten works a lot of hours as a Patient Care Coordinator in a local hospital. Her work is an excellent introduction to her field.

Kiersten claims to, “not be an interesting person,” but this isn’t true. She is quiet and thoughtful. When she talks about becoming a trauma nurse, and about her current job caring for cardiac patients, it’s clear she is both interesting and interested. She cares about people and improving the quality of their lives. She is already a nurse at heart, now she just needs her education and credentials.

And, after Reynolds? Kiersten plans to continue her education at VCU and earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).  She says going in to VCU’s program will open doors for her, and with their reimbursement program, she can afford to take the next step in her education. 


And after that? The otherwise quiet Kiersten gets animated when she confesses: “VCU’s Emergency Room is my dream job!” Spoken like the true trauma nurse she is working to become.



Want to apply for a Reynolds scholarship?

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and closes Sunday, March 1, 2020.

You can apply for a scholarship through the Reynolds General Scholarship Program or through the Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship Program. 

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and close Sunday, March 1, 2020. A wide variety of scholarships are available. Some are general, others are for specific programs of study, or are for students living in a particular locality. Current and prospective students can complete and submit one common scholarship application to be considered for all available scholarships. For more information visit: http://www.reynolds.edu/scholarships.

Reynolds General Scholarship Program
Reynolds Community College offers a variety of scholarships to students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Each year the Reynolds Scholarship Office awards more than half a million dollars in scholarships to eligible students. Awards can range from $100 to $4,000, with the average award being $1,500.  Reynolds scholarships are established by gifts to the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation and awarded by the Reynolds Scholarship Committee.
  
Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship
If you live in the East End of the City of Richmond or Henrico County you may be eligible for a scholarship this scholarship. With more than 90 degree and workforce programs, including culinary arts, healthcare, and other credentials for immediate employment or 4-year transfer, Reynolds has a program for you. There is no age limit. Reynolds staff members are available to help with your admission and financial aid applications. 



Outstanding Scholarship Student Series: 

Mark Alexander


150 Scholarships. 427 Awards.

One Application. You can do this.


Last year the Reynolds Foundation funded approximately 150 scholarships, and made awards to 427 students of all ages, backgrounds, and academic standing and interests.

We believe in you. Just like we believed in Kiersten Echols, Janeen McNeish, Katherine Alloway-Roof, and Mark AlexanderThey got scholarships to help fund their education. You can, too.

Mark Alexander


“’I’m never going back to school.’ That was me when I graduated from high school,” admits Mark Alexander now entering his second semester at Reynolds. “It just wasn’t for me. It had been 30 years since I opened a textbook except to help with homework. But, from the very first day I walked through the door at Reynolds to register for classes everybody, especially Mr. Brown at the front desk [downtown campus], has made me feel like I belong here, like school is for me.”

After 15 years in a job that required him to travel constantly, Mark went to work for the City of Richmond. He started at the bottom and steadily worked his way up to a supervisory position. But, without a college education he realized he had gone as far as he could go. He still didn’t want to go back to school. Then he saw the difference in pay, and he said, “It was a no-brainer. I may have thought I was never going back to school. But, I was going back.”

While money was important, far bigger issues drove Mark’s decision. “Being a supervisor is NOT easy,” he says, “I have to deal with all kinds of people with all kinds of problems, and I don’t always know what to do. I want to learn to be better at what I do, to be a good supervisor. I really just want to help people. I want to be that person who inspires others, who helps them see things differently. I want to show them people like me are willing to help them no matter how bad their situation is. I want them to know, no matter how old they are, they can still get a job and start a career, just like me.”

Then there is his family. Mark has three children, and three grandchildren. “We don’t have step kids in our house. Everybody here is family. No labels in front of who you are. By going back to school I want to be an example to them. I want to show them that no matter what you want, if you work hard and stay focused, you can get it.” 

When Mark started at Reynolds in the spring of 2019 he took a part-time job to pay for his classes. Now working two jobs, and helping with his family, Mark still had to find time to study and get back in to the routine of school. “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and understanding I have gotten at Reynolds. Financial Aid, the Math Lab, Tutoring . . . everyone here has been so patient and so willing to share information and help me. I had begun to think no one in this world had patience anymore! No one ever made me feel uncomfortable at Reynolds. The experience has been terrific.”

And then Mr. Brown helped him again. Mr. Brown encouraged Mark to fill out the Reynolds Scholarship Application. Then, Scholarship Manager Kim Cain called him with the news. For his next semester Mark was awarded an Executive Women International scholarship. Mark takes a deep breath: “This scholarship has made it possible for me to focus on my school work. Now I can give up my second job and have some time to study and do well.” Mark’s goal is to graduate in December 2021 and walk to get his degree in May 2022.

And, after that? “I want to stay with the City and get in to a management position,” Mark says. “With a degree from Reynolds I can get ahead and do what I want to do: help people.”


Want to apply for a Reynolds scholarship?

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and closes Sunday, March 1, 2020.

You can apply for a scholarship through the Reynolds General Scholarship Program or through the Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship Program. 

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and close Sunday, March 1, 2020. A wide variety of scholarships are available. Some are general, others are for specific programs of study, or are for students living in a particular locality. Current and prospective students can complete and submit one common scholarship application to be considered for all available scholarships. For more information visit: http://www.reynolds.edu/scholarships.

Reynolds General Scholarship Program
Reynolds Community College offers a variety of scholarships to students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Each year the Reynolds Scholarship Office awards more than half a million dollars in scholarships to eligible students. Awards can range from $100 to $4,000, with the average award being $1,500.  Reynolds scholarships are established by gifts to the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation and awarded by the Reynolds Scholarship Committee.
  
Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship
If you live in the East End of the City of Richmond or Henrico County you may be eligible for a scholarship this scholarship. With more than 90 degree and workforce programs, including culinary arts, healthcare, and other credentials for immediate employment or 4-year transfer, Reynolds has a program for you. There is no age limit. Reynolds staff members are available to help with your admission and financial aid applications. 

Outstanding Scholarship Student Series: 

Janeen McNeish


150 Scholarships. 427 Awards.

One Application. You can do this.


Last year the Reynolds Foundation funded approximately 150 scholarships, and made awards to 427 students of all ages, backgrounds, and academic standing and interests.

We believe in you. Just like we believed in Kiersten Echols, Janeen McNeish, Katherine Alloway-Roof, and Mark AlexanderThey got scholarships to help fund their education. You can, too.

Janeen McNeish


“I want to put people under,” Janeen McNeish confesses with a smile. “Putting people under” is Janeen’s way of describing the years of study, dedication, and hard work – not to mention finances – it will take for her to become a Nurse Anesthesiologist.

First she has to get her BSN, then work as an ICU Nurse for more than a year, and then, and only then, can she apply for VCU’s Nurse Anesthesiology program, the number one program of its kind in the country.

But that’s all okay with Janeen. She is as bold as a lightning strike, and as focused as a laser. She has her path mapped out – with her first stop: Reynolds. 
  
Janeen came from a large family with the “healthcare gene”, but she never saw herself in that career. “I couldn’t stand the sight of blood,” she laughs, “and there I was: a full-on adult with a full-on adult job. I was doing accident investigations, and there was blood. I asked myself: ‘do I want to do this job forever?’ and decided maybe ‘blood is not that bad’ and maybe I could be a nurse.” Janeen researched her career path and came across Reynolds. “I’d lived in Richmond most of my life and didn’t know about Reynolds. It was the perfect choice.” 

In her orientation session, even before attending her first class, Janeen learned about a special partnership with ODU that would let her graduate from Reynolds with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It would be ambitious, rigorous, and expensive, but she was all in. If she was going to do it, she would give it 100%. 

Then Janeen learned about Reynolds scholarships. And, she applied. “Reynolds gave me the launch pad I needed to get to where I wanted to go. And I jumped on.” Janeen was awarded the Executive Women International (EWI) scholarship, set up specifically for older students, female and male,  who want to go back to school. The scholarship doesn’t cover everything. Janeen works long hours as a Care Partner in VCU’s Cardio-Thoracic unit, but the money will help relieve the financial burden and allow her to focus on her studies.

“In my first year at Reynolds I really put myself out there. I’d didn’t want to be known just as ‘Janeen the Nursing Student’, I wanted to make a difference while I was here. I explored everything. Career Services. Student Life. The clubs and organizations. I didn’t know anyone, then suddenly I knew everyone. I became an Ambassador, and a source of information. If you want to enjoy your college experience, I say, get involved.”

No doubt, if you ever have to be “put under,” Nurse Anesthesiologist Janeen McNeish is the one you want on the job.


Want to apply for a Reynolds scholarship?

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and closes Sunday, March 1, 2020.

You can apply for a scholarship through the Reynolds General Scholarship Program or through the Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship Program. 

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and close Sunday, March 1, 2020. A wide variety of scholarships are available. Some are general, others are for specific programs of study, or are for students living in a particular locality. Current and prospective students can complete and submit one common scholarship application to be considered for all available scholarships. For more information visit: http://www.reynolds.edu/scholarships.

Reynolds General Scholarship Program
Reynolds Community College offers a variety of scholarships to students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Each year the Reynolds Scholarship Office awards more than half a million dollars in scholarships to eligible students. Awards can range from $100 to $4,000, with the average award being $1,500.  Reynolds scholarships are established by gifts to the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation and awarded by the Reynolds Scholarship Committee.
  
Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship
If you live in the East End of the City of Richmond or Henrico County you may be eligible for a scholarship this scholarship. With more than 90 degree and workforce programs, including culinary arts, healthcare, and other credentials for immediate employment or 4-year transfer, Reynolds has a program for you. There is no age limit. Reynolds staff members are available to help with your admission and financial aid applications. 


150 Scholarships. 427 Awards.

One Application. You can do this.


Last year the Reynolds Foundation funded approximately 150 scholarships, and made awards to 427 students of all ages, backgrounds, and academic standing and interests.

We believe in you. Just like we believed in Kiersten Echols, Janeen McNeish, Katherine Alloway-Roof, and Mark AlexanderThey got scholarships to help fund their education. You can, too.


Kiersten Echols


“I didn’t know there were so many scholarships available at Reynolds. I really had no idea I would even be eligible for one. I thought scholarships were only open to A students, or athletes, or special students. I’m not any of those things. Then I found out I was actually eligible for two scholarships. I received an award from the Nursing Endowed Scholarship. It will help me finish my last two semesters at Reynolds and get my AAS in Nursing.” Ironically, Kiersten’s grandmother and the donor of the scholarship went to Johnson Willis’s nursing school and worked together at Johnson Willis hospital as nurses.

Reynolds was a perfect choice for Kiersten. Many of her family members are involved in nursing, patient care, or emergency medicine, so nursing is, so to speak, in her blood. Perhaps most important, once she decided on nursing, she visited other larger schools and knew they weren’t for her.

“Reynolds was close to home and affordable,” she says. “Just what I wanted. The small class size and personal attention are just what I need. I have loved all of my teachers and the experience has been great. Everyone has been very helpful and they always try to work around your schedule.” In addition to classes, Kiersten works a lot of hours as a Patient Care Coordinator in a local hospital. Her work is an excellent introduction to her field.

Kiersten claims to, “not be an interesting person,” but this isn’t true. She is quiet and thoughtful. When she talks about becoming a trauma nurse, and about her current job caring for cardiac patients, it’s clear she is both interesting and interested. She cares about people and improving the quality of their lives. She is already a nurse at heart, now she just needs her education and credentials.

And, after Reynolds? Kiersten plans to continue her education at VCU and earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).  She says going in to VCU’s program will open doors for her, and with their reimbursement program, she can afford to take the next step in her education. 

And after that? The otherwise quiet Kiersten gets animated when she confesses: “VCU’s Emergency Room is my dream job!” Spoken like the true trauma nurse she is working to become.



Janeen McNeish


“I wanna put people under,” Janeen McNeish confesses with a smile. “Putting people under” is Janeen’s way of describing the years of study, dedication, and hard work – not to mention finances – it will take for her to become a Nurse Anesthesiologist.

First she has to get her BSN, then work as an ICU Nurse for more than a year, and then, and only then, can she apply for VCU’s Nurse Anesthesiology program, the number one program of its kind in the country.

But that’s all okay with Janeen. She is as bold as a lightning strike, and as focused as a laser. She has her path mapped out – with her first stop: Reynolds. 
  
Janeen came from a large family with the “healthcare gene”, but she never saw herself in that career. “I couldn’t stand the sight of blood,” she laughs, “and there I was: a full-on adult with a full-on adult job. I was doing accident investigations, and there was blood. I asked myself: ‘do I want to do this job forever?’ and decided maybe ‘blood is not that bad’ and maybe I could be a nurse.” Janeen researched her career path and came across Reynolds. “I’d lived in Richmond most of my life and didn’t know about Reynolds. It was the perfect choice.” 

In her orientation session, even before attending her first class, Janeen learned about a special partnership with ODU that would let her graduate from Reynolds with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It would be ambitious, rigorous, and expensive, but she was all in. If she was going to do it, she would give it 100%. 

Then Janeen learned about Reynolds scholarships. And, she applied. “Reynolds gave me the launch pad I needed to get to where I wanted to go. And I jumped on.” Janeen was awarded the Executive Women International (EWI) scholarship, set up specifically for older students, female and male,  who want to go back to school. The scholarship doesn’t cover everything. Janeen works long hours as a Care Partner in VCU’s Cardio-Thoracic unit, but the money will help relieve the financial burden and allow her to focus on her studies.

“In my first year at Reynolds I really put myself out there. I’d didn’t want to be known just as ‘Janeen the Nursing Student’, I wanted to make a difference while I was here. I explored everything. Career Services. Student Life. The clubs and organizations. I didn’t know anyone, then suddenly I knew everyone. I became an Ambassador, and a source of information. If you want to enjoy your college experience, I say, get involved.”

No doubt, if you ever have to be “put under,” Nurse Anesthesiologist Janeen McNeish is the one you want on the job.


Mark Alexander


“’I’m never going back to school.’ That was me when I graduated from high school,” admits Mark Alexander now entering his second semester at Reynolds. “It just wasn’t for me. It had been 30 years since I opened a textbook except to help with homework. But, from the very first day I walked through the door at Reynolds to register for classes everybody, especially Mr. Brown at the front desk [downtown campus], has made me feel like I belong here, like school is for me.”

After 15 years in a job that required him to travel constantly, Mark went to work for the City of Richmond. He started at the bottom and steadily worked his way up to a supervisory position. But, without a college education he realized he had gone as far as he could go. He still didn’t want to go back to school. Then he saw the difference in pay, and he said, “It was a no-brainer. I may have thought I was never going back to school. But, I was going back.”

While money was important, far bigger issues drove Mark’s decision. “Being a supervisor is NOT easy,” he says, “I have to deal with all kinds of people with all kinds of problems, and I don’t always know what to do. I want to learn to be better at what I do, to be a good supervisor. I really just want to help people. I want to be that person who inspires others, who helps them see things differently. I want to show them people like me are willing to help them no matter how bad their situation is. I want them to know, no matter how old they are, they can still get a job and start a career, just like me.”

Then there is his family. Mark has three children, and three grandchildren. “We don’t have step kids in our house. Everybody here is family. No labels in front of who you are. By going back to school I want to be an example to them. I want to show them that no matter what you want, if you work hard and stay focused, you can get it.” 

When Mark started at Reynolds in the spring of 2019 he took a part-time job to pay for his classes. Now working two jobs, and helping with his family, Mark still had to find time to study and get back in to the routine of school. “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and understanding I have gotten at Reynolds. Financial Aid, the Math Lab, Tutoring . . . everyone here has been so patient and so willing to share information and help me. I had begun to think no one in this world had patience anymore! No one ever made me feel uncomfortable at Reynolds. The experience has been terrific.”

And then Mr. Brown helped him again. Mr. Brown encouraged Mark to fill out the Reynolds Scholarship Application. Then, Scholarship Manager Kim Cain called him with the news. For his next semester Mark was awarded an Executive Women International scholarship. Mark takes a deep breath: “This scholarship has made it possible for me to focus on my school work. Now I can give up my second job and have some time to study and do well.” Mark’s goal is to graduate in December 2021 and walk to get his degree in May 2022.

And, after that? “I want to stay with the City and get in to a management position,” Mark says. “With a degree from Reynolds I can get ahead and do what I want to do: help people.”



Want to apply for a Reynolds scholarship?

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and closes Sunday, March 1, 2020.

You can apply for a scholarship through the Reynolds General Scholarship Program or through the Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship Program. 

The Scholarship Application opens Sunday, December 1, 2019 and close Sunday, March 1, 2020. A wide variety of scholarships are available. Some are general, others are for specific programs of study, or are for students living in a particular locality. Current and prospective students can complete and submit one common scholarship application to be considered for all available scholarships. For more information visit: http://www.reynolds.edu/scholarships.

Reynolds General Scholarship Program
Reynolds Community College offers a variety of scholarships to students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Each year the Reynolds Scholarship Office awards more than half a million dollars in scholarships to eligible students. Awards can range from $100 to $4,000, with the average award being $1,500.  Reynolds scholarships are established by gifts to the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation and awarded by the Reynolds Scholarship Committee.
  
Community Highlight: Reynolds East End Scholarship
If you live in the East End of the City of Richmond or Henrico County you may be eligible for a scholarship this scholarship. With more than 90 degree and workforce programs, including culinary arts, healthcare, and other credentials for immediate employment or 4-year transfer, Reynolds has a program for you. There is no age limit. Reynolds staff members are available to help with your admission and financial aid applications.