Free Health and Wellness Expo set for September 12 at Paul D. Camp Community College’s Workforce Center

Diabetes has touched the lives of so many people we know. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one out of every three children born in this country after 2000 will be directly affected by the disease.
An upcoming free event is focused on educating people and raising awareness about diabetes. The annual Victory over Diabetes Health and Wellness Expo is slated to do just that on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center, 100 North College Drive, Franklin.
“Diabetes kills more people in this country each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined,” said Avanti Allen-Benson of the ADA. “Although thousands of people have been diagnosed with the disease, there are many other people who may have it and not even know.”
The event will feature activities for the entire family, including health screenings, healthy food sampling, Zumba, wellness information and presentations. In addition, the children can enjoy the bounce house or touch-a-truck activity, which provides a hands-on opportunity for them to be up close and personal with rescue vehicles they may have previously only read about. A complimentary lunch will be provided by Subway and door prizes will be awarded.
“We are excited to partner with the American Diabetes Association and the Western Tidewater Health District to offer such an important event for the public,” said PDCCC Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. Renee Felts. “We hope people will make it a family day, come out and enjoy themselves while learning valuable information related to the disease.”
No registration is required. For more information, contact Allen-Benson, 757-424-6662, ext. 3277 or


Paul D. Camp Community College Success Coach Sandra Walker leads by example

Sandra Walker~Walker recently earned Doctor of Education degree~
Sandra Artis Walker will tell you she came from “humble beginnings.”
“I will never forget what my mother, Mary Artis, always told me and my siblings: ‘It doesn’t matter where you start; it’s where you finish,’” Walker said. “She has been a major influence in my life.”
Her mother’s poignant words helped spur her desire to learn.
After six years in the doctoral program at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn.,
Walker recently successfully defended her dissertation, “The Role of Local History in the Curriculum at a Rural Southeastern Community College,” and earned a Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Adult Learning. She completed the program with a 4.0 GPA.
“This is quite an accomplishment for anyone, but especially for someone like Sandra, who did this while working a full-time job,” said Dr. Alan Harris, counselor on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus and supporter of Walker. “We are extremely proud of her.” Harris was a staunch supporter of the first generation student throughout this leg of her educational journey, encouraging her and helping her “see around the corner,” according to Walker.
Born in Southampton County to a farming family, Walker’s father was African-American and her mother was Native American. Walker moved to Newport News, along with her two siblings and mother, at a very young age. “My mother always encouraged us to express pride in the heritage of her parents, who were both Native American.”
“My mother always pushed education,” the PDCCC College Success Coach said. “She didn’t have a high school diploma, but she would always find ways to be involved in our education. She walked to our schools for our PTA meetings and served as PTA president at one of our schools. I was so proud when she earned her GED.”
An 11-year veteran of the Army, Walker concluded her military service working in the National Security Agency (NSA) and later, the Pentagon, assigned to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Defense Information Systems Agency-DISA). She returned to Southampton County, living in Sedley to be closer to her family.
“It was the first time I had to ask for help,” she said. “I was recently divorced, I had no job and I had an asthmatic child,” she said. “I had GI Bill benefits, but it didn’t cover food or healthcare for my daughter, who was in elementary school at the time.”
Walker applied for benefits at Southampton County Social Services and was further encouraged by the social worker, Marnita Hucks, to get as much education as possible. Walker enrolled at PDCCC, but really wanted to complete a degree from Western Illinois University (WIU). Long before any articulation agreements were in place, PDCCC’s Veterans benefits specialist Barbara Edwards collaborated with WIU’s Veterans representative to ensure Walker took the appropriate classes that would transfer. She graduated with a bachelor’s from the general studies program at WIU with a minor in Family and Consumer Sciences in 2007 while working up to two part-time jobs.
“I met Dr. Patsy Joyner while I was enrolled at PDCCC,” said Walker about the now retired vice president for Institutional Advancement. “She is the reason why I continued on to finish the master’s and doctoral programs. She refused to let me be mediocre.”
Walker completed, with distinguished honors, a Master of Science in Postsecondary Education (Foundations) in one year by following an accelerated schedule from Troy University in Montgomery, Ala.
Prior to her current position of college success coach, Walker has served at PDCCC as library technician, tutor and On Ramp program career coach. She partners with the college’s Upward Bound and Student Support Services programs to provide information about college survival skills and scholarship resources, and established the Spanish Basics Learning Community at the college. She has worked in numerous other positions, including as Education Director, Tutor Coordinator and Program Leader of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Virginia in Franklin. She has received a multitude of awards and conducted numerous presentations.
Her daughter, Olivia, just graduated from the PDCCC nursing program in May and is already working in her field of study.


Paul D. Camp Community College expands opportunities in heating, ventilation and air conditioning

For the first time, Paul D. Camp Community College is offering heating, ventilation and air conditioning classes to high school dual enrollment students beginning this fall semester.
“We expect at least seven students from Franklin High School to be enrolled in the program,” said Dual Enrollment Coordinator Jeanette Pellegrin. “We’re extremely excited about this new partnership that will allow high school students to learn a trade in a field that has so many job opportunities. Students who successfully complete the program will graduate with a set of skills that should make them very hirable right away.”
HVAC is a one-year, 24-credit program where successful completers earn a Career Studies Certificate in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
“The student is then prepared to take the EPA Refrigerant Handlers Certification test, which is a nation-wide credential that is essential for HVAC technicians,” said Industrial Trades Lead Faculty Richard Baker.
According to Baker, this will also be the first time that HVAC classes will be offered during the day, which will provide more options to students. “The classes are open for the public to take as well,” he said. “And since it is a 24-credit course, general students may apply for financial aid to assist them with the cost.” Pellegrin noted that the dual enrollment students will not need to apply for aid because Franklin High School has partnered with the college to offer dual enrollment classes at no tuition charge to the student.
HVAC classes are offered on the Franklin and Hobbs Suffolk campuses beginning Sept. 8. Seating is limited. For more information, contact Baker, or 757-569-6729.


Two sessions of beginning digital photography class to be held at Paul D. Camp Community College in Suffolk and Smithfield

The Paul D. Camp Community College Division of Workforce Development will offer a digital photography class for beginners, titled “Get More from Your Camera,” at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus, 271 Kenyon Road, and PDCCC a Smithfield, 253 James Street. Both classes will be taught by award-winning photographer Shirley Whitenack.
The class in Suffolk will be taught on Wednesdays, from September 16 to 30, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The cost is $105. The session to be taught in Smithfield will be on Thursdays, from Sept. 17 to Oct. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $115
“Participants will learn about the amazing things your camera is capable of that you never knew were possible,” said Whitenack.
The instruction will cover basic camera mechanics, selection of film type, shooting modes, automatic focus, manual focus and flash. Exposure, shutter speeds, f-stops, ISO, white balance, metering modes, and impact of light direction will also be discussed.
“There will be opportunities for outdoor shooting and take-home assignments to reinforce classroom instruction,” said Whitenack.
The registration deadline is September 14. For more information, contact the Workforce Development Office, 757-569-6050, or log on at


Paul D. Camp Community College Practical Nursing students earn pins

PN Pinning Group webA special ceremony was held recently to recognize the students who have completed the Practical Nursing program at Paul D. Camp Community College. Celebrating this momentous occasion at the college’s Regional Workforce Development Center from left, are: nursing faculty members Lucy Little and Kimberly Lowe, students Haley Dixon of Franklin, Meghan Bridgers of Woodland, NC, Alexa Lilley of Suffolk, Samantha Dowd of Boykins, Jessica Ortiz of Franklin, Anndrea Wilson of Carrsville, and nursing faculty Stephanie Lockhart (faculty lead of the program) and Courtney Darden. Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, vice president of Academic and student development, and Debbie Hartman, dean of Nursing and Allied Health, were among those who spoke during the program.


Paul D. Camp Community College celebrates allied health students

The Department of Nursing and Allied Health at Paul D. Camp Community College held a ceremony July 29 at the Regional Workforce Development Center to recognize the students who have completed the Nurse Aide and Medication Aide programs.
Nurse Aide GroupCelebrating their accomplishments, above from left, are the 2015 Nurse Aide group Jasmine Anderson of Franklin, Bonnie Burns of Franklin, Heather Boyce of Suffolk, Instructor Cheryl Drake, Joy Pallone of Franklin and Kiana O’Neil of Franklin.
Below from left: the 2015 Medication Aide group Sharnae McClenny of Franklin, Susan LaRose of Suffolk, Instructor Dawn Womble, Diamond Mason of Franklin, and Patrice Freeman of Franklin.Medication Aide web Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady, vice president of academic and student development, served as guest speaker at the event.
For more information regarding allied health programs at the college, contact Christel Archer, 757-925-6315. Applications may be found at Fall 2015 classes begin Aug. 21.


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