NASA research opportunity provides Paul D. Camp Community College student experience of a lifetime

Lilly and Dr WohlLilly Balderson made a significant impact on the research project to which she contributed this summer at NASA’s Langley Research Center. She is co-inventor of a pending patent application and a co-author of a conference paper. She is seen here at graduation from the 10-week summer opportunity with her advisor/mentor NASA Senior Research Surface Scientist Dr. Christopher Wohl.
At one moment, 20-year-old Lilly Balderson was on her way to NASA’s Langley Research Center for a golden summer opportunity to conduct research. Ten weeks later, she was already recognized as a co-inventor on a pending patent.
A former resident of Wakefield, Balderson was a neuroscience major at Stony Brook University in New York. A change in circumstances led her to return to Virginia, where she ultimately enrolled at Paul D. Camp Community College with plans to eventually continue her studies at another local four-year university.
“I never knew that attending PDCCC was going to be one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. Balderson learned of the NASA STEM Takes Flight opportunity at Langley Research Center from fellow student Jeremy Williams, who was selected for a summer experience in 2017 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Once the opportunities opened, she was further encouraged by PDCCC instructor Nancy Warren to apply.
According to Balderson, she spent June 4 through Aug. 10 working on the ICE project at Langley, where she worked on the research, development and testing of new coating materials that prevent ice adhesion.
“Specifically, I worked on developing aromatic systems with aliphatic multifunctionalities,” she explained. “I had the opportunity to incorporate a multitude of nanomaterial additives from graphene derivatives to rubber particles. I subjected my samples to a multitude of tests and further extrapolated coating generations from my data.”
Balderson has since enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, where she has relocated. Her advisor at NASA, Senior Research Surface Scientist Dr. Christopher Wohl, was quick to tout the impact she had on the project.
“Lilly has an exciting and bright future ahead of her,” he said. I think VCU will benefit as a result of having her at their university and the Virginia Community College System should be very proud of the education and enthusiasm they have fostered in her.”
According to Wohl, the new technology report that will include Lilly as a co-inventor will be titled, “Durable Contamination Resistant Coatings.” In addition, an abstract, “Reinforcing Additives for Ice Adhesion Reduction Coatings,” will list her as co-author and be submitted to the Annual Meeting of the Adhesion Society, which will be held in February 2019.
Balderson, previously immersed in the medical sciences prior to this experience has changed her educational direction. “I plan to go to grad school for engineering instead of medical school,” she said. “This experience solidified my love for chemistry and has opened so many doors for me. At VCU, I will be developing 3-D printer ink to make a specialized robotics arm over the next year, also other inks to help with other projects varying from biomedical to nuclear engineering.”
The VCU student is currently pursuing chemistry with a concentration of professional chemist. From there, she plans to earn a Ph.D. in some aspect of chemical engineering. While she is not sure exactly where she wants to work in the engineering field, Balderson is sure that she loves being in the lab.
“My exact focus of engineering isn’t clear yet, but I really love the chemical science behind the brain. I hope to find a field pertaining to that possibly. I do know that I want to return to NASA and do more materials research.”
The Richmond resident is very grateful for her time spent at PDCCC and the fact that it lead her to the research opportunity at NASA.
“My mentor was phenomenal and really let me incorporate my ideas into the project,” she said. “This was a completely life-changing experience. I strongly encourage everyone with a science background to apply. I never imagined I would be at NASA and now, my career is rooted in it.”


PDC mental Monday

Drew PageSpeaking above is Drew Page.
Drew Page and Chuck Worth spoke with PDC athletes on the first mental Monday.
Mental Monday’s are for athletes to grow outside the field and hear about being better citizens and people of character and integrity.


Free College Night event set at Paul D. Camp Community College

Paul D. Camp Community College is gearing up for its annual College Night. The event will be held Tuesday, October 2, 2018, from 7:00 to 8:30 at the Regional Workforce Development Center, 100 North College Drive, Franklin.
“This is a great opportunity for participants to see what area colleges, universities, and technical and trade schools have to offer,” said Dean of Student Services Trina Jones. “We are anticipating more than 60 institutions to have representatives join us that evening.”
In addition to the informational booths, if anyone is interested in assistance with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), help will be available prior to College Night, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., in the computer lab at the Workforce Development Center.
It is recommended to allow up to an hour to complete the filing process. Attendants are asked to bring all tax and income information for 2017 for students and parents in order to file for assistance.
Registration is not required. For more information, call Nicole Jordan at 757-569-6797 or Chris Ricks at 757-569-6719.


Paul D. Camp Community College graduates Fast Track Welding students

Welding graduates2018 Fast Track Welding graduates are: kneeling, Rafus Smith. Standing from left: Tammie Bell, Khiry Reese, Derek Kindred, Heather King-Rodriguez, Xavier Goodwyn, Alexander Emerson, Joshua Payne and Heather Beck.
Paul D. Camp Community College’s Division of Workforce Development recently graduated its 2018 cohort of the Fast Track Welding program.
According to Director of Workforce Development Angela Lawhorne, the program’s focus is on marine welding for shipyards and also includes the testing needed for the American Welding Society (AWS) national certification.
“This 4-week intensive hands-on program costs $3,000,” said Lawhorne. “However, there are many grants and scholarships available to include the FastForward Workforce Credentials Grant (WCG) and the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI), which may cover the entire cost of tuition.
“There has never been a better time for workforce training. There are numerous area employers looking for people with these credentials, and we are excited to be able to meet the needs of both job seekers and employers.”
For more information regarding Fast Track Welding, log onto


Ann Pinner receives Professor Emeritus

Ann PinnerPinner, above, after receiving the honor. – Photo by Dr. Sandra Walker
Ann Pinner, retired associate professor at Paul D. Camp Community College, was recently honored with Professor Emeritus, an award bestowed upon her by the Local College Board and presented by Vice President of Academic and Student Development Dr. Tara Atkins-Brady.
In 2005, Pinner was hired for the newly established nursing program and created Paul D. Camp’s Nursing Student Association.
On the recommendation of Atkins-Brady and PDCCC Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Debbie Hartman, Pinner’s longtime and committed service to the college, students, her profession, and the community led to her recognition as a lead instructor, faculty liaison, student advocate, mentor, advisor, and program evaluator.
Pinner has exemplified leadership, professionalism, and commitment to quality education, high standards and integrity; and dedication and commitment to student success.
She played an integral role in leading the nursing team to attain the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accreditation.


Free craft show at Paul D. Camp Community College will assist Upward Bound students

Group-at-VUUThe students regularly visit other college campuses in the area, such as Virginia Union University in Richmond.
The perfect gift may be closer than you think. Instead of going out-of-town to choose your holiday gifts, let the artisans bring items to you during the 7th Annual Christmas in Our Hometown Craft Show.
The show will be held on Saturday, October 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center, 100 North College Drive in Franklin. Proceeds from vendor registration fees and raffles during this free event will benefit students in the Upward Bound program at the college. The program has recently begun a partnership with local crafter Shirley Billups, who has had successful shows in the past.
Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program that is focused on assisting low income and/or first generation high school students in grades 9 through 12 with successfully completing postsecondary education. Students receive assistance with tutoring, resources, support, college processes and the PDCCC Dual Enrollment program.
Additional funding from the indoor craft event will allow the program to provide even more significant experiences for the students.
“While academics is a priority, we like to ensure that our students are well-prepared in all aspects of college and life in general through activities, such as financial workshops, cultural experiences, college visits, summer component offerings and educational seminars,” explained PDCCC Upward Bound Director Travis Parker.
Statistics show that the Upward Bound program has been effective in helping students succeed in their academic and career goals. Implemented in 2008, the program touts 65 current high school participants and another 60+ participants currently enrolled full-time in college. There are eight participants currently enrolled in a master’s degree program and one in a PhD program.
“Thirty-six participants have completed an associate’s degree, 25 have earned a bachelor’s degree, and three have attained a master’s degree.—all in less than nine years of the program’s inception. That’s pretty significant.”
For more information about the PDCCC Upward Bound program, contact Barbara Strylowski at or 757-569-6764. Vendors are needed. Those interested in registering for a 10 by 10 booth space may contact Billups at 757-620-5499.
Diamond-Jones-Haleigh-Andrew-Amari-T-Long-Angel-Padilla-Tatiyahna-Blakely-Ashlyn-EdwardsDual Enrollment Upward Bound students Diamond Jones, from left, Haleigh Andrew, Amari T. Long, Angel Padilla, Tatiyahna Blakely and Ashlyn Edwards at PDCCC in May, where they graduated from college before high school commencement.

Dinae-Jones-Layla-Barnes-Alan-Diggs-Jr-Tashera-BarrettIncoming Upward Bound students Dinae Jones, from left, Layla Barnes, Alan Diggs Jr. and Tashera Barrett volunteer to help during graduation.


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