Tidewater Community College recognizes eight students who were named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic Team.
Each of the nominated students hold a grade-point average of at least 3.5 and have outstanding achievements both in and outside the classroom. All are members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, symbolizing excellence in higher education and a commitment to students.
The honorees are Thomas Babcock and Catherine Doherty of the Chesapeake Campus; Stephanie Checchia and Patrick Collis of the Norfolk Campus; Robert Hiles and June Hill of the Portsmouth Campus; and Camille Gonzales and Ashley Lockwood of the Virginia Beach Campus.
These students and others from Virginia’s Community Colleges will be recognized during an awards luncheon held April 22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Richmond.
Babcock graduates in May with an Associate of Science in Engineering and plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to pursue his bachelor’s in engineering. Last fall, he became the college’s first STIHL Scholar, earning him $5,000 from STIHL Inc. He is founding president of the Science and Technology Club at TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, a chemistry tutor in the Learning Assistance Center and a former senator for Student Government Association. “TCC has helped me decide my future route and also establish a new way of solving problems in complex areas. I’ve gotten so much help from my professors that it’s hard to put into words my thanks to them,” Babcock said.
Checchia graduates in May with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences and will transfer to Virginia Wesleyan College in the fall. She will study psychology and focus on geriatric care. As a non-traditional student, Checchia said, “TCC was a good place to transition from the business world to an academic environment. My class schedules were flexible enough to accommodate my family and other commitments.”
Navy veteran Collis graduated in December 2014 with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences and is studying counseling/human services at Old Dominion University. “TCC helped me realize a more detailed picture of my potential,” he said. “The staff and faculty saw something in me and would not let me quit. Everyone treated me like family – from my professors, to staff to people in the disability services office – they all made me feel appreciated for being a student here.”
Doherty will graduate in May with an Associate of Science and will transfer to East Carolina University for her bachelor’s in nursing. She hopes to work in an intensive care unit and become a nurse anesthetist. “TCC has helped me become a more confident and independent student,” she said. “I’ve gained important study tools and the knowledge I will need for my future degrees. While working up to three jobs and being a full-time student, I’ve learned to manage my time wisely. I ultimately learned that if you work hard, you will succeed.”
Gonzales will graduate in May with her Associate of Science and plans to transfer to either the University of Virginia or Old Dominion to pursue a master’s in nursing. Just 18, she moved to the United States with her family two years ago and is grateful TCC helped her make the transition to a new culture. She is a student ambassador on the Virginia Beach Campus and chapter treasurer for the campus PTK chapter. “TCC has truly been essential in molding me into becoming an extraordinary individual,” she said. “TCC prepared me well for the bright future that is in store for me, has opened countless doors of opportunities and has brought me a step closer to achieving my dreams.”
Hiles will graduate in December with an Associate of Science in Engineering. Currently employed as a design tech at CDI, Hiles will transfer to Old Dominion to pursue mechanical engineering. “TCC helped me by making my education affordable,” he said.
Hill graduated with an Associate of Applied Art in Photography and continues to take classes at TCC’s Visual Arts Center toward a specialization in pre-art therapy. She plans to transfer to Old Dominion to work toward a bachelor’s in studio arts. “I love the art school and the convenience of all the campuses,” she said.
Lockwood graduated in December with an Associate of Science in General Studies. She has relocated to South Carolina and plans to pursue her bachelor’s in nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina. “TCC had really good teacher-student interaction because of the small class size,” she said.
Virginia is one of the 37 states participating in the State Academic Teams project introduced in 1994 as a way to provide scholastic recognition to Phi Theta Kappa members while promoting excellence at two-year colleges.