Tidewater Community College’s Educational Foundation announced today that it has established a program designed to boost the number of women and minorities graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The TCC Women’s Center STEM Promise Program, a philanthropic effort, will start with the 2017-18 academic year. The foundation’s initial investment will cover 100 percent of tuition and fees for 30 high-performing students.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe attended the announcement today on TCC’s Norfolk Campus. Other dignitaries in attendance included Virginia Secretary of Commerce Todd Haymore; Nathalie Molliet-Ribet, Virginia’s deputy secretary of education for higher ed; and Vice Chancellor Sharon Morrisey of the Virginia Community College System.
“This is a really big deal for TCC and for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the governor said. “We are sending a very strong message to employers around the globe that we are open for business but most importantly, we are making sure more women get into these STEM fields.”
He called TCC “the greatest community college in the United States of America.”
Gov. McAuliffe said that last year the commonwealth had 149,000 open tech jobs. “Let’s be crystal clear, we have to fill them here, so they don’t go to another state,” he said. “TCC is connecting education with jobs that exist.”
TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said earlier, “We have come to associate the word ‘promise’ with free college education because of such programs as the Tennessee Promise.
“TCC is not just making a promise,” she said. “We’re making a commitment.”
President Kolovani noted that TCC listens to employers’ needs and responds with the academic programs and training they need to build their workforce.
“Demand for workers with skills in the higher paying STEM fields is expected to continue to outpace demand for non-STEM workers over the next decade,” she said. “We want to prepare our workforce to meet immediate and future needs.”
“This is what the foundation is all about. It’s a gift to be here,” said Mike King, chair of TCC’s Educational Foundation Board. “A TCC education opens many doors.”
The new scholarship program is named for the TCC Women’s Center because its initial funding is from a bequest in 2011 from the estate of Alexsandria Manrov of Norfolk in honor of her late daughter, Dr. Alexsandria Manrov. Dr. Manrov, who taught science at TCC for many years, died in 1997 at the age of 54.
“Alex considered TCC her family, and her mother wanted to honor that and make sure some young women would be able to benefit from her estate,” John Thomas, a long-time family friend, said at the time. Since then, the college has annually awarded Manrov Scholarships for women in STEM.
The critical need for diversity in the STEM workforce drove the college to expand the pipeline of STEM students. “Tech industries say they need a diverse workforce, yet 84 percent of the science and engineering workforce is white or Asian male,” President Kolovani said.
She noted, however, that anyone may apply for the program.
TCC alumna Carol Curtis, owner of the general contracting firm NOAH Enterprises, talked about her journey to success, which began at TCC. “I came to TCC to study accounting but found my passion in dirt and concrete and switched to civil engineering technology,” she said. “I encourage all young people to discover what they love because once they do that, success will follow.”
The TCC Women’s Center STEM Promise Scholarship will pay the full cost of tuition for up to four semesters.
To be eligible, a student must
- be eligible for in-state tuition;
- have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher; and
- place into College Composition (English 111) and College Algebra (Math 158) or higher.
Scholarship recipients must enroll as full-time students in one of these programs:
- Associate of Science in Engineering
- Associate of Science with Specialization in Computer Science
- Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
The degrees transfer to many programs at four-year institutions. Transfer students may be eligible for the Two-Year Transfer Grant from Virginia’s Community Colleges, which provides up to $3,000 a year for STEM students who transfer to particular Virginia public universities.
Those interested in donating to support the program should contact James Toscano, executive director of the TCC Educational Foundation, at 757-822-1015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.