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From here, go to work in Administrative Support Technology

Many of TCC’s certificate programs and associate degrees lead to immediate employment or in some cases, employment while you’re still in college. We will be featuring these on an occasional basis in our series “From here, go to work.” Here’s a look at one option.

Here’s how: Earn an Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Support Technology and apply for Pathways, an internship program at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).

What’s the AST degree? The classroom is called “The Firm,” a hands-on environment that prepares students for today’s high-tech office, ideal for a future as an administrative or executive assistant or office manager.

“I had a great experience at TCC,” said Melissa Smail, who transitioned from stay-at-home mom to management analyst at NNSY after graduating with the AST associate in 2009. “I learned about business etiquette, administrative skills and how to deal with day-to-day office issues. The skills I learned here helped me move up to where I wanted to be.”

“I was amazed at all the ages, creeds, ethnicities and so on that I went to classes with at TCC,” said Kim Harris, who went from working at a grocery store to being an administrative assistant at NNSY. “It made me feel so much better about continuing my education at such a late age.”

About the Pathways Internship: The partnership between TCC and NNSY attracts high-achieving students to federal service. Debra Dart, program head for TCC’s administrative technology associate, recommends students, who are paid while they continue their education. Afterward, dependent on their abilities, they become direct hires with opportunity for advancement that includes higher wages.

“I wouldn’t dream of working anywhere else,” Harris said. “NNSY has forced me to push myself to go beyond the average daily duties required.  I am not only an administrator here, I have become my division’s ‘den mother,’ the person everyone in my department comes to for help.”

“I love the pay!” added Leah Luzunaris, a 2011 graduate, now working as a financial management analyst. She’s reached GS-12 status after starting as a GS-4.

“Once you get inside the shipyard, you start laying the groundwork for your future,” said Willy  Standokes, a retired Navy veteran who earned his associate at TCC in 2011. He works in the same office as Luzunaris.

A phrase to remember: “Like the slogan says, ‘From here, go anywhere.’ You can go anywhere,” Smail said. “You really can!”

Information: Contact Dart at