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One student chosen for Top-Ten Team in Virginia

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (April 27, 2010) – Celebrating academic excellence and community involvement, Tidewater Community College recognizes six students honored as part of the All-Virginia Academic Team: David Harter, Moriah DiFernando, Corey Lipp, Mia Martie, James Reed and Trinidine Wissen. The 2010 All-Virginia Academic Team boasts 52 students from two-year colleges across the state. They were honored at a luncheon in Richmond by college presidents and the Virginia Community College System.

Of the TCC six, David Harter, a 31-year-old Norfolk resident, also won a spot on the Top-Ten Team for student nominees in Virginia. In addition, he was selected as a 2010 Coca-Cola National Finalist, based on rankings in the All-USA Academic Team competition.

Focused on a new path, Harter came to TCC with a bachelor’s degree in hand, but with a keen interest in preparing for a career in solar energy development through engineering science and physics. He has made straight-As while earning his engineering associate degree (May 2010). Active on campus, Harter took part in the new online math club and writes for the student paper. He also serves as president of the Engineering Club and was a student leader during TCC's local victory at Canstruction 2009, a national competition that brings in thousands of canned food
items for the Foodbank.

Headed next to Virginia Tech for a degree in engineering science and mechanics, Harter earned his first bachelor’s degree in theater arts: technical design from the University of Pittsburgh and spent several years working in that field. “I enjoyed theatre involvement, and have always been drawn to the technical, mechanical side of it,” says Harter. “After many years volunteering with environmental organizations, I realized I wanted to use my mechanical aptitude in the solar energy field. TCC was the right place to get started – now I’m off to Tech, transferring into the exact program I want.”

David Harter Moriah DiFernando Corey Lipp
David Harter
Moriah DiFernando
Corey Lipp
Mia Martie James Reed Trinidine Wissen
Mia Martie
James Reed
Trinidine Wissen

Homeschooled through high school, Moriah DiFernando, 20, of Norfolk graduates from TCC this May with an associate degree in science and hopes to continue working with nature, specifically plants. While at TCC, DiFernando worked at Norfolk Botanical Garden and developed a real love for making things grow and teaching others about plants and gardening. She expects to pursue a bachelor’s degree when the time is right.

Politically minded, Corey Lipp, 21, of Chesapeake plans to further his political science studies by pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Mary Washington. While at TCC, Lipp earned a 3.9 grade-point average (May 2010). A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Lipp served as vice president of leadership and was involved in charitable events including Save the Bay and Island Preserve. Ultimately, Lipp hopes to attend law school as a precursor for a law career.

Mia Martie of Suffolk graduated with honors in December 2009, earning her associate degree in science. While at TCC, Martie served as president of the Portsmouth Campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Martie transferred to Old Dominion University (ODU) this year to continue her studies, majoring in biology with a minor in criminal justice. She studies alongside her husband, who is in the ROTC program at ODU.

After earning a TCC associate degree in culinary arts in 2009, James Reed of Chesapeake continued his studies at TCC as well as Norfolk State University, working toward a second degree in hospitality management. He hopes to open his own restaurant specializing in southern cuisine. An honors student, Reed served as president of the Norfolk Campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and mentored students through the Open Door Project. He also served as president of the Culinary Arts Club. Reed’s other volunteer pursuits include the Foodbank, American Cancer Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Bethany Baptist Church.

A Navy wife for 24 years, Trinidine Wissen of Portsmouth enrolled at TCC when her 19-year-old twins started college. She graduates this May with an associate degree in business administration and plans to further her education at ODU studying marketing and management. While at TCC, Wissen shared her time tutoring students in accounting and math at the Portsmouth Campus Learning Assistance Center. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Wissen also volunteered for Student Government Association activities. She plans to work with her husband in a newly launched woodworking business.

Phi Theta Kappa (the national honor society for two-year colleges), the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, community college presidents and community college state associations sponsor All-State Academic Team ceremonies in 37 participating states; Virginia’s celebration took place April 21 in Richmond. Students nominated to the national All-USA/All-State Academic Teams comprise the All-State Academic Teams.


Laurie White

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - will serve a projected 47,000 students in 2009-10. The 15th highest associate-degree producer in the nation, TCC offers more than 150 programs including business administration, culinary arts, general studies, modeling & simulation, network security, nursing, and automotive technology. Among the fastest-growing two-year institutions in the United States, TCC was founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System. The college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk’s theater district, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth, the Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake, and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit