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STEM Scholar Program grads on their way to four-year schools with associate degrees in hand

Robert Sutton found friends and resources at Tidewater Community College, but perhaps the best part of all is the passport his associate degree provided.

After graduating with his Associate of Science in Engineering, Sutton leaves TCC debt-free and bound for Virginia Tech this fall. Sutton and four others who were recipients of the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program Scholarship, graduated on May 13 at TCC’s 68th Commencement Exercises.

“The engineering community at TCC was a wonderful community to be connected with,” Sutton said. “The resources in the H Building (the Advanced Technology Center) were amazing, and the professors were absolutely phenomenal.”

robert sutton
Robert Sutton with chief academic officer Corey McCray
Kasen Martel
Kasen Martel earned his Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

When Sutton graduated from Ocean Lakes High in 2017, he didn’t get accepted into Virginia Tech’s prestigious engineering program. He planned to attend TCC given the college’s transfer agreement with Tech, but learning of the STEM Promise Program scholarship – which pays for two years of tuition and includes specialized support from dedicated advisors.

Sutton, accepted into the initial cohort of 10, appreciates the foundation Professor Kenny Grimes laid early on. “He helped me get off to a really strong start,” said Sutton, planning to pursue his bachelor’s in civil engineering.

The four other May 2019 STEM Scholar grads, Katherine Synowiec, Deloren Perry, Deven Singleton and Kasen Martel, will transfer to Old Dominion University.

Katherine Synowiec
Katherine Synowiec will intern with VDOT this summer.

Synowiec remembers the day she learned she was selected for the program. “I was left utterly speechless,” said the Salem High grad. “The scholarship really helped my family and me. We were thrilled to hear that my time at TCC would be financially covered, which allowed us to exhale. It allowed me to focus on my studies and not stress about the challenges of paying for college.”

Synowiec, interning at VDOT this summer, plans to complete her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.

Perry, who earned her Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology with a Specialization in Cyber Security, appreciated the extra guidance.  “My favorite part of the program was the check-ins,” said the graduate of the STEM Academy at Landstown High. “They were really encouraging to help us push through during the middle of a semester.”

Singleton leaves TCC with his Associate of Science in Engineering with plans for a bachelor’s in electrical engineering.

Deven Singleton
Deven Singleton is planning a future in electrical engineering.

“I really enjoyed how personal the professors can be,” he said. “You also get to know your classmates really well, and it was a great experience to begin my education. You save loads of money and get a quality education.”

Deloren Perry
Deloren Perry earned her associate in information technology with a cyber security specialization.

Martel, who came to TCC from the STEM Academy at Grassfield High, graduated with his Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He will pursue a bachelor’s in the same field.