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Studying at TCC will help this marine electrician advance in her career

Sopheap BumgarnerName: Sopheap Bumgarner

Age: 30

Hometown: Newport News

Degree: Sopheap earned an Associate of Science in Social Sciences in 2011. She will complete her Associate of Applied Science in Maritime Technologies by December 2014.

Employment: Marine electrician for AMSEC, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries since 2009.

Why Tidewater Community College: Sopheap enrolled in the maritime technology program to enhance her skills and position herself for increased opportunity within her company. After TCC, she plans to continue studying at Old Dominion University. “TCC is a stepping stone,” Sopheap said. “I have the background as an electrician, but I want to learn the business aspects so I can move up in the company.” While she learned to be an electrician in the Navy, she said, “The Navy only teaches you, but it’s mainly how to fix stuff. They don’t give you the background or really an in-depth understanding. That’s what TCC gave me. The more I learned the theory behind everything, the more I’ve been able to enjoy my job.”

What she liked about TCC: “I’ve taken classes on every campus. I really love the Beach Campus. The people, the teachers were awesome, especially the apprenticeship teachers. They’re prior service, so they get you; they understand you. They can connect with you. You talk about your sea stories and you learn what not to do. That’s great. I got a lot of help from Professor Thomas Stout. I never had him as a professor personally, but he was always there to help the apprentices. He knew me, but I was never in his class. That’s awesome.”

Advice to a potential student: “It’s going to be tough at first. Don’t quit in the beginning because it’s hard. Once you get past a semester, you’ll be OK. In the beginning, it’s all books, but then it becomes hands on.”

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