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Nursing grads passionate about providing quality care

Jennifer Froscher and Tahani Amareen are soon to be proud Tidewater Community College Nursing graduates. They started in the program during the pandemic, desiring to help their community when the need was great.

Their cohort, which usually has 60 students, started with 29 because of the limited clinical spots available in busy hospitals. They are among 22 nursing students graduating this December.

Jennifer Froscher on the Portsmouth Campus.

Jennifer Froscher’s story

Jennifer is following her mother and grandmother into nursing.

“I was in second grade when mom started nursing school. She’d bring me to lectures and I’d color or read while she learned,” Jennifer said. “It made an impression when she became a nurse at 41.”

Jennifer, too, is on track to become a nurse at 41. This December she will walk the stage during fall commencement and earn an Associate of Science in Nursing.

“The nursing program is extensive because you have to be able to understand what is happening to people physiologically to be able to help them,” she said. “There were a lot of tears that first semester. I had to change my critical thinking process and learn to think like a nurse.”

For the past decade, Jennifer has worked in the health professions, first as an Emergency Medical Technician and later as a Nurse Aide. She currently works as a Care Partner at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in the neurology Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

TCC’s nursing program includes clinical rotations in area hospitals and clinics. Jennifer completed her training at Sentara as a nurse in training in that ICU unit.

“I’m so thankful to get this degree. I’m prepared to go into the workforce and be a competent nurse,” she said. “That’s absolutely critical when you are dealing with people’s lives.”

Jennifer says that her education was very personal and her professors were dedicated to her success. “Your professors know you and can tell you exactly what to work on to become proficient,” Jennifer said.  “And while they can be tough, they match that with great caring and professional experience.”

Jennifer has already been offered a full-time nursing position in the ICU where she currently works.

“I’m excited to get started,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been everyone’s kid sister and now I get to be a nurse working with people I enjoy in a place I’m very comfortable. It’s a real gift.”

Tahani Amareen’s story

Tahani Amareen near at TCC’s nursing school.

While Tahani was on Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth Campus working on her Associate of Science in Science, she met a lot of students who were in the nursing program.

“I started thinking about my path and I could see myself as a nurse. So, I completed one degree and started again,” Tahani said.

Fast forward two years and Tahani, 22, is earning her second degree – this one in nursing. She is concurrently working on her bachelor’s in nursing through Old Dominion University.

A native of Palestine, Tahani came to the United States when she was eight. When it was time for college, she followed her brothers to TCC, where they both earned Information System Technology degrees.

“I think it’s important to give back to the community and help out as much as possible,” she said. “With the nursing shortage, I know I’m definitely needed.”

The Chesapeake resident says that she was a little nervous about her clinical rotations at the start. “It’s a little nerve racking going in with no experience, but each opportunity helped me gain confidence in working in the hospital setting.”

Tahani is planning to work on a medical-surgical unit to start but would one day like to work with children. “I’m passionate about this work,” she said. “I look forward to being a helping hand in the community.”

Tahani and Jennifer in the medical simulator on Portsmouth Campus.

Computers for Student Success – a win-win for students

Tidewater Community College student Daniele Sparks is ready for classes to start next month. This week, she visited Computers for Student Success and picked up a newly refurbished personal computer at no cost.

“I always told myself that I’d go back to school when my son started pre-school,” she said. “The time is now, but with everything getting so expensive, I can’t afford to buy a computer. This is a real gift.”

Lee Grimm, Blake Nietling, Gary Noah, Erin O’Meara, Eduardo Jimenez, Matthew Walsh and Sal Trinidad with TCC’s Computers for Student Success.

Computers for Student Success is run by TCC’s Computer Club and Professor Gary Noah. It launched in 2009 and has distributed close to 15,000 computers since the start.

“When we provide computers for students in need, they are very appreciative. I gave the first 150 computers away myself. I’ve seen a lot of thankful tears,” Noah said.

He continued, “To a single parent who has no computer, getting one can mean the difference between success and failure. Students can’t make it to the computer lab or library because of work and childcare needs. Sometimes they don’t have cars. We’re getting rid a barrier for them.”

Computers for Student Success is wholly supported by donations from individuals and the community  including Sentara Healthcare and Stihl Co.

TCC’s Computer Club members rehabilitate and update the older or in-need of repairing PCs and laptops and get them into the hands of students, families and nonprofits in Hampton Roads.

Jolina Santiago with her laptop from TCC’s Computers for Student Success.

“I’m so grateful for my new laptop. Without it, I’d have to drop my summer classes,” said Jolina Santiago, a TCC student who recently lost her car and home.

Computers for Student Success is taking applications now for Fall Semester. TCC students are encouraged to request a PC or laptop early as fall is the busiest time for the volunteer team. To start the process, use this form.

In addition to its service to the community, the club provides valuable hands-on experience to Computer Club members, many of whom are working toward Computer Science, Information Systems Technology or Cyber Security degrees at the college.

Computers for Student Success staffer Lee Grimm with volunteer Matthew Walsh.

“This is a great way to serve our community while gaining experience repairing computers and working as a team,” said Lee Grimm, who helps Professor Noah run the program.

Although Computers for Student Success volunteers are mostly IT students, anyone is welcome to join the volunteer team.

Volunteer Salvador Trinidad shows Daniele Sparks how to use her new PC.

“I like computers and diagnosing problems,” said Salvador Trinidad, a TCC student volunteer in business management. “My favorite part is helping students learn to use their new computers. My goal is to make it really user-friendly with no jargon.”

Noah added, “We’ve had some students who received a computer come back to volunteer and pay it forward for another student in need. We have stacks of computers to work on and everyone is welcome.”

More than 120 volunteers work with Computers for Student Success which is open Monday – Friday from noon to 5 p.m. The eight-room office is located in the Lynnhaven building, room E108, on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Computer Science Professor Gary Noah with stacks of refurbished PCs.

“We know the work we’re doing is changing lives. That’s why we are here 51 weeks of the year,” Noah said, standing in front of a wall of computers and thank you notes from grateful students.

For more information about Computers for Student Success, contact Noah at

Students receive support to stay on track at TCC

Tidewater Community College’s recent advertising campaign features the tagline, “We’re Here to Help.” And it’s true! TCC has helped thousands of students with internet access, free laptops, tuition assistance and emergency financial help.

By the numbers

Help came in many forms including:

  • A total of 1,029 students received internet access support.
  • More than 1,400 first-time college students and others received a free laptop.
  • A total of 3,589 students were helped with tuition assistance.
  • Emergency financial assistance was given to 115 students, providing help with critical needs.

Here’s what students are saying

Roschone Anderson-Felton was homeless and in need of food. TCC helped her with rent, utilities and connected her with the Community Feed at TCC for needed meals, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. She also received a free laptop and internet access through a program with Cox Cable.

Rocshone Anderson-Felton

“I went from having my own apartment to sleeping in my car or at other people’s homes. I washed up in McDonald’s. If I had not had TCC in my corner, I would not be anywhere near where I am. I have grown tremendously through the blessing of TCC. TCC is not just a school. It’s my family. I have a support network here – everyone from Dean Chestnut to the people of Open Door and the financial aid team.”

Anderson-Felton is well on her way to earning a human services degree. She has a job at the City of Chesapeake Department of Human Services. She also has a new apartment.

Christopher Petrice is at work on his Information Systems Technology degree thanks to a scholarship from TCC. He also received a free laptop.

Christopher Petrice

“The people in Open Door Project have put me on the road to a better future. They’ve been there to lend support every step of the way. If I’m stressed, they listen and provide strategies to help me balance school and work,” he said. “Also, the free laptop has been a lifesaver as I can plan out my studies better not having to go to the computer lab during the limited hours I’m not at work.”

Susan Brown-Clukey is a bus driver for a local school district. When her husband faced medical challenges that put him out of work, Brown-Clukey went back to school to pursue a higher-paying career. The mom of six is now at work on her associate degree in cyber security. She is using the G-3 scholarship which means, “Get a skill. Get a job. Get ahead.”

Susan Brown-Clukey

She also received a laptop and a hotspot and encouragement from the Student Resource and Empowerment Center (SREC). “I can now do school in between my runs, right on the bus. I don’t have to worry about a Zoom being dropped or losing what I’m working on when the internet goes out. I really appreciate the people at the SREC that helped keep me going. My son is also a TCC student and together we are going to finish TCC and from here go anywhere!”  

More information about The Community Feed at TCC is available at Additional information about the Student Resource and Empowerment Center is available by emailing Melvilyn Scott at

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.

Your certificate in network infrastructure along with your certifications can take you places in growing IT field

As a network infrastructure specialist, you’re a problem solver who enjoys troubleshooting challenges that range from login issues to an entire system being down.

As the computer system’s architect, the network infrastructure specialist is adept at creating, altering and managing a company’s hardware and software.

It’s not just a job for the present. It’s a career for the future.

As companies modernize their IT infrastructures, they face a host of obstacles related to keeping it running efficiently to meet business demands. The need for network technicians is increasing with starting salaries in excess of $60,000 per year.

Tidewater Community College’s Career Studies Certificate in Network Infrastructure will jumpstart your career in this burgeoning field where earning certifications are integral to success. Completing the 28-credit certificate prepares you to sit for the Cisco Certified Network Associate exam, which provides a rapid path for new IT professionals to advance in security.

Being able to secure a network properly is critical given constant hacking threats to private data. “To secure it, you have to know how it works,” said Professor Gregg Tennefoss, program head for network infrastructure certificate.

“I like the hands-on nature of it,” said student Daniel Force, earning the certificate along with his Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology. After he graduates next fall, Force plans to go directly into the workplace either as a network technician or as an entry-level engineer.

All his credits stack into the associate program.

All of the introductory classes for the certificate are online. Courses in software design and Java programming are part of the curriculum.

The final semester includes ITN 295 or Internet of Things, a new class that focuses on fast moving technologies.

“In simple terms, everything and everybody will be on the Internet from lightbulbs to health monitoring,” Tennefoss said. “The class will delve into the devices and software that allow the average person to actually create and program these devices.”

laser cutter
A laser cutter in TCC’s new maker space

Students in the course use TCC’s new maker and hacker space on the second floor (H-206) of the Advanced Technology Center on the Virginia Beach Campus. Inside the dynamic space, students will find 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, electronics equipment, computers and a plethora of tools to advance their projects.

“It’s a world of diversity in here,” Tennefoss said. “Anything you can think of, you can make.”

Then you take. What you make is yours to keep.

The hacker space is a lab for students to practice their offensive and defensive cyber security skills in a sandbox environment where freedom to experiment is encouraged.

Both spaces are ideal for peer learning and open to all staff, faculty and students – not just those enrolled in the network infrastructure program. TCC’s coding club meets there on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.

It’s also an ideal location for students to study for the CCNA certification, said Tennefoss, who often staffs the space and is available for assistance.

For further information on the network infrastructure certificate or about the maker and hacker space, contact

Maker and hacker space hours are as follows: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays 3:15-5:30 p.m.; Fridays 6-9 p.m. Additional hours will be added.

An associate degree is all she needed to land dream job at Armada Hoffler

Amanda Mills didn’t want to cripple herself with student debt and needed a flexible class schedule to balance three kids, two jobs and a husband on deployment.

She turned to Tidewater Community College to explore her options and after completing an associate degree and a certificate landed a dream job shortly after graduation.

“I love what I do,” said Mills, database administrator for Armada Hoffler Properties in Virginia Beach’s Town Center.

Information technology was a natural field for Mills, even if she didn’t initially realize it.

The Oscar Smith High graduate started working at Union Mission Ministries as a teen, first at its summer camp and later in the office doing data processing. After high school, she considered physical therapy, but the TCC program was too demanding given all her outside responsibilities. She also considered becoming a teacher until she was directed toward the college’s information technology degree.

It turned out to be the ideal fit.

“I liked math,” she said. “It’s all logic. Everything I was learning made sense to me.”

Night and online classes allowed her to continue to work two jobs while going to school and Pell Grants paid for most of her tuition. Instructor Mary Gable, in particular, helped her navigate all the material.

Mills graduated with her Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology along with a Career Studies Certificate in Database Specialist in May.

By the end of the summer, Mills was hired by Armada Hoffler, where the skills learned at TCC directly apply to her job, particularly the SQL coding. She builds, updates and maintains the property company’s database.

“I didn’t know SQL before I came to TCC,” she said. “Now that’s my bread and butter.”

Mills toys with the idea of getting her bachelor’s but the foundation she got at TCC and professional experience will allow her to advance in the field.  “Eventually, maybe I’ll go for my bachelor’s,” she says. “But I have a great job with an associate degree.”

Interested in earning your Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology or your Career Studies Certificate in Database Specialist? Contact Bill Clement, dean of the Division of Information Technology and Business, at or 757-822-7124.


TCC announces class of 19 for its second STEM Promise Program scholarship

Sumner Darling mapped out the entire Earth in elementary school. Jena Essary taught herself coding shortly after her 10th birthday. Breiten Liebell constructed a fully functional replica of a Ferris Wheel by memory as a 5-year-old.

The high school students are among Tidewater Community College’s second class of STEM Promise Program scholars. Nineteen students will pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines at TCC and complete two-year associate degrees at no cost for tuition and fees under the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program.

“Through the generosity of our donors, the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program is contributing to the diversity of the Hampton Roads workforce by creating a pipeline of women and minority students into the STEM disciplines,” said Jeanne Natali, director of TCC’s Intercultural Learning Center. “Our STEM Promise scholars will get a solid academic foundation at TCC, graduate with no student debt and be set to transfer to any number of public or private universities.”

Last fall TCC welcomed the inaugural class of STEM Promise scholars who will graduate in spring 2019. Elizabeth River Crossings fully funded all 10 of those scholarships with a donation of $120,000.

In addition to TCC’s smaller class sizes and interaction with professors invested in student success, STEM scholars receive specialized support from dedicated advisors and mentoring and career exploration from the Women’s Center.

TCC’s 2018 Women’s Center STEM Promise Scholars and their programs are:

Associate of Science in Engineering

  • Taylor Bowers, Chesapeake
  • Emma DeLosReyes, Virginia Beach
  • Erin Fitzpatrick, Virginia Beach
  • Zachary Fuge, Virginia Beach
  • Christian McClenney, Virginia Beach
  • Matthew Rathbun, Zuni
  • Deven Singleton, Chesapeake
  • Isaac Vanderley, Virginia Beach

Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology

  • Kalen Anderson, Portsmouth
  • Breiten Liebell, Virginia Beach

Associate of Science in Science with a Specialization in Computer Science

  • Courtney Carr, Virginia Beach
  • Rhys Dailey, Virginia Beach
  • Jena Essary, Chesapeake
  • Caroline Jacobs, Chesapeake
  • Maurice Price, Chesapeake

Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology

  • Kiana Brown, Chesapeake
  • Sumner Darling, Virginia Beach
  • Seth Greiling, Chesapeake
  • Shannon O’Hara Wiora, Virginia Beach

Anyone with an interest in applying to TCC’s STEM Promise Program should contact theEnrollment Team at 757-822-1111. Interested donors can contact the TCC Educational Foundation at