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Apply now for TCC’s STEM Promise Program

High school seniors, adult learners and military-related students who want to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can apply to Tidewater Community College for a scholarship that pays four semesters of tuition and fees in full.

The TCC Women’s Center STEM Promise Program will award 20 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year. Recipients will graduate ready to enter a career or to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

 “Demand for workers with skills in higher-paying STEM fields is expected to continue to outpace demand for non-STEM workers over the next decade,” said program coordinator Jaedda Hall. “This program is designed to create a larger and more diverse STEM workforce pipeline for our local area and beyond.”

STEM Promise Program scholars benefit from TCC’s smaller class sizes, specialized support from advisors and STEM career exploration and mentoring from the college’s Women’s Center.

You may qualify if you:

  • have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher (or GED equivalent);
  • are eligible for in-state tuition;
  • place into College Composition (English 111) and PreCalculus (Math 161) or higher;
  • have earned no more than 24 TCC credits at the time of application submission.

Scholarship recipients must enroll as full-time students in one of the following TCC programs:

These associate degrees transfer to bachelor’s programs at four-year institutions. Graduates may be eligible for a Two-Year Transfer Grant from Virginia’s Community Colleges, which provides up to $3,000 annually for STEM students who complete their final two years at select universities in the Commonwealth.

Although the scholarship is aimed at women and minorities, anyone can apply. The deadline is April 1, 2021.

Interested students must first apply for admission to TCC. From there, they can apply for the scholarship by visiting

For more information, contact the Virtual Student Support Team at 757-822-1111 or email

From millwright to webmaster thanks to TCC’s web development specialist certificate

Build a website or maintain one. Learn how to code, draw and animate web graphics and add audio and visual elements, too.

The best part? You can get a job without investing years of your life and lots of your money. Michael Skipper earned his Career Studies Certificate in Web Development Specialist from Tidewater Community College and is now webmaster at Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU).

Skipper thought his future was set for life when he accepted an apprenticeship as a millwright at the Norfolk Ford Plant shortly after graduating from Cox High School. When the plant closed in 2007, he turned his hobby of tinkering with computers into a career by beginning classes in TCC’s 24-credit web development specialist program.

What’s key?

“Get your certifications!” Skipper advised.

Three semesters at TCC, where classes are in the evening or online, prepare you to sit for multiple industry certifications – key to getting hired. Among them:

  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Internet Business Associate: Proves you have the foundational knowledge of the significant technologies to work effectively in today’s business environment
  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Network Technology Associate: Demonstrates your understanding of virtualization and troubleshooting networks
  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Site Development Associate: Demonstrates your knowledge of essential page development skills
  • Certified Internet Web (CIW) Design Specialist: Demonstrates your ability to make sites visually appealing and easy to navigate

Noted Jared Oliverio, head of the web development specialist program, “You’ll be competitive in the job market with certifications.”

TCC offers all the resources, including practice tests, to ensure you pass the first time.

Get real

Perhaps the best component of TCC’s web development certificate program is that students complete a real-world project in their final semester. Students in ITD 210 divide into groups and either build a website from scratch or update an existing site. At the end of the semester, the student groups present their work, and the client chooses which site closely matches his or her needs.

The best part

Skipper touts the TCC professors as fantastic, and he enjoyed learning in the more personal environment on the Virginia Beach Campus, which made for regular interaction and hands-on classroom work.

“The campus had a homey feeling, and that’s what I find here at Virginia Wesleyan,” he said.

Skipper, who is nearly finished with his bachelor’s in business administration and computer science from VWU, is thankful that he still enjoys his webmaster position. “It’s cool to know what I do ends up on the Internet for people to see for years to come,” he said. “The code that you write takes on a completely different life when viewed on the web. It’s transformative work.”

If you want to go further . . .

All credits stack toward TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology.

More information: Contact Oliverio at

In her own words

Melissa Strong, 28, came to Tidewater Community College to train for a career. Two years later, she is a systems and network engineer with General Dynamics Information Technology earning three times more than before college.

Before TCC

“I was working as a receptionist in a salon and spa, and I was always hunting for things to fix on the computer. I’ve always enjoyed technology, but it was not something I was encouraged to pursue.

“One of my coworkers encouraged me to go to TCC and take core IT classes until I figured out what I wanted to do.”

Why TCC?

“I really had no expectations going in. I took a virtualization course, and that led me to the cyber security program and Professor Rob Guess. After my first class, I was hooked. What I like best about cyber is that there are many different ways to apply what you are learning. It’s constantly changing and you have to keep learning and apply yourself.”

What are you doing with you Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology

“My degree was IT and I also have a certificate in cyber security. I now work as a systems and network engineer with General Dynamics Information Technology. My education at TCC prepared me to pass the exams necessary to get my job, including the A+ and Security+ certifications. I absolutely love the work I’m doing and the traveling that goes with the position.

“I’m earning three times what I made at the salon. I bought a little place in Norfolk with three bedrooms and a bath and a half. I love living on my own and enjoy cooking when I’m at home. I’m also driving a new-to-me car, a 2016 Toyota Corolla.”

Favorite professors?

“I connected with Professor Guess. He helped me get my job and was a knowledgeable and helpful teacher. Another favorite was Joel Kirch, the faculty advisor for the cyber club. He helped our group do a national cyber league competition.”

While at TCC?

“I volunteered with Computers for Student Success, where we fixed computers and then gave them to students who needed them. I absolutely loved the hands-on work combined with helping others.”

What’s next?

“I’m working on my bachelor’s in information technology from Western Governors University. I’d ultimately like to develop secure applications. What I love about this field is that there are many different ways to apply what you are learning. If you are working in one area, you can change directions easily.”

Best advice for students

“Definitely take advantage of the teachers and use them as resources. They have invaluable life and work experience and are willing to share that knowledge with students.”