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Navy center partners with TCC to provide STEM camp for youth

Tidewater Community College worked with community partner Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) to host a weeklong summer camp for youth, ages 11-15, from high schools across Hampton Roads.

Held July 17-21, the purpose of the camp was to foster a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in students and to showcase careers in these fields. Students also learned important lessons from guest speakers and completed hands-on activities throughout the week.

TCC Dean Nancy Prather-Johnson welcomed students and shared about her journey. “As I was growing up, I was considered part of the underrepresented population and underprivileged community. It was summer programs like this one that exposed me to STEM careers at a young age,” she said.

She continued, “I attended a math and science-specific high school for students who were high achievers in the subjects. Although I didn’t continue my pursuit of becoming a computer science engineer, I am now the dean of Computer Science and Business at a community college and that gives me the opportunity to pay it forward and expose kids like me to these growing fields.”

NIWC STEM Lead, Shawn Frazier, believes the partnership with TCC will greatly benefit the youth attending camp. He enjoys hosting it on campus in order to help the students visualize their futures in college and see themselves pursuing their dream careers. He says, “I want to help students to see themselves as that scientist, engineer, mathematician, or whatever it is they want to do. TCC has been a great partner to help me do that.”

This camp provides students the opportunity to participate in interactive projects such as creating and launching their own rockets, as well as coding on a Raspberry Pi computer, which is the technology that is used on the International Space Station.

The program allows campers to experience STEM in a way that differs from what they learn in school. In addition to the opportunity to grow their STEM knowledge, this camp creates a sense of community for STEM students in the Hampton Roads area. Jorden, a camp student, said, “One of my favorite things about camp has been making friends that have the same interests as me.”

Camp instructor, Daron Moore, has been with the NIWC STEM Camp program since it started 12 years ago. He says, “It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to plant the STEM seeds in children’s minds and see where it takes them. You get to see them years later achieving their childhood dreams that began at camp.”

For more information regarding future summer camps, contact Prather-Johnson at

Summer programs help high school grads prepare for next steps

Tidewater Community College has been awarded a Title III grant to provide summer programs for recent high school graduates of Norfolk and Portsmouth Public Schools.

The college has space for fifty students in each of the two programs being offered by TCC. High school graduates will spend two weeks on TCC’s Norfolk and Portsmouth Campuses and prepare for their next steps to college and careers.

The Excellence Institute on Norfolk Campus will be held July 24 – Aug. 4. The Summer Bridge program on Portsmouth Campus will be offered August 7-17. The full-day programs include catered breakfasts lunches daily.

The Excellence Institute on the Norfolk Campus is a retention tool designed to increase academic and professional self-efficacy through environmental and experiential learning opportunities. Self-efficacy is a pivotal key to success. The Institute is designed for students who desire support in cultivating a successful mindset and a plan for the life they want.  

“It only takes one decision to change the trajectory of a student’s academic and professional career,” said Khadijah Peak-Brown, TCC’s Connect2TCC coordinator on the Norfolk Campus. “Let this be one of those good decisions. It is my firm belief that joining the Excellence Institute this summer will catapult students’ academic and professional efficacy.”

Excellence Institute program benefits include:

  • Professional profile development, which includes a professional photoshoot, resume writing, LinkedIn profile and interview preparation.
  • Help with navigating the transition from high school with college and career readiness training.
  • Exclusive individualized networking opportunities that match students’ aspirations. 
  • Curated experiences to boost students’ self-efficacy.
  • Interactive sessions to help with selecting career paths and majors.
  • Support with the FAFSA, TCC application process and course selection.
  • Personal development that includes financial literacy, time management, self-regulation and dynamic learning style development.
Khadijah Peak-Brown (left) with students from the Excellence Institute in 2022.

Upon completion of the Excellence Institute, students who choose to attend TCC will have access to two years of on-demand, 1-on-1 Success Coaching to continue cultivating the academic and professional work they started. “If they come here, my goal is to keep them here and support them for the next two years. It will be an honor to join the Institute scholars on that journey,” says Khadijah Peak-Brown.   

To learn more about the Excellence Institute and to apply, visit here.

The Summer Bridge program is for students who are nervous about attending college, want help succeeding in college and wish they had a personal mentor.

“This new program aims to increase the success, college retention and graduation rates of Portsmouth High School students,” said Jabari Colon, Connect2TCC coordinator on Portsmouth Campus. “During a pre-college program, participants engage in evidence-based intensive psychosocial and personal development programming. Participating students will build knowledge and skills to increase their individual and cultural strengths and improve family relationships.”

Summer Bridge program benefits include:

  • Connection with a personal mentor.
  • Learn skills that will help students get the jobs they really want.
  • Engage in group sessions that will push personal development, helping students reach their greatest potential.
  • Participate in team games and personal fitness activities.
  • Connect with other first-year students and key support staff at the college.
  • Receive guidance on financial aid and student and life resources available at TCC.
  • Learn creatively in academic strengthening workshops.
  • Train on how to navigate campus systems.

The Summer Bridge program is also serving students who have elected not to attend college. Students who plan to enter the workforce will be part of the “Bossing Up Academy” with an emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship in their chosen trade. At the conclusion of the two-week program, students will be given the opportunity to learn more by pursuing a Career Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship at TCC.

And while these programs are designed for recent high school graduates from Norfolk and Portsmouth Public Schools, all are welcome to apply to attend. Contact Khadijah Peak-Brown on Norfolk Campus by emailing or calling 757-822-1199. On Portsmouth Campus, reach out to Jabari Colon at or by calling 757-822-2413.