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A lifetime of service to students and leaders

When Karen Campbell, Ph.D., was working on her bachelor’s at the University of Richmond, a mentor there suggested she look at higher education as a place where she could make a difference.

Campbell took that advice to heart and has spent 30 years helping students find their paths to success.

After working in area universities for more than a decade, Campbell joined TCC in 2005 as a Career Coach in area high schools. In that role, she directly supported students beginning their higher education journeys.

Campbell with high school students.

Over the years, Campbell has served in various leadership positions before being selected to the top spot for student services. She currently serves as vice president for student affairs and provides college-wide leadership for admissions, recruitment, registration, advising, education accessibility, student success, student activities, career services and more.

“I enjoy what I do every day,” Campbell said. “It’s rewarding to provide support for those who come through our doors as they prepare for the work they want to pursue.”

In her free time, Campbell also serves as state chair of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Virginia Network. The mission of the group is to identify, develop, advance, and support women in higher education.

“We all give our time to make sure women in Virginia have the skills and confidence to go to the next level if they choose to do so,” Campbell said.

 “We encourage women to consider positions out of their comfort zone and to also look at their skills through a different lens,” she added. “Ultimately, we encourage, engage and provide a network to help women leaders advance to the positions they seek.”

For those who may be considering careers in higher education in the future, Campbell says it is still a great place to make your mark while making a difference for others.

“I want everyone to know that higher education is a place you can learn and grow as a professional. It’s also a place where you can help other learners understand who they are and create confidence to build the leaders of the future.”

In her free time, Campbell enjoys traveling to experience different cultures and to learn people’s stories.  So far she has visited 25 countries and territories.

Making a difference for students at home and in the nation

Psychology Professor Andrea Palmisano has been teaching at TCC since 2010. When she is not in the classroom, Palmisano serves as a general and family mediator with the Supreme Court of Virginia.

She also has her own mediation business. In May, Palmisano will help the Tangipahoa Parish School System which is under a desegregation order by the U.S. Eastern District Court of Louisiana. 

Palmisano has created an eight-hour peer mediation program for high school students. The goal is to provide students with the opportunity to become proficient in conflict resolution skills.

“We hope to reduce the number of fights and create harmony in the school,” she said. “It’s about helping students develop leadership skills and motivating them to succeed.”

During mediation at the parish school, Palmisano will present students with concrete steps to resolve conflicts. By working with a team on-site, she will help them find solutions for their problems. The final step will be to draft a binding document for those who are working to resolve a specific conflict.

“I’ve implemented a similar program at Granby High School and saw the number of fights decrease pretty dramatically,” she added. “We know this approach works, but it requires the adults there to believe in the program and then nurture it.”

Palmisano will provide the training and then stay connected as the program unfolds. “When developing a new culture, one of conflict resolution, you have to stay in close contact and be there for the students, parents and staff,” she said. “That’s what I’ve signed up to do.”

Professor Palmisano with TCC student Cecilia Cruz.

A beloved faculty member, Palmisano gets top marks – a 5 out of 5 – on In addition, 100% of her students would take her classes again.

“I care about my students’ education and their personal well-being,” Palmisano said. “I learn every student’s name and I listen. They know my classroom is a judgment-free zone so they can talk and share freely.”

A native of Brazil, Palmisano came to the United States when she was in high school because of her father’s job. “I spent my high school years in three different countries. I know what it feels like not to belong and that shaped my interest in helping people,” she said.

Palmisano is the faculty advisor of the TCC student psychology club, Psi-Chi-Phi, which meets every other week. To learn more, check them out on Instagram @tcc_psichiphi.

Palmisano holds a Ph.D. in psychology, a master’s in clinical psychology and has professional experience working as a therapist for children with emotional and behavioral issues. She has also been the director of children’s programs for a non-profit mediation organization.

In her free time, Palmisano enjoys Salsa dancing and outdoor activities with her husband, Dr. David Palmisano. The couple has two sons, Tiago, 27, and Matias, 24. Both sons are in medical school. Tiago and his wife Raygan recently welcomed Lucas James, the family’s first grandchild.

TCC celebrates Women’s History Month 2023

Tidewater Community College celebrates Women’s History Month in March with activities on every campus.

This year’s events include panel discussions, speakers, celebrations, and interactive learning events. All are designed to inform students and the community about the history of women and how women continue to overcome adversity and challenges.

Women’s History Month has been observed annually in the United States since 1987. This year’s national theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

Dr. Paula Young – Dr. Rashida Gray – Dr. Martha Manar – Nurse Tori Tucker – Dr. Tamika Lasege

TCC’s keynote event is a medical panel featuring five medical professionals talking about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field. The event will take place on March 22 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. and is Virtual. Panel participants are:

  • Dr. Paula Young, the medical director of Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital in Richmond, Va., and a pediatrician for the Bon Secours Care-A-Van mobile free clinic.
  • Dr. Rashida Gray, an adult psychiatrist and owner of Gray MD Psychiatry, LLC in Richmond, Va. She treats a wide variety of psychiatric conditions, with a special focus on mood and anxiety disorders.
  • Dr. Martha Manar, a pediatrician sub-specializing in Neonatology. She currently serves as a staff neonatologist at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. She has been involved in several research projects and has served as a physician mentor and/or clinical faculty for mid-level providers.
  • Tori Tucker, a palliative care nurse and interdisciplinary researcher. She earned her Ph.D. in nursing history at the University of Virginia. Her research explores the educational, professional, and personal lives of Black nurses in Virginia during the 1950s-1980s.
  • Dr. Tamika Lasege, a pediatrician and neonatologist with over 10 years of experience in managed care.  She currently serves as chief medical officer for the Georgia Medicaid health plan of UnitedHealthcare.

For more information and for accommodations, email

Campus Events

Campus events are free and open to students, faculty and staff. Community members are also welcome and may email Emily Hartman at for entry details.

March 1

Movie and Discussion
10 a.m. – Noon — Virginia Beach Campus Student Center
Join us as we watch “Story of a Movement.” In this documentary, female office workers in 1970s Boston inspire change with a call for better pay, more opportunities, and an end to sexual harassment. A round-table discussion will follow the film showing.

March 2

Leadership Institute – Beyond Barriers to Success 
6 p.m. — Virtual
Join Student Life and our guest speaker TCC alum Jeanine Ortiz as she shares her story and experiences regarding breaking barriers and narratives as a woman of color in higher education. Leadership Institute Sessions provide students with an opportunity to explore a variety of personal and professional development topics through the lens of leadership.

March 15

Camaraderie Speaker & Outreach for Veteran Students with Del. Jackie Hope Glass
Noon – 1 p.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center
Del. Jackie Hope Glass is a self-proclaimed certified doer, mama and Navy veteran from the Chicagoland area and served in the United States Navy for eleven years as a cryptologist where she deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jackie moved to Virginia eight years ago and currently resides in the heart of Norfolk at Ballentine Place. She holds a bachelor’s in Workforce Education Training and Development from Southern Illinois University.

Currently, she serves in the Virginia House of Delegates for the 89th district covering most of the city of Norfolk.  As an elected official, she was able to pass two bills in the 2022 General Assembly, with more coming for the 2023 General Assembly.

Kahoot Trivia
Noon – 1 p.m. – Portsmouth Campus Student Center
Celebrating International Women’s Day with fun facts.

Paint Party
7 p.m. – Chesapeake Campus Student Center
Celebrate Women’s History through art and expression. Seating is limited. RSVP with your name and student ID to to save your seat! 

Canvas, paint supplies, and instruction provided. Open to all TCC students, faculty, and staff. A valid TCC ID is required to participate. 

March 22

Women’s History Month Medical Panel
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Virtual
This educational event features a panel discussion with five medical professionals talking about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Panel participants are Dr. Paula Young, Dr. Rashida Gray, nurse Tori Tucker and Dr. Tamika Lasege.

Women’s History Celebration
5:30 p.m. — Virginia Beach Campus at the Joint-Use Library
Join staff from the Virginia Beach Student Center as they partner with the Joint-Use Library for an event celebrating Women’s History Month. Come prepared to learn and grow.

President Conston to be highlighted by the Sentara Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Competency
Noon – 1 p.m. — Virtual
Join TCC President Marcia Conston and Virginia Peninsula Community College President Towuanna Porter Brannon, as they share their unique perspectives on education, leadership and the influence gender has played on their successful careers. Registration is required. Please use the link above.

March 23

Human Trafficking Awareness
Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Join us to learn about FreeKind, an organization that assists victims of human trafficking.

March 29

What Are We Watching – Women’s Stories Movie Marathon
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. — NorfolkCampus Student Center. This movie marathon features films by women directors. Films include “Lucky Grandma” (2020); “Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story” (2021); and Fruits of Labor (2021).

March 30

Noon – 1:30 p.m. – Portsmouth Campus Student Center
This event highlights and brings awareness to women in STEM fields. In addition, there will be a segment focusing on dressing for success.

Resilience as a Leadership Practice
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center
Join us for a discussion featuring TCC alum Les Henderson, residential and hospitality coordinator at goDCgo and founder of EndoQueer.

TCC alum expands successful business

For the past four years, TCC alumna Robin Simmons has been warmly greeting customers and neighbors at her business, 17 Hands Coffee.

The coffee spot is a favorite for residents and is located in the Virginia Beach Kempsville area. Robin and her staff create and serve sweet treats, specialty coffees and teas, quiches, scones and cinnamon rolls that sell out by 8:30 a.m. on the weekends!

This month, the community gathered as Robin opened Robin Simmons Bakery adjacent to 17 Hands Coffee, expanding the business with the bakery, more espresso machines and additional space for gathering.

“I want this to be a gathering place for all backgrounds, ages, and religions,” she said. “I want everyone to come here and get to know their neighbors.”

Robin got the idea to open the business while visiting a friend in Los Angeles, California. “We went to one of her favorite coffee shops and it was amazing. That’s when the seed was planted,” Robin said.

Mayor Bobby Dyer helped celebrated the expansion with a ribbon cutting and some encouraging words.

“We are excited to see businesses thrive and grow like this one. We are here to celebrate your success and continued success,” Dyer said.

Dyer encouraged attendees to try the chocolate cake, the best he’s ever had, just as Robin presented him with a cake to take home.

Robin also spoke to attendees and thanked her team and family for their support.

“When I left my job at Inside Business to do baking full time, I never imagined this. It’s my dream and more,” she said. “I’m so grateful for my neighborhood and our customers and friends.”

She also thanked her vendors and partners and the Virginia Beach Police Mounted Patrol for being there. “We are all about horses here!” she added with a laugh.

Robin Simmons with Virginia Beach Police Mounted Patrol.

Robin earned a business degree from TCC and is using those skills to run her own business now.

“It’s helpful on the job to be able to speak to people with some knowledge under my belt,” Robin said. “And specific classes like accounting, business law and public speaking have been important for the journey.”

Her shop is located in a plaza that she lovingly calls “birthday corner” as there is a local creamery, the Sundae Scoop and gift store, DIY Treasures and Gifts, and of course, Robin has cakes for every occasion.

Robin has a vision for expanding to a second location on a five-acre lot with open-air seating and a drive-through for those in-demand lattes and cold brews.

“This has been a long-time coming,” Robin added. “But you can’t leave the earth without doing what you love!”

“I’m very grateful to be earning my degree debt free.” – Paige Russell

Paige Russell discovered her passion for interior design while a student at Tidewater Community College.

She originally planned to study social sciences for a career in mental health counseling. But one semester in and she knew the field wasn’t a good fit for her.

“TCC gave me the chance to explore programs and I didn’t feel like I was wasting time and money. Once I found interior design, it was a game changer,” Paige said. “I enjoy it so much it doesn’t feel like work.”

A recent graduate of Great Bridge High, Paige is on track to earn her Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design in the spring of 2024.

Paige Russell in the Interior Design spaces on Chesapeake Campus.

“I love everything about this program. All of my teachers are great and have industry experience. They create classrooms that are really inviting and are always there to answer questions,” Paige said.

Paige followed her sister, Hailee, to TCC. They both are Outstanding High School Graduate Scholars, earning full scholarships to the college a decade apart.

“TCC was always on my radar because of my sister,” Paige said. “I knew I could complete my gen eds. What I didn’t know was how much I’d enjoy the community and the small classes.”

As an Outstanding High School Graduate Scholar, Paige also serves as a Student Ambassador on the Chesapeake Campus. In that role, she gives campus tours, serves at events and volunteers in the student center.

“I encourage everyone to try for this scholarship,” she said. “The work has helped me come out of my shell and grow. It’s been a tremendous learning experience and I’ve made a lot of friends.”

Paige also credits TCC staffers Sara Hair and Tyler Flanagan with investing in her success. “They always have their doors open and are there to provide guidance. It’s a big family here,” Paige said.

An intern at a local design company, Paige is learning the ropes from professionals in the field. She plans a career as a residential and commercial interior designer.

“I’m actually going to be job ready with my associate degree,” Paige said. “I’m very grateful to be earning my degree debt free.”

Now is the time to apply for the Outstanding High School Graduate Scholarship. High School seniors can ask their guidance counselors about the program. The deadline to apply is April 7. For more information, visit here.

Find a great job at TCC’s college-wide Career Fair, Feb. 28

More than 50 area employers will be represented at Tidewater Community College’s Career Fair on Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the student center on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, located at 1428 Cedar Road.

The Career Fair, sponsored by the college’s Career Services Center, will offer information on career positions, internships and part-time opportunities. Students, alumni and the community are invited to attend. The event is free and no registration is required.

Employers will gather to meet job seekers, share information and make connections, all under one roof. In addition, some employers will offer on-the-spot interviews for potential employees.

Among the employers represented at the fair will be Allied Universal Event Services, Chesapeake Police Dept., Dollar Tree Corp., Hope House Foundation, Nauticus, Sentara Healthcare, TowneBank and more.

A complete roster of participating companies is available on the College Central Network, the college’s free web-based tool for job seekers.

The event will also feature TCC information tables with staff to provide prospective students with information about academic programs, financial aid, admissions and student services.

Transportation will be provided for students to and from the Career Fair. Pickup and drop-offs will be at the campus student centers.

For more information, help with resumes and interview tips visit here. You can also call the Career Services Center at 757-822-7228 or contact TCC’s Virtual Student Support Team at 757-822-1111.

TCC to hold open auditions for “Steel Magnolias” on Feb 22 and 23

Tidewater Community College’s Theatre Department will hold open auditions for “Steel Magnolias,” this year’s spring production.

Auditions will be on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre in the Academic Building on the Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road.

Each audition will take about five minutes, and roles are available for 6 actors and several understudies. Actors should prepare a one-to-two-minute contemporary monologue that shows their range. Participants are encouraged not to use any accents. 

Rehearsals will begin March 13 and will run Monday – Thursday from 7 p.m. -10 p.m.

The show debuts on April 13 and runs through April 29th. Evening shows and Saturday matinees will be held.

“Steel Magnolias” is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are anybody come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle, the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the women of the town. The play moves toward tragedy when, in the second act, the spunky Shelby (who is a diabetic) risks pregnancy and forfeits her life. The sudden realization of their mortality affects the others, but also draws on the underlying strength—and love—which gives the play, and its characters, the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.

The cast for “Steel Magnolias” includes:

*Truvy – 40ish and owner of the beauty shop
*Annelle – 19 and beauty shop assistant
*Clairee – 66ish and widow of the former mayor, Grand Dame
*Shelby – 25 and the prettiest woman in town
*M’Lynn – 50ish and Shelby’s mother
*Ouiser – 66ish and a wealthy curmudgeon

To secure your audition time, and receive your audition packet, please email Heather Williams, stage manager, at Please include a headshot, resume and any date conflicts you may have.  Preference will be given to actresses with the fewest conflicts. 

To express an interest in a technical position and for more information about TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Theatre Arts, contact Professor Matthew Gorris at 757-822-7041 or

TCC celebrates Black History Month 2023

Tidewater Community College celebrates Black History Month 2023 with a keynote event featuring Tidewater African Cultural Alliance presenting Afro Mania with the spotlight on Ethiopia. The event is a fully immersive cultural experience and will be held on Feb. 11 from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Joint-Use Library on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Tidewater African Cultural Alliance featuring Kenya.

The event will include an address by Beserat Debebe, a graphic novelist and founder of Etan Comics, which features epic stories, African creators and “comics for every fan.”

Beserat Debebe

In building Etan Comics, Debebe has also been building a world of African fantasy and superhero stories. It’s been something he’s wanted to do since coming to the United States in 2004. He spent his early days in libraries and bookstores reading comics and graphic novels. After a few years in the corporate world, he found the courage to launch his dream.

The national theme for this year’s commemoration is Black Resistance: Past, Present and Future. During February, TCC will host Black History Month activities and events on its campuses.

For more information and for accommodations, email  

Campus events include:

Who Are Your Black History Month Heroes?
All month — Tag @TCCVABEACH on Instagram to be included.
Students have the opportunity to share photos and details about someone who has made an impact on their lives. Send it to the link above to be included in the daily stories.

Feb. 1
ThinkFast Game Show – Black History Month Edition
12:30 p.m. – Chesapeake Campus Student center
Test your knowledge during this in-person trivia game show. Enjoy this interactive game and learn facts related to Black History Month. Compete for a chance to win cash prizes.

Feb. 2
Pop-up library – Reading is Fundamental
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center lobby
Check out our books aligned with the Black History Month theme of Black Resistance.
This event is held in conjunction with the Friends of the TCC Library Initiative.

Camaraderie – For Veterans, Military-Affiliated Students and the Community
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center lobby
Join history professor Jeff Acosta for a conversation about his life, service, and interests in local Black history. Acosta is a historian with a varied background that includes thirty-eight years of military service. He also spent eleven years as curator for the MacArthur Memorial.

Virtual Leadership Institute – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
6 p.m. – See the Virtual Student Center or Canvas for the link

Feb. 11
Keynote Event – Tidewater African Cultural Alliance Afro Mania: Ethiopia
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Joint-Use Library, Virginia Beach Campus
Join us for an afternoon of fully immersive cultural experience featuring Tidewater African Cultural Alliance with a focus n Ethiopia. In addition, listen to a keyote address by guest speaker Beserat Debebecreator and publisher of Etan Comics, home of the African superhero.  
Presented in partnership with Tidewater African Cultural Alliance, Hampton Roads Community Foundation and Virginia Beach Public Schools. 

Feb. 15
Finding Your Roots: Genealogy Workshop
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Slover Library
Come and research your personal history. This workshop is facilitated by Troy Valos, head librarian and archivist. Registration required – see the Virtual Student Center for the link.

Feb. 16
Virginia African American Cultural Center Information Session
Noon – Norfolk Campus Student Center
Meet Executive Director Tamar Smithers and learn about the work of the center.

Virginia’s Community Colleges hosts HBCU Virtual Transfer Fair
6 p.m. – Visit Canvas for the Zoom link

Feb. 21
Movie and Discussion
11 a.m. – Virginia Beach Student Center
Students will watch a movie related to Black History Month, followed by a round-table discussion with faculty members.

Panel Discussion on Race Relations: Micro-Misconceptions of the Generational Norms in Today’s Society
Noon to 1:30 p.m. – Portsmouth Campus Student Center
The panel discussion will focus on topics including bridging the gap and navigating the misconceptions and cultural biases in education and in the workplace. Also, the group will discuss threatening speech and the native tongue.  The panel includes professors from Norfolk State University.

Feb. 22
Black Stories Movie Marathon
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center

SGA hosts Rhythmic Resistance: An All-Arts Open Mic
6:30 p.m. – Chesapeake Campus Student Center, Room 3100
This Open Mic event features guest speaker Vera Shinard.

Feb. 23
Movie and Discussion
Noon to 2 p.m. – Portsmouth Campus Student Center TV Lounge
Join us as we screen the film “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” by Keith Beauchamp.  Discussion to follow the viewing.

Feb. 27
Agency and Empowerment with Guest Speaker Kim Sudderth
11 a.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center
Come and learn about Black resistance and social movements through a facilitated conversation.

Feb. 28
Movie and Discussion
Noon – 2 p.m. – Portsmouth Campus Student Center TV Lounge
Join us as we screen the film “Underground Railroad” by Susan Michaels.  Discussion to follow the viewing.

Black History Month Celebration
5:30 p.m. – Virginia Beach Student Center
Celebrate Black History Month with fellow students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

Need a ride to campus? Try HRT’s GoSemester Pass

Did you know that as a Tidewater Community College student you can ride Hampton Roads Transit for just $25 a semester and only $15 for Summer Session?

Now is the time to save money on your commuting costs and reduce your carbon footprint.

TCC students receive discounted access to HRT’s public transit network of buses, ferries, Metro Area Express (MAX) routes, and Norfolk’s light rail system through the GoSemester Pass program.

This week, HRT’s TRAFFIX representatives will be on TCC’s campuses to help you get rewarded for commuting differently. In addition, you’ll get a chance to spin the TRAFFIX prize wheel to win a commuter prize.

HRT GoSemester pass event dates include:

Virginia Beach Campus Student Center
Jan. 17
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Norfolk Campus Student Center
Jan. 18
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Chesapeake Campus Student Center
Jan. 24
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

To be eligible for a GoSemester pass, you must be currently enrolled at TCC, and have paid tuition or been awarded financial aid. Just present your TCC ID at any campus business office and pay the fee for the semester. You may use your financial aid award to purchase a GoSemester Pass only during the available charge period

Para-Transit for students with disabilities

Additionally, students with disabilities who are approved by HRT to utilize Para-Transit can receive passes at a discounted rate of $2 per pass for each of the days they have classes (plus one additional day). Visit an Educational Accessibility Office for help accessing this service.

Visit HRT’s website for information on transit routes, alerts and trip planning tools.

For more information about TCC support services, reach out to the Virtual Student Support Team at or 757-822-1111.

ERC’s $400,000 donation will double the size of TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy

Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo, (ERC), the operator of the Downtown and Midtown tunnels, continues its commitment to supporting the community and higher education with a new $400,000 donation to Tidewater Community College.

The gift is designated to support the expansion of the Skilled Trades Academy in Portsmouth. The Academy offers hands-on, short-term instruction for in-demand trade jobs. Programs are offered in welding, sheet metal, pipefitting, roofing, marine coating and more.

“We are grateful to Elizabeth River Crossings for its continued generosity in support of our students,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “This gift ensures that even more students will be able to take short-term programs that have long-term gains.”

This donation will directly support:

  • New Programs that address emerging in-demand careers, with short-term hands-on programs.
  • Facility expansion that will double the size of the academy creating a 40,000- square-foot, fully equipped facility in Portsmouth.
  • Expanded program offerings by increasing class offerings and capacity.

 “We are proud to help fund quality training for in-demand jobs and invest in the vibrancy of the Hampton Roads workforce,” said Anna Bonet, chief executive officer of ERC. “As an infrastructure company, we strongly value skilled trades and safety training programs. There is such a high demand across multiple industries in this region right now, and we want to help eliminate any barriers for these students to get the training they need and find higher-paying, and more stable careers. These students are truly the future of our economy.”

The Skilled Trades Academy opened in 2019 and currently provides training in 10 trades. The facility offers hands-on training in spaces that mimic a variety of job sites. To date, a total of 96% of students who complete industry-recognized credentials are hired by regional employers.

ERC is also a long-time supporter of TCC’s STEM Promise Scholarship program, helping to provide full scholarships for 20 students each year as they earn their associate degrees in STEM-related fields.

“We appreciate that Elizabeth River Crossings has been our pioneer scholarship supporter in the STEM fields for the past six years,” said Christopher Bryant, TCC’s vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We are thrilled that this new gift will expand the physical footprint of the Skilled Trades Academy and increase student opportunities for hands-on training in the trades.”

Help available over the holidays at TCC

Tidewater Community College is open virtually during the holidays to help students enroll in spring classes, explore career options, learn about financial aid and support services.

All college offices are closed beginning Dec. 23 through Jan. 2.

TCC’s Virtual Student Support Team will be available on Dec. 23 and Dec. 26-30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by phone at 757-822-1111 or email at After the New Year, the team is also available on Jan. 2 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

In addition, after the holidays, on-campus and virtual support will be available with expanded hours and a Special Enrollment Day on all campuses.

Spring Semester enrollment support:
Jan. 3 – Jan. 12
Monday – Thursday – 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Special Enrollment Day – All Campuses:
Jan. 7 – 9 a.m. – noon

Spring Semester classes for the 15-week session begin on Jan. 9. Questions? Contact us at 757-822-1111 or

TCC celebrates graduates during winter ceremony

During Tidewater Community Colleges 75th Commencement Exercises, Councilwoman and Graduation Speaker Delceno Miles had graduates lock arms and share a message of encouragement.

Together they shouted, “I am tenacious and talented. I am committed. I am capable. I am TCC. We are TCC!”  You can see graduates in action here.

With cheers and laughter, graduates prepared to cross the stage as their degrees and certificates were conferred by President Marcia Conston.

The afternoon ceremony was held on Dec. 19 at Chartway Arena on the campus of Old Dominion University with more than 1350 graduates and their families in attendance.

The speaker for the graduates, Harvey Miller III, 22, who completed an Associate of Science in Liberal Arts, has his sights set on the U.S. Senate. He will continue his studies in political science and English at ODU or William and Mary.

Student Speaker Harvy Miller III.

Miller found success at TCC after failing at higher education the first time around. He calls himself the “Comeback Kid” and says that his initial failure was the catalyst for his success today.

“I needed to fail so I had a reason to change,” Harvey said. “I started working at a 7-Eleven, relishing the hard work and taquitos, and saving money so I could realize my dream of returning to school.”

Miller said, “I learned our greatest gift in this life is that failure and loss, trials and tribulations are not the end.”

Speaker Delceno Miles dedicated her message as a thank you and tribute to her mother, who was fiercely committed to the success of her children and instilled a love of community in them.

“We are her legacy, just as you are the legacy of those who came before you. You are the fulfillment of their dreams and prayers and perhaps your own dreams and prayers as well,” she said. “You are laying a foundation with your success at TCC for those who will someday follow you.”

Miles continued by saying, “This is a Commencement so you can commence with your dreams and aspirations. TCC was just a stop along the way to equip you for your destiny.”

Councilwoman Miles, a long-time friend of TCC, donates $5,000 to the college in support of student scholarships and more.

At the end of her remarks, Miles presented TCC with a $5,000 donation in support of student scholarships and more.

The ceremony continued as families and friends cheered and snapped photos. Graduates joined a TCC alumni network of 100,000 and counting. 

If you missed graduation, you can watch the TCC livestream.

Student Speaker has sights set on the U.S. Senate

Harvey Miller III found success at Tidewater Community College after failing at higher education the first time around. He calls himself the “Comeback Kid” and says that his initial failure was the catalyst for his success today.

“I needed to fail so I had a reason to change,” Harvey said. “I started working at a 7-Eleven, relishing the hard work and taquitos, and saving money so I could realize my dream of returning to school.”

Harvey, 22, is the Speaker for the Graduates for Tidewater Community College’s December Commencement. He is earning an Associate of Science in Liberal Arts with a 3.9 GPA.

“TCC made it easy to start again,” Harvey added. “I was living at home and had my family around me. It definitely helped not being isolated.”

While at TCC, Harvey learned study skills and also how to communicate effectively with his professors. He also found a community and says TCC may be the most diverse college in America with its military-related students and classrooms filled with students of all ages.

“I had a 76-year-old woman in my French class, as well as military veterans sharing their knowledge,” Harvey said. “When you combine all of these different perspectives, you realize that you really are getting a broad education.”

He added, “I came in thinking community college was basic and not a real college. I found out I was wrong. TCC gives you a great education and also so many ways to dive into college life with plays, festivals and clubs.”

Harvey at his office at the City of Chesapeake Department of Elections.

Harvey, a Chesapeake resident, is a member of the Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools. He also holds a full-time job as the assistant registrar for the City of Chesapeake’s Department of Elections, obtained while a student at TCC.

“Working full-time and being a student was challenging, but my professors were committed to my success. If I had to leave class early for work, I could watch the lecture online and keep going. It was those things that made this degree possible.”

Harvey plans to continue his education with a double major in political science and English and creative writing at Old Dominion University or William and Mary. He is also considering law school.

Harvey dreams about one day making a difference as a United States Senator. He says he may never have had the chance without the fresh start he got at TCC. “People thinking about starting at TCC

Barnes and Noble College to continue to operate TCC bookstores

Tidewater Community College is extending its contract with Barnes & Noble College, which has managed the TCC bookstores since 2006. As part of the new contract, the MacArthur Center location will close on December 21, 2022, and move to the Norfolk Campus Student Center.

While the new Norfolk Campus store is under construction, the bookstore will operate in a temporary space inside the student center. The current Virginia Beach Campus bookstore will be undergoing renovation but will remain open. The Chesapeake Campus and Portsmouth Campus bookstore distribution centers will remain in place in the student centers under the new contract.

“We are committed to offering our students quality course materials and supplies for their studies,” said Karen Campbell, vice president of student affairs. “By making these changes to our operations, we are making our bookstores more accessible to enhance the student experience.”

As part of the new contract, the Virginia Beach Campus bookstore will be renovated with a fresh new design and function as an academic and social hub on campus. The Virginia Beach location will ensure students and faculty are supported with everything they need to succeed, including: the industry’s largest inventory of affordable physical and digital course materials, backed by a price match program, convenient options for ordering and receiving materials through in-store pick up or delivery.

All bookstore locations will also feature an array of TCC-branded apparel and products as well as school supplies.

“Our new Norfolk location will give us the opportunity to prioritize our inventory and ensure that we are meeting the needs of our student and faculty customers with an array of required course materials and TCC merchandise and apparel — while maintaining the best-in-class service that they also expect,” said Amy Randolph, regional manager for Barnes & Noble College.

For more information about TCC campus bookstores, visit here.

TCC named one of Newsweek’s “America’s Top Online Colleges”

Tidewater Community College was named one of “America’s Top Online Colleges” by Newsweek and Statista. This is the second year the college was recognized for its online degrees and certificates.

TCC is the only community college in Virginia recognized and one of 200 colleges and universities named nationwide.

With the increase in online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the second time Newsweek and Statista have recognized colleges and universities providing online learning for adult learners.

Ranking for “America’s Top Online Colleges” was based on an online survey among U.S. residents who have used online learning services to obtain an academic degree or acquire knowledge and skills for their job or personal development.

Between June 20 and August 29, 2022, Statista surveyed about 9,000 individuals in the United States. Survey respondents indicated which institutions they used to obtain an online degree or where they attended an online course. In the next step, respondents shared their experiences by rating the institutions regarding several criteria.

Learn more about TCC’s online programs. To get started at TCC, contact the Virtual Student Support Team by emailing or calling 757-822-1111.

TCC alum launches non-profit focusing on mental health

Drew Ferebee found her purpose at Tidewater Community College.

“I never imagined that studying Human Services would be the most influential experience of my life,” she said. “My time at TCC helped me discover my passion and the faculty inspired me to walk in my purpose.”

The TCC alumna earned an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services in 2019 and went on to earn a bachelor’s in Human Services with a minor in children’s rights from Old Dominion University in 2021.

“I’m super thankful to my grandma who believed in me. She paid for my first semester at TCC,” Drew said. “I didn’t do well in high school, but once I got to TCC and found Human Services everything changed. I got super passionate and motivated and for the first time enjoyed learning.”

Drew credits Program Head Ivory Warren with keeping her on track and her advisors at TCC for connecting her with Human Services in the first place.

“Drew was a remarkable student and knew her purpose was to become that ‘Change Agent’ in people’s lives so that they could move toward the ultimate goal of becoming self-sufficient,” Warren said. “While pursuing her degree in human services, learning the applicable skills to add to her toolbox, she was unstoppable and always gave excellent insight, input and feedback during class discussions.”

While at TCC, Drew completed her program internship hours at Teens with a Purpose where she served as the community outreach coordinator. That experience sparked her interest in community service.

“I learned how to study and be a student at TCC. The college gave me a great foundation,” Drew said. “My professors were really patient and created a very personal experience for me.”

After graduation, Drew worked as a crisis intervention specialist for the YWCA and other agencies. Those experiences showed her that her goal was to find creative solutions for mental health challenges.

That’s why the 25-year-old Norfolk native recently launched INJOY, a non-profit with the mission of improving the quality of life for individuals through mental health awareness, advocacy and fun.

 It may sound like a tall order, but Drew says she’s up for the challenge.

The group’s first event was a “Feel Good Festival” in May attracting more than 300 attendees. The event marked Mental Health Awareness month and included artists and performers. In addition, community members were able to sign up for mental health counseling if needed.

“We wanted to create something for those who don’t have access to therapy,” Drew added. “My goal is for people to be okay where they are and to bring them hope and joy.”

This fall, INJOY offered a workshop on “Understanding Black Mental Health – A Community Wellness Event” in October, and in November they are hosting a “Healing Your Inner Child” event.

Drew’s other professional involvements include serving as an advocate for mental health at the Virginia General Assembly. In addition, she presented at the Mental Wealth Expo in New York and a Self-Care conference in Norfolk.

“My message is simple for those who come to INJOY events and others,” Drew said. “You don’t have to be that strong person doing everything alone. When you experience mental health issues lean in, don’t fall back. The best thing is to reach out for support.”

She added, “I am forever thankful for the foundation TCC set for me to be successful and serve my community.”

Collision Repair grant to help prepare industry-ready grads

Tidewater Community College’s Collision Repair program received a $5,000 grant from Caliber Collision through the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). The grant was part of the Benchmark grant funding through CREF.

TCC is one of three schools to receive grants from Caliber to help elevate the skills of graduates. The funds will be used to purchase new tools, ensuring that students are training using the same state-of-the-art equipment that is used in industry.

TCC’s Collision Repair program prepares students for entry-level positions in non-structural repair and refinishing. Coursework covers panel replacement and alignment, glass replacement, dent repair, plastic and composite repair, vehicle preparation and paint defect diagnosis.

Upon completion of the program, Students earn their Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) certifications for Pro Level 1 and 2 in Non-Structural Repair and Pro Level 1 and 2 in Refinishing.

TCC’s program is supported by the Hampton Roads Autobody Association. For more information, visit here.

Honoring those who served

Tidewater Community College’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE) invites students and alumni from all branches of the military to Veterans Day commemorations to be held on each campus.

Active duty, reserve, National Guard, veterans, spouses, family members and the community are welcome to attend a ceremony at the campus of their choosing to honor those who have served.

The college will commemorate the day with wreath-laying ceremonies followed by refreshments at each location.

Nov. 7 – 11 a.m.
Portsmouth Campus
Ceremony at the flagpole – refreshments to follow in the student center

Nov. 9 – 11 a.m.
Chesapeake Campus Student Center

Nov. 10 – 11 a.m.
Virginia Beach Campus
Center for Military and Veterans Education – Building D (Kempsville)

Nov. 11 – 11 a.m.
Norfolk Campus
Ceremony at the flagpole outside the Andrews building – refreshments to follow in the student center
Featuring special guest – Del. Angela Williams-Graves, VA House of Delegate, 90th District

Recognizing TCC’s military-related students, staff, alumni

A virtual “Roll Call” video will recognize TCC’s military-related students, alumni and staff who served in the Armed Forces. It can be viewed on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at noon by visiting here.

For more information, contact TCC’s CMVE at 757-822-7645.

Free or low-cost child care available for students

Are you considering college, but concerned about the cost of child care while you attend classes and study?

There’s good news – TCC is here to help.

The college was recently awarded a $667,883 federal grant to provide quality child care for parents in need who are pursuing higher education at TCC.

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Education, TCC is able to offer the TCC Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Scholarship. That means students with children and financial needs may qualify for reduced or no-cost child care, starting Spring Semester 2023.

“Parents will be able to attend in-person classes, complete internships or program requirements, and feel relief from financial barriers all while their children receive high-quality care,” said Jenefer Snyder, associate vice president of grants and sponsored programs.

Currently, the TCC CCAMPIS Scholarship provides students with care at local accredited child care centers. A list of approved providers can be found here. In the coming months, students will also be able to use the funds at TCC’s on-campus child care centers, which are set to reopen soon.

The time to apply for Spring Semester starts Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15, 2022.

The scholarship can be used only for the semester awarded. Students who want ongoing assistance must reapply for the scholarship each semester. To learn more and apply, visit here.

For help with enrollment, reach out to TCC’s Virtual Student Support Team at or call 757-822-1111.

TCC Theatre presents “Leaving Iowa,” a story of going home and moving forward

Tidewater Community College Theatre will present “Leaving Iowa” for two weekends in November. Opening night is on Nov. 3 with shows running through Nov. 12.

All performances will be held in the Black Box Theater in the Academic Building on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road.

“Leaving Iowa” revolves around Don Browning, a middle-aged writer, who returns home and decides to finally take his father’s ashes to his childhood home, as requested. But when Don discovers Grandma’s house is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa searching for a proper resting place for his father.

This father-and-son road trip in “Leaving Iowa” shifts smoothly from the present to Don’s memories of the annual, torturous vacations of his childhood. Don’s existential journey leads him to reconcile his past and present at the center of the United States. “Leaving Iowa” is a postcard to those who have ever found themselves driving alone on a road, revisiting fond memories of their youth. 

Performance dates and times are:

Nov. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.

Nov. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m.

The play is a community effort with TCC students and community members serving as cast and crew. All are dedicated to sharing live theatre with attendees.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, alumni and military members. Payment is by cash or credit card at the door. The box office opens 45 minutes prior to show time.

To purchase tickets online, visit

For more information, call Matthew Gorris, assistant professor of theatre arts, at 757-822-5219.