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The evolution of tolling with Elizabeth River Crossings

Drivers who take the Downtown or Midtown tunnels have benefited from the advanced technology of Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC), 100% build-for-cloud tolling system.

Tidewater Community College students had the opportunity to learn about tolling technology with an in-person lunch and learn event with Jim Doerflinger, ERC’s Chief of Information Technology.

Held in the college’s Advanced Technology Center in late April, Doerflinger explained the evolution of tolling technology and demonstrated how the technology has helped to reduce traffic congestion in our area.

“This event was very beneficial for our students and faculty. It was fascinating to learn how technology impacts the tolling industry from both the perspective of the end-user or those who pay the toll, as well as the technology that is used behind the scenes,” said Nancy Prather-Johnson, dean of business, computer science and information technology.

Students also gained insights about information technology internships and careers in Hampton Roads.

ERC is 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.

“ERC is passionate about STEM education. Our hope is to increase STEM education overall, but especially for women and minority students,” said Doerflinger. “We’re proud to partner with TCC to provide a promising future for these students, without them having to worry about tuition expenses.”

Christopher Bryant, TCC’s vice president for Institutional Advancement added, “In addition to their engagement with academics, ERC has been an incredible partner in providing STEM scholarships to TCC students. We’re thrilled that Elizabeth River Crossings has been our pioneer scholarship supporter in the STEM fields and look forward to expanding those student opportunities with other industry partners.”

What started with a single TCC class grew into a cyber-security career for Air Force veteran

One-third of TCC’s students are military-related. This week we highlight some of them in honor of Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Air Force veteran Kendall Shook spent her career serving her country and community.

She started as a Russian cryptologic linguist in the service and later worked as an emergency dispatcher for the Department of Defense and City of Chesapeake, where she was also on the SWAT team.

Today, she is a cyber security specialist with an industry credential who protects data and computer networks.

Shook originally came to Tidewater Community College to take one computer class.

That sparked her interest in one of the most in-demand fields in the nation given the relentless security breaches that continue to threaten data.

 “Once I came here, I decided to keep going and it’s all because of Professor Guess’ passion for cyber and the way he engages with his students,” Shook said.

Kendall Shook

Taking online classes at TCC enabled Shook to continue working full time while pursuing her degree.

 “My professors are standouts in the field,” Shook said. “I really enjoyed the mix of ages and backgrounds of my classmates. It pushed all of us to view things from different perspectives.”

Shook found her current career opportunity at a “Lunch and Learn” event held on the Chesapeake Campus. Today, she is employed at a busy network operation center, using her TCC degree and CompTIA Security+ certification.

Shook worked with TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE) to use her GI Bill benefits to pay her tuition. She learned about the CMVE while visiting a TCC transfer event with her son, Ethan, who was also studying cyber security at the college.

After earning an Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security, the Chesapeake native transferred to Old Dominion University to complete a bachelor’s in cyber security.

“I can tell you TCC was a good value and prepared me for work in the field,” Shook said. “I’m also just as confident in my studies at Old Dominion as those who started at the university.”

Shook plans a future as a malware analyst or reverse computer engineer. She encourages her classmates to take those entry level help desk positions, as they often lead to other possibilities in the field.

“It’s all about networking and getting involved in the industry as soon as possible,” she said. “Your TCC degree is proof to everyone of what you are capable of learning. And it all starts with a single class!”

For special support services for military-related students, visit the CMVE or call 757-822-7645. You can also email

“I’ve gone from nothing to something in three semesters.” — scholarship recipient Dasha Chaney

Dasha Chaney wasn’t ready for college the first time around.

Now the 23-year-old is close to completing her Tidewater Community College cyber degree in just one year.

“I’ve gone from nothing to something in three semesters,” Chaney said. “I actually have the mindset for college now. I’m ready to push and meet my goals.”

A TCC scholarship recipient, Chaney was awarded the Christopher M. Garrett Memorial scholarship for $1,800 and the Barnes and Noble Textbook scholarship for $600.

Chaney is grateful for the funds, as they are helping to ease the financial crunch of her final 16-credit- hour semester at the college.

Dasha Chaney at the Chesapeake Campus.

A high achieving student, Chaney was delighted to be awarded an academic scholarship. “It definitely gives me a boost and peace of mind that I can and will finish my degree,” she said.

Growing up, Chaney opted for Game Boy Advance instead of Barbie dolls.

“I always liked video games that were hands-on and visual. That’s what attracted me to cyber security. It’s a field that’s always advancing,” Chaney said.

The daughter of a Navy officer, Chaney said her father, Lt. Cmdr. Shelley Pulliam, has been a great influence in her life with everything technical, and now as an inspiration for her cyber career.

“My parents encouraged TCC early on, but I didn’t listen. I had to find my way back after a time at Old Dominion and a very brief enlistment in the Navy,” Chaney said.

Now Chaney’s course is clear, and she is preparing to be a cyber security analyst. While at TCC she is also completing her Network+ and A+ certifications. She plans to transfer back to Old Dominion to complete her bachelor’s degree.

Chaney credits campus advisor Kita Graham with helping make the transfer process easy.

An online learner, Chaney sends a shoutout to Joel Kirch, her favorite professor. “The community at TCC is what makes learning possible. All of my professors have been supportive and engaging,” she said.

Chaney participates in the Virginia Beach Campus Cyber Security Club. Because of COVID-19, the group has been meeting virtually for games and competitions. Chaney also volunteers for TCC’s Computers for Student Success, helping to refurbish computers and provide them to students in need.

She encourages students coming after her to “trust in your process and push yourself.”

Chaney added, “Never think you can’t do it, because you always can! And if it doesn’t work out the first time, get back up and try again!”

Spring scholarships are available now and most TCC students qualify. Browse the list of opportunities at to find your fit.