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2018 Women’s Leadership Breakfast highlights student leaders

Shorntail Goodrich never thought of herself as a leader.

Now the Tidewater Community College graduate works with Hearts Full of Grace, a nonprofit organization providing support for those coping with food and housing instability.  She plans to open an extended-stay center to help clients get back on their feet.

Shorntail Goodrich (left) with mentor and faculty member Jennifer Dixon-McKnight.
Shorntail Goodrich (right) with mentor and faculty member Jennifer Dixon-McKnight.

Goodrich, 42, was recognized with the 2017 Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award at TCC’s 16th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast on May 8 at the Chesapeake Campus.  The award is named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Goodrich, who earned an Associate of Science in Business Administration at TCC’s spring commencement exercises, holds a 3.4 GPA.

“I never thought I’d be in leadership roles at TCC or have a high GPA, but I do,” Goodrich said. “With my TCC support team, I’ve been able to accomplish more than I could ever imagine.”

Goodrich served as vice president and president of Alliance of Excellence, an empowerment and community service club on the Norfolk Campus. In her first year, she organized an anti-bullying campaign and was recognized as “Student Leader of the Year.”

Goodrich also planned a human trafficking symposium to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.

“I’m honored by this award and encourage others to be the light where they are,” she said. “It’s our job to adjust our sister’s crown when she is down.

Mary Cullen, vice president of nuclear propulsion, Newport News Shipbuilding, was the keynote speaker for the event.

Cullen chronicled her growth at the shipyard over the last three decades. She started as an environmental engineer and continued to move upward holding positions with increased responsibility.

“Great leaders always put others first,” she said. “For me, I learn something personal about those who work with me. I encourage those relationships because that’s what brings out ideas and builds a team.”

President Kolovani and Mary Cullen.
President Kolovani and Mary Cullen.

President Edna Baehre-Kolovani encouraged guests to continue supporting the Women’s Center’s mission of educating, empowering and engaging women.

She touted TCC’s STEM Promise scholarship program, designed to boost the number of women and minorities in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. The program, in its second year, awards two-year, full-tuition scholarships to selected applicants.

“We are grateful to the many donors who have stepped forward to support this program and the other direct services provided by our Women’s Center, President Kolovani said.

Students in Women Inspiring Self-Empowerment Leadership Development program were also recognized for their leadership roles and civic engagement through service projects.

Dominion Energy was the presenting sponsor of the breakfast.

Additional sponsors included Pender & Coward: Attorneys and Counselors at Law; TowneBank; Dollar Tree; Prevailance, Inc.; The Ascendancy Group; Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management; WTS Hampton Roads Chapter; and WillowOaks Consulting.

TCC to pursue Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence designation

With support from its Congressional delegation, Tidewater Community College will pursue designation as a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence, the college announced today.

The creation of these centers, which will help address the critical need for trained workers in the maritime industry, was approved as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018.

Now, the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration must establish an application and selection process, which may take months. As one of a handful of colleges meeting the statutory qualifications for becoming a Center of Excellence, TCC has already been actively engaged, President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said.

“We will be at the table as this process unfolds,” she said. “In the meanwhile, TCC will keep moving forward with expansion and promotion of maritime workforce education.”

The college offers education and skills training in pipefitting, inside machinist, marine welding, marine electrical, marine mechanical and maritime logistics.

Virginia’s two senators and representatives of Hampton Roads in Congress wrote to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Feb. 13 in support of TCC’s designation.

“Serving the fifth largest port in North American and the largest Naval Base in the world, TCC has a longstanding history of meeting the maritime workforce needs in the Hampton Roads region,” they wrote.

They also pointed to the Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center, based at TCC, and the college’s partnerships with local, regional and national shipbuilding and ship repair companies, such as Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, AMSEC and BAE Systems.

“For these reasons, we request you give full and fair consideration to designate Tidewater Community College a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence, as we believe it is uniquely capable of helping secure our nation’s talent pipeline for the domestic maritime industry,” the letter states.

It was signed by Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine, along with Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), one of the original patrons of the legislation, Rep. Scott Taylor (VA-02), Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-04), and Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03).

“I am grateful for their support,” Kolovani said, noting that the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution during its current session recognizing TCC on its 50th anniversary and for its qualifications to become a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence.

She said that Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth recently awarded the college a new three-year contract to continue providing the academic component of the shipyard’s apprenticeship program, again demonstrating that the maritime industry recognizes TCC’s expertise in maritime education.