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Memorial Day Closure

TCC will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

Mitsubishi Chemical America supports Mechatronics students with scholarships and careers

Tidewater Community College is the recipient of a $5,000 donation from Mitsubishi Chemical America in support of scholarships for high school students. This donation brings the company’s giving to TCC to $21,225 over the last five years.

Mitsubishi Chemical America’s donation supports scholarships for Chesapeake Public School students dual enrolled in the college’s Mechatronics program. The goal of the program is to prepare students for work in advanced manufacturing upon graduation.

“Our industry leaders tell us that they are in need of skilled technicians, and our graduates are well prepared for the work ahead,” said Beno Rubin, Dean of the college’s Manufacturing and Transportation Pathway.  “We’re grateful for the support of our industry partners as we train the next generation of technicians.”

Dylan Starowicz is a Mechatronics graduate who now works at Mitsubishi Chemical America – ALPOLIC division in Chesapeake.

Students start taking classes in their junior and senior years on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, training in state-of-the-art labs with professors who have abundant industry experience. Classes cover everything from industrial robotics, digital systems, electric motor control, programmable logic control and instrumentation.

“Manufacturing has changed considerably since we began operations in Chesapeake 30 years ago. The TCC Mechatronics program develops a technically skilled workforce that will help us continue to innovate in the years to come,” said Bill Yannetti, Chief Operating Officer of Mitsubishi Chemical America – ALPOLIC Division.

Mitsubishi Chemical America was among a group of local manufacturing firms that launched this scholarship in 2018. Company representatives also serve on TCC’s advisory committee for Mechatronics.

TCC opens new robotics lab on Chesapeake Campus

Tidewater Community College’s Chesapeake Campus celebrated the opening of its new robotics lab on Nov. 18 at a community event that included the city’s mayor, Rick West.  

“Once again, Tidewater Community College is leading the way in training, and this is especially important as we continue to grow in the manufacturing sector and other areas,” West said.

Faculty member Eric Beaver shows Jim Spore, Corey McCray and Mayor West how to operate one of the FANUC robots.

Also in attendance: Chesapeake Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cotton, a TCC alumnus; Shonda Pittman-Windham, program administrator, Chesapeake Career Center; Barry Brown, principal at Deep Creek Elementary School and a member of the TCC College Board; and Jim Spore, chief executive officer of Reinvent Hampton Roads and a member of the TCC Real Estate Foundation Board.

“This afternoon we are cutting the ribbon on a new robotics lab, one that will help our students master the modern automation and control technology used in today’s manufacturing industry,” said Corey McCray, interim executive vice president for academics and student affairs. “With the availability of manufacturing jobs in Hampton Roads steadily ticking upward, we continue our commitment to training skilled workers for competitive careers in the industry.”

More than 40 guests attended the robotics lab ribbon cutting.

The lab contains six state-of-the-art FANUC (Fuji Automatic Numerical Control) robots and training stations. The TCC lab is part of the FANUC Education Network, with students following the company’s curriculum and learning industry applications.

Faculty members Eric Beaver and Tyrone Goodman, both from the college’s Mechatronics program, designed the lab.

“We have some pretty impressive equipment in this lab,” Beaver said. “Each robot has a vision system and can track objects and be programmed to complete tasks. FANUC is the industry standard and these robots are exactly what students will see on the job.”

Interim Provost James Edwards invited McCray, Cotton, West and Beaver to share in the ceremonial snip.

Although Nov. 18 marked the official opening of the lab, TCC and CPS dual-enrolled mechatronic students have used it throughout this fall semester. The labs hum with activity daily with 16 students in each section.

“I’m pleased to be part of the opening of TCC’s robotics lab, a state-of-the-art addition to the Mechatronics program and a shining example of our shared vision to prepare students for STEM jobs of the future,” Cotton said.

Cotton also noted that the first cohort of 15 CPS dual-enrolled mechatronics students graduated in May 2019. Today, three of those students earn competitive wages and benefits in local manufacturing firms, while others are continuing at TCC to earn their associate degrees in just one year.

TCC students Taylor Pules, Tyjuan Jones and Cory Blume at work in the robotics lab.

Tyjuan Jones, a current student employed at IMS Gear, refers to himself as the “robot guy” thanks to the knowledge he gained in the lab.

“It’s a lot to learn every day and always something new. I like it all, but the troubleshooting is my favorite part,” he said.

Cory Blume, also with IMS Gear, added, “This is definitely the most interesting class, and it’s a great opportunity to practice in a safe zone before taking it to the job.”

Foodbank CEO will be keynote for TCC’s 68th commencement on May 13

Ruth Jones Nichols, chief executive officer of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, will be the keynote speaker for Tidewater Community College’s 68th Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 13, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Commencement, which begins at 6 p.m., will be streamed live at

Jones Nichols is a previous recipient of TCC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Distinguished Service Award. She became CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore in 2016. Previously, the Hampton Roads native served as executive director of the YWCA South Hampton Roads. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from the Catholic University of America, a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s in sociology from the College of William & Mary.

Ruth Jones Nichols will be the keynote speaker for TCC’s 68th Commencement Exercises.

More than 1,300 students will graduate, including five from TCC’s inaugural class of STEM Promise Program scholars. Recipients of the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program scholarship pay no tuition or fees to complete their associate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines. All will transfer to four-year universities with junior class standing.

Thanks to expanded partnership programs with Chesapeake Public Schools (CPS) and Portsmouth Public Schools (PPS), TCC will graduate its largest class ever of dual enrollment students from both cities.

Fifteen of those graduates earned career studies certificates in mechatronics. These students were enrolled in a special career pathway that included taking selected classes in their high schools for the first two years, to work toward a recognized industry credential and in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing.

If they choose to continue their education at TCC, they will be able to achieve associate degrees in mechatronics in just one year.

Fourteen CPS students will graduate with career studies certificates in electrical wiring for technicians; 13 additional will receive career studies certificates in welding; and seven more have earned career studies certificates in pharmacy technician.

Six Portsmouth Campus students will graduate with the Governor’s Medallion, awarded to high school students who complete associate degrees while still in high school. All six will receive associate degrees in social sciences and enter four-year colleges as juniors.

In addition, two students from PPS will graduate with career studies certificates in maritime welding.

The student speaker is Charleston Yancey, who is graduating with his Associate of Science in Social Sciences. The Norfolk native, one of nine students from the college nominated to the Phi Theta Kappa 2019 All-Virginia Academic Team, will transfer to Virginia Wesleyan University this fall to work toward a bachelor’s in psychology.