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TCC student awarded top state scholarship

Damien Algernon, a Tidewater Community College student, is this year’s New Century Transfer Pathways Scholarship awardee for the state of Virginia.

Selected out of two hundred applicants, Algernon will receive a $2,250 scholarship.

Algernon was recognized on April 3 at the American Association of Community Colleges conference, held in Denver, Colo., during the President’s Breakfast event.

“We are proud of Damien for this tremendous accomplishment and grateful to be part of his academic journey,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “Damien’s work ethic and perseverance will certainly take him far in his career and life.”

The New Century Pathway Scholarship program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.

Algernon, 18, started at TCC while a sophomore at Salem High School in Virginia Beach. As a dual enrollment student, he got a head start on college, earning his associate degree one year after his high school diploma.

“When the pandemic hit, I had a lot of free time and nowhere to go,” Algernon said. “I decided to take some college courses and found it easy to engage and throw myself into my studies.”

Algernon said that he discovered his life’s passion while at TCC, after taking his first astronomy class. “I always enjoyed chemistry but found a passion for the stars and sky while at TCC.”

Algernon is earning an Associate of Science in Science this May. He plans to continue at a university to study Astro chemistry. He plans to work his way toward a Ph.D. and one day be a researcher and university professor.

While at TCC, Algernon was an intern at NASA, a place where he hopes to work again one day.

TCC Dean of Student Life Emily Hartman with Algernon.

“TCC is a place of opportunities,” Algernon added. “My time at the college helped me discover a career path I’m excited about. But more importantly, it was a place to grow and find out who I am.”

TCC student named to the All-USA Academic Team and is a New Century Pathway Scholar

Scholarship winner Olivia Brichter has a message for Professor Manisha Trivedi.

“I’m sending you a big fat thank you for taking the time, for believing in me, for all of it,” said Brichter, who will graduate from Tidewater Community College in May with an Associate of Science in General Studies.

Brichter was named to the 2020 All-USA Academic Team, a competition sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa. Based on the score she earned, she was named a New Century Pathway Scholar in Virginia.

She will receive a total of $7,250 in scholarship funds to pursue her bachelor’s in neuroscience at Roanoke College.

Seizures and attention deficit hyperactive disorder made learning nearly impossible until Brichter met Trivedi, TCC’s 2018 Professor of the Year. The pair connected weekday mornings to review materials for Brichter’s biology and anatomy and physiology classes. Trivedi helped with strategies for learning like reading the material aloud and writing difficult concepts on a whiteboard.

“Ms. T showed me that I could learn and built my confidence. I give her a lot of credit for my success,” Brichter said.

Brichter also received support through the Open Door Project, a program that offers free academic, career and cultural counseling to low-income, first-time college students on the Norfolk and Portsmouth campuses.

Brichter helped launch the Norfolk Campus Dream (Disabilities, Rights, Education, Activism and Mentoring) Club, a local chapter of the national group. Working with campus leaders, she started Dream to bring students with disabilities and mental health needs together to support each other.

She also worked as a work-study student in the Norfolk Campus advising office, helping other students write their own success stories.

“It’s been a highlight helping students also struggling to find their way,”  Brichter said. “I’ve been able to share my story with so many people coming through our doors. My message is simple: get involved and take every opportunity to help yourself and others.”

Brichter’s journey at the college started a decade ago, so moving on is bittersweet.

“We’re a family on Norfolk Campus,” she said. “The people here helped me come out of my shell, built my confidence and gave me a new direction.”

Brichter hopes to pay it forward by working with children with special needs and doing research in neuroscience.

Financial aid and scholarships help Brichter pay for college. She also received two TCC scholarships: the Tryntje and Norman Willcox Endowed Memorial Scholarship and the Norfolk Campus General Scholarship.

Scholarship applications are open now for TCC students. To learn about scholarships that can help you reach your academic goals, visit