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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 moves to remote work and learning environment due to COVID-19

Tidewater Community College students are being asked not to return to campus after Winter Break due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant.

Out of an abundance of caution, TCC is implementing a remote work and learning environment from Jan. 3 – Jan 18, 2022.

Spring Semester classes begin on Jan. 10. All in-person classes will be switched to synchronous online delivery. Classes will remain in remote delivery at least through Jan. 18.

Spring Semester enrollment is ongoing. TCC virtual resources will continue to be available by email at or by calling 757-822-1111.

Student support services will be available for extended hours Jan 3 – 14 as follows:

  • Monday – Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 The college will offer a virtual Special Enrollment Day on Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon. For assistance, email or call 757-822-1111.

For more information on college operations, email

Nursing grad receives job offer and $5,000 signing bonus

Going to school during the pandemic was especially difficult for Alexis Murphy who lost her mom due to COVID-19 in January of 2020, mere weeks after starting nursing school at Tidewater Community College.

“The hardest part was my planning mom’s funeral while acclimating to nursing school,” Alexis said. “But it was my way of honoring her to show up for class, not make any excuses and keep moving in my schooling.”

Alexis outside the nursing school at Portsmouth Campus.

Alexis is one of the hundreds of graduates who will be celebrated during TCC’s 73rd Commencement Exercises on Dec. 20. She will earn an Associate of Science in Nursing.

Alexis has more to celebrate as she recently received a job offer from Sentara Healthcare to join one of the critical care teams at Sentara Leigh hospital. She also received a $5,000 signing bonus.

“My grandmother was a nurse, and I grew up hearing stories about her day. I loved the compassion she had for sick and injured people,” Alexis said.

Alexis is preparing to take her national boards and is confident that she will do well. She attributes much of her success to the nursing faculty who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to lectures and labs.

State-of-the-art patient simulators added to the learning. “The sim rooms are amazing, and the mannequins seem so natural – they breathe, bleed and have emergency situations. Faculty work behind the scenes to run codes so we know how to react in the clinical setting,” Alexis said.

Nursing students complete 500 “clinical” hours of hands-on training in hospitals and clinics, all before graduation.

“We never missed a beat, and TCC did a really good job keeping the clinicals going during the pandemic,” she added.

Alexis earned two scholarships at TCC including the Ruth Pate Memorial Scholarship and the

Holly Hogge-Biagioni Memorial Nursing Scholarship. She served as secretary of the Student Nurses Association and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools.

Alexis also earned her bachelor’s in nursing this December, concurrently with her associate degree, through a special program with Old Dominion University.

Alexis’ husband Eric, who she calls her super support team, will be cheering her success from the stands at Commencement.

“I knew this was what I was meant to do, and I’m so excited to get started,” Alexis said. “My mom received great care in the hospital with COVID, and I want to do the same for other families.”

TCC and JenCare Medical Center to offer COVID-19 vaccine at Portsmouth Campus

Tidewater Community College and JenCare Medical Center will offer a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the college’s Portsmouth Campus on May 28 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

All TCC students, staff and faculty who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine are eligible to attend. The clinic is also open to Portsmouth community members.

Practitioners will administer the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. The second dose will be administered on June 25 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the same location.

There is no cost, but pre-registration is required. Visit here to register and for more information.

Swashbuckling adventure on tap for TCC Theatre radio show

Tidewater Community College presents Quarantine Radio Theatre: “A Princess of Mars” on April 16 for two shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The performance is free and open to the public and will be streamed via Facebook on the TCC Theatre Livestreams page.  

“The virtual radio format gives us an unlimited canvas with which to tell the types of stories we usually couldn’t,” said director Logan Bennett. “I think it will be something new and exciting that the audience will not be expecting.”

The live radio play will be performed in the Black Box Theater on the Chesapeake Campus. The approximate running time is 85 minutes.

“A Princess of Mars” tells the tale of John Carter, a civil war veteran mysteriously transported to the planet Mars. On this dying, warlike planet he meets a bevy of bizarre creatures, falls in love with a beautiful princess, fights in epic battles, and sacrifices all to save the planet from final annihilation. This swashbuckling adventure, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, showcases Carter, the original superhero that inspired Superman, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, and Avatar.

“While we miss performing for a live audience, we see benefits to the radio format as actors learn to convey all the information and physicality through voice alone,” added Bennett. “The audience isn’t limited by a single set or lighting design. They fill in the world with their own imagination. They become an active collaborator in the story. It will be a unique and individual experience, and that can be difficult to achieve in a normal live performance.”

For more information about the play or TCC Theatre, email Assistant Professor Matt Gorris at

TCC to hold its 72nd Commencement Exercises virtually

Tidewater Community College will hold its 72nd Commencement Exercises virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On May 10 at 6 p.m., the college will recognize the achievements of its graduates with an online ceremony that will include messages from President Marcia Conston, student speakers, faculty and staff, and community leaders. 

To participate, students need to apply for graduation by March 22.

Graduates will have the opportunity to see their photos and names displayed during the virtual ceremony. Photos should be submitted by March 26 by using this form.

Parents, family, faculty, alumni and community supporters are also encouraged to send greetings to graduates. The deadline is April 2. 

Also, all May graduates will receive celebratory items for the day including their diploma case, a letter from President Conston, commencement program and alumni pin. 

The exercises will be available as a recording afterward. 

The decision to conduct this ceremony online honors guidelines announced by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and is in line with CDC regulations for social distancing to deter the spread of COVID-19. 

TCC’s May graduates should visit this page for more information about graduation regalia (if desired), yard signs and to join TCC’s alumni community. 

TCC receives donation from UnitedHealthcare to support students in need

Tidewater Community College is the recipient of a $3,500 donation from UnitedHealthcare, which will help students facing food insecurity and other basic needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UnitedHealthcare is one of the largest health care insurance providers in the United States.

The donation will be used to provide food, toiletries, formula and diapers for students in need through the Community Feed at TCC in Norfolk.

TCC and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore partnered to open the food pantry in June of 2020.

“This sponsorship from UnitedHealthcare will provide for the basic needs for our students and their families,” said Jaedda Hall, program coordinator for intercultural learning and the Women’s Center. “The recent COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the needs of college students struggling to meet their basic needs.”

The Community Feed at TCC entrance.

The pantry, made possible thanks to funding from TowneBank, is located across from the Apple Store on the second level of MacArthur Center. The Community Feed distributes meal kits and other fresh food to students with a TCC ID, as well as community members in need. Meal kits must be ordered in advance online.

Addressing food insecurity and other obstacles that impede student success continue to be priorities of TCC.

Entrance of The Community Feed at TCC.

For information about the Community Feed at TCC and other support services available to TCC students during the pandemic, visit this resource page.


Founded in 1968, Tidewater Community College ( helps students of all ages and backgrounds achieve their educational and career goals. TCC is the largest provider of higher education and workforce solutions in southeastern Virginia, serving both students and local employers with in-demand academic and career programs. It is one of 23 schools that make up the Virginia Community College System.


UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @UHC on Twitter.

Re-Employing Virginians Special Enrollment Day

Tidewater Community College is holding a special enrollment day to help those unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For community members who have lost jobs, or seen a reduction in hours, TCC is here to help.

Students and prospective students are invited to attend an online session:

  • Saturday December 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Register for the virtual session here.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative will allocate $27 million in federal relief funds to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

TCC’s allotment will provide tuition-only scholarships of $3,000 for full-time and $1,500 for part-time students who meet basic eligibility requirements. 

The eligible programs of study are in health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education.

This information session will be closed captioned. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made prior to the date of the session. Requests should be sent to Beth Callahan at

This event is open to the public.

For more information call TCC’s enrollment team at 757-822-1111 or email

TCC to hold its 71st Commencement Exercises Virtually

Tidewater Community College will hold its 71st Commencement Exercises virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Dec. 21 at 6 p.m., the college will recognize the achievements of its graduates with an online ceremony that will include remarks by President Marcia Conston, student speakers and a conferring of certificates and degrees. 

Graduates will have the opportunity to see their photos and names displayed during the virtual ceremony.  

Graduates are encouraged to send in a personal photo, video, or message to be included in the virtual event. Parents, family faculty, alumni and community supporters are also encouraged to send greetings to graduates. To participate, visit here. The deadline is Dec. 11. 

Also, all December graduates will receive celebratory items for the day including their diploma case, a letter from President Conston, commencement program and alumni pin. 

The exercises will be available as a recording afterwards. 

The decision to conduct this ceremony online honors guidelines announced by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and is in line with CDC regulations for social distancing to deter the spread of COVID-19. 

TCC’s December graduates should visit this page for more information about graduation regalia, yard signs and to join TCC’s alumni community. 

Ellen surprises TCC alumna dedicated to serving others

Tidewater Community College alumna Rickkita Taylor says the three minutes she spent on “Ellen” were life changing.

Not only did she get to meet DeGeneres, the star of the show, she received $10,000 for her family and another $10,000 the charity she runs.

“Meeting Ellen and being in the room with all of that energy was an amazing experience,” said Taylor, who graduated with an Associate of Science in Business Administration in 2013. “She’s very sweet and has an amazing heart.”

Taylor was surprised to learn that Ellen was pretty normal.

“She was genuine and very smiley and upbeat,” Taylor said. “We talked during commercial breaks, and she was interested in what we are doing to serve the community.”

Taylor sent several letters to Ellen beginning in April as the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up. She wrote about the nonprofit she started, Sisters Healing Sisters.

“I started the charity in 2018 because just a few years ago I was that sister in need,” she said. The single mom of two was without a job or home.

Sisters Healing Sisters, run entirely by volunteers, provides meals and outreach programs for women in need. The goal is to educate, empower and elevate women.

Taylor used her savings and scraped by on last year’s grants and donations for most of 2020. The donation from DeGeneres helps the group serve even more people.

Throughout the pandemic, Sisters Healing Sisters has regularly delivered meals and hygiene items to a local women’s shelter. They also provide groceries and hotel vouchers for homeless families.

While Taylor ended up losing her job due to the pandemic, she never stopped serving. “I had a lot of bills piling up, but my faith in God kept me grounded and kept me going,” she said.

“I understand that it’s not about me. It’s about my purpose, which is to help other people,” she added. “Even though it’s been tough, if I can help someone else, that helps me.”

Taylor is now a real estate agent and back in school for her bachelor’s in social work at Norfolk State University. She hopes to open a transitional home for those in need.

Taylor is thankful to all of the organizations and people who support Sisters Healing Sisters.

“It’s been two years, and we are going strong,” she said. “We are all absolutely committed to the mission and not letting anything slow us down.”

REV program a win-win-win for students, employers & the economy

It’s not just Tidewater Community College students who will benefit from the Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative, which will provide scholarships to those unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional employers will benefit as well. Gov. Ralph Northam’s $27 million initiative in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act targets those in the essential industries of health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education.

“TCC is ready to lead this charge to help students in these essential fields,” said Cindy Free, chair of the TCC College Board. 

REV vouchers are available now

One-time REV scholarships of $3,000 are available to those who qualify for a full-time workforce program and scholarships of $1,500 will help those who qualify for a part time or a short-term, noncredit training program.

Training the next generation of skilled technicians has been an ongoing priority for TCC.

“Mitsubishi Chemical has long supported TCC’s development of workforce training and we have benefited directly from it,” said Bill Yannetti, president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Chemical Composites America. “We believe graduates of the Mechatronics program, and others within the college, are a fantastic source of well-trained, ready-to-work manpower.”

TCC students who complete workforce programs often have jobs prior to graduation.

Helping Virginians get back to work

“We know jobs are plentiful in these high-demand career areas in the Hampton Roads region,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “TCC’s curriculum aligns with the needs of its industry partners in those areas, so once you have the education, you are prepared to be hired immediately. “

TCC’s allotment, $3 million in tuition-only scholarships, will be passed on to those who meet some basic eligibility requirements.

Norfolk’s Jessica South, 21, is among the first to use a REV voucher to enroll at TCC. She looks forward to working toward an associate degree in early childhood education. She is unemployed and would not be able to afford college without the REV program.

“I read up on it and found my degree on the list of programs and right away decided to apply,” said South, who received $3,000 toward her tuition. “I received a call from a TCC advisor the very same day. It was such an easy process.”

TCC partners agree this is a win-win for the community

TCC has a long history of working with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and that continues with the governor’s REV initiative.

“Governor Northam’s commitment to providing the resources to meet the educational needs of Hampton Roads and Virginia residents is a great step in the recovery process,” said Shawn Avery, president and chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.  “The Workforce Council looks forward to supporting Tidewater Community College in promoting this opportunity to the region.”

Northam regards the program as a win for workers, employers and the state’s economy.

“As we focus on recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, the new REV initiative will give Virginians the resources they need to get back on their feet and help ensure that our Commonwealth emerges from this public health crisis even stronger than we were before,” he said.

To find out if you qualify for a REV scholarship, visit here.

Live! Inside the TCC greenhouse and Horticulture lab

In this series, we provide a closer look at hands-on learning during COVID-19.

While COVID-19 means online learning for most Tidewater Community College students, many are in the classroom for hands-on training. In fact, more than 400 sections of classes in interior design, automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs have on-campus components. 

Take a look inside a Horticulture program lab

Chesapeake Campus is home to the college’s Horticulture program and a new state-of-the-art greenhouse. When you enter the open-air space, your senses savor the sights and smells of hundreds of flowers and ornamental plants.

During the Greenhouse Crop Production lab, students learn to cultivate flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and floristry. They check soil levels, water, prune and master growing techniques. The course covers commercial best practices for growing flowering crops and considers production requirements, environmental control and management.

During this lab, students also practiced the pour-through technique, a tool used to determine if the crops are thriving. Students pour water through the plants and then collect the water residue. From there, they test the sample to measure the pH and electrical conductivity of the plants.

In addition, students prepared fall pansies for delivery to a community event for the Community Feed at TCC, a program that provides meals, fresh foods and hygiene items for students in need. The Community Feed is a partnership program among TCC, the Foodbank and TowneBank.

Emily Gonzales in the TCC greenhouse.

Student voices

“I’d like to own my own nursery, and these propagation skills are a must. There’s no question that we have to complete these classes to get jobs in this field.” – Bryce Pate

“I’m learning the skills I need to be head grower in a greenhouse. The on-campus learning and greenhouse experience is invaluable.” – Derrick Broadous

“This material is challenging to learn online. You get so much more out of the labs by working in the greenhouse. And it’s nice to go somewhere during the pandemic!” – Emily Gonzales

About the instructor

Zach Nissen with the Foodbank and professor Tomlin.
Zach Nissen with the Foodbank and Professor Tomlin

Professor Andrea Tomlin, the Horticulture department head, has more than 20 years of experience in the field with an emphasis in greenhouse operations and production, landscape design and maintenance. She joined TCC in 2016, after serving as the Virginia Cooperative Horticulture Extension Agent with the City of Norfolk. She also held teaching positions with Virginia Beach and Chesapeake public schools.

The TCC alumna earned her Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture. Tomlin continued at Virginia Tech where she earned a bachelor’s in horticulture education and therapy and master’s in vocational and technical education, with a concentration in agricultural education.

Good to know

The horticulture program at TCC can help you grow your passion into a career. Horticulture requires an understanding of science and business, and TCC’s program emphasizes both. The curriculum provides a range of instruction from growing plants to designing and managing landscapes.

Students working with flowers
Students grew a variety of pansies including red violas, matrix purple, as well as matrix white, yellow and red.

More information

Learn about TCC’s Horticulture degree and certificate programs here or contact Professor Tomlin at or

TCC military-related students to receive housing stipend while learning online

COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives.

But thanks to a new law, the pandemic doesn’t have to derail the educational plans of TCC’s military-related students.

A new law, S. 3503, gives the Veterans Administration temporary authority to continue GI Bill payments uninterrupted and allows for continued payment of benefits, even if the program has changed from resident training to online training.

Since the start of the pandemic, TCC transitioned to remote learning for most students and will continue in that format at least through Spring Semester 2021.

 “We’re honored to serve our military students and their families and know that having this financial resource guaranteed will certainly help many of our students on their academic journeys,” said Veronica Cianetti, Director, Military and Veterans Services at TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE).

Traditionally, the housing stipend is only given to students who attend classes on campus. But with most colleges transitioning to remote learning due to COVID-19, the new law extends protection for veteran students studying online.

The protection will continue until at least December 2021.

To learn more about TCC’s services for military-related students, visit here.

For more information about using your GI Bill benefits, call the CMVE at 757-822-7645 or 855-399-7480 (toll-free if outside the U.S.).

Live! From inside a Machine Technology lab

In this series, we provide a closer look at hands-on learning during COVID-19.

While COVID-19 means online learning for most Tidewater Community College students, some are back in the classroom for hands-on training. In fact, more than 400 sections of classes in interior design, automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs have on-campus components. 

A peek inside the Precision Machining Lab

Lathes. Computer numerical control mills. Measurement tools.

Students in Rick Dyer’s machining classes are hands-on with state-of-the art equipment at the Precision Machining Lab on the Chesapeake Campus. It’s the same stuff they’ll encounter in the real world.

Students complete the lab work at their own pace for several classes, including Machine Shop Practices (Machining 161) and Cooperative Education in Machine Technology (Machining 297).

In the basic course, they learn safety procedures and master hand tools, precision measuring instruments, drill presses, cut-off saws, engine lathes, manual surface grinders, and milling machines.

Steve Toi doing precision work.

“Tonight, we’re making a motor shaft, gauge blocks and drill gauges used for sharpening drill bits,” Dyer said. “We’re thrilled to be back in the space because trying to learn online is tough. You have to see it and feel it to really do this work.”

Safety remains a priority in light of COVID-19.

 “We have plenty of room to work and we are being diligent about cleaning the machines and tools between users,” Dyer said. “We’re using a plant-based disinfectant that kills germs but also protects the equipment from corrosion.”

 Student voices

Andrew Crowe

“This is an excellent program. With my full schedule it’s very helpful to have these labs in the evenings,” said Andrew Crowe, an IT tech in the Navy, retraining for a career as a metal worker. “I’m enjoying the interactions with classmates. It gets lonely teleworking at home, so this is a great distraction, and it’s preparing me for what comes after the military.”

“In here, you’re not working on a computer screen, and what you make you have in your hand. It either works or it doesn’t,” said Chris Smith. “We’re getting excellent instruction from Mr. Dyer, who is an expert in the field.” Smith is making a motor shaft and expanding his skills so he can get into fabrication. He currently works as an electrical engineering tech for the Coast Guard.

“I love working with machinery and making things,” said J.D. Evett. “I got away from this work 20 years ago, and I’m so glad to be back into it.” Evett is working on a surface grinder making a set of gauge blocks. He transferred to TCC after his program shut down at another college due to COVID-19. He said he is grateful to continue learning to get closer to his goal.

“It’s still surprising to see the tool come to life when we cut it,” said Carter Casady, a dual-enrolled high school sophomore from Kellam High. “I’m enjoying the machining as well as actually being in a lab and talking to other people.”

Good to know

The Precision Machining Lab prepares students for work in advanced manufacturing on the seven basic machine tools: turning machines, shapers, and planers, drilling machines, milling machines, grinding machines, power saws, and presses.

The lab includes computer numerical controlled mills, lathes, and surface grinders, along with numerous manual machine tools.
The lab is used by TCC students studying Machine Technology, Mechatronics, Maritime Technologies and Engineering.

About the instructor

Program lead Rick Dyer with JD Evett.

Rick Dyer studied machining at Southeastern Regional Technical High School and completed his journeyman certification in 1981.  He served 22 years in the Navy as a machinery repairman.  After retiring, he worked for Newport News Ship Building as a planning engineer until accepting a teaching position with Norfolk Public Schools.

He studied career and technical education at Old Dominion University and holds a master’s in community college education.  He has been at TCC since 2007, teaching engineering graphics, manufacturing and mechatronics at the Chesapeake and Virginia Beach campuses. In 2019, Dyer became the program lead for the Machining Technology Program.

 Sign up

To learn more about TCC’s hands-on career and technical programs, including Machine Technology, email Dyer at or email or call 757-822-1111.

“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.

Live! Inside the TCC kitchens

In this series, we provide a closer look at hands-on learning during COVID-19.

While COVID-19 means online learning for most Tidewater Community College students, some are back in the classroom for hands-on training. In fact, more than 400 sections of classes in interior design, automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs have on-campus components. 

A peek inside the TCC kitchens

Step inside the TCC kitchens for International Cuisine and you’ll see students preparing food specialties from around world. In the large commercial space, students are working at individual cooking stations, creating dishes that look great, and smell even better!

“It may look different in here with the distancing, masks and cleaning protocols, but it’s all going well,” said chef Caroline Blackmon, who joined the college in 2015 after owning and operating her own cafe and catering business.

She added, “For culinary courses, the book helps teach concepts, but there’s nothing that beats the real-world experiences you gain in the kitchen.”

Chef Caroline Blackmon helping with a recipe.

International Cuisine is considered a “challenge” class, where students work independently and select recipes to demonstrate their skills. During this lab, TCC student chefs are creating a variety of entrees from matzo ball soup to curry tuna and couscous to American pot roast.

What if I can’t cook?

You don’t need any experience to sign up for the Culinary Arts program at TCC. Anyone with the desire to cook and the willingness to work hard can excel in the program. TCC’s Culinary Arts program is taught by expert faculty chefs who combine practical experience and academic perspective in all course work and integrate computer applications in the classroom and labs.

Student voices

“This is a program where we help each other, and I feel relieved to be back at school,” said Angelique Sherrod. “I absolutely, positively love it. I would not trade my time here for any of those fancy schools. This place feels like home.”

“This has been a very encouraging and positive experience,” said Brandon Parrish. “Chef Blackmon is kind, helpful and honest. She also has high expectations because she knows we can do it and wants us to succeed.”

“I completed the sanitization and safety class with chef Amie Burns last fall and now we are using those skills daily,” said Tarranium Burns. “I’m excited to get out there and use what I’m learning in the culinary world.”

Good to know

TCC’s Culinary Arts program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Education Foundation Accrediting Commission. Students who complete TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts and maintain a student membership in ACF automatically receive their first industry credential, Certified Culinarian.

TCC students can complete their TCC culinary degree for less than the cost of one semester at a for-profit, four-year culinary school.

Sign up!

To learn more about TCC’s culinary program, email program head chef Don Averso at For more information about getting started at TCC, email or call 757-822-1111.

TCC classes will stay largely online for the spring semester

Most of Tidewater Community College’s class schedule will remain online for the Spring 2021 Semester, with some classes being taught with a combination of online and in-person instruction.

Spring classes begin Jan. 11.

Career and technical courses, as well as some academic courses that require hands-on instruction, will be taught online and supplemented with on-campus sessions.

More than 400 sections of classes, including automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, music, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs, will have on-campus components. Browse spring classes here.

“It’s been a successful fall semester for our students at TCC, who have embraced both the face-to-face instruction we offer and the remote learning option,” said Michelle Woodhouse, interim vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer. “The safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our top priority, which is why we will continue to offer most classes online for the spring 2021 semester. However, we will increase our hybrid offerings, which allow students to combine traditional learning with web-based instruction.”

The college will continue to comply with health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health.

Faculty, staff, students and visitors must wear face coverings, use hand-sanitizer and complete a health self-assessment when they enter all college buildings. Signs serve as reminders for all to practice physical distancing and healthy hygiene.

Current and new students and their families can use TCC’s virtual student support services to prepare for the coming spring semester. Assistance is available with admissions, academic advising, financial aid, tuition payments and more.

For those without access to technology, TCC offers Virtual Student Support Rooms. These rooms are equipped with computers and internet access and will link directly to TCC’s virtual resources. Students will also be able to obtain I.D. cards, drop off documentation, and access computer labs.

For further assistance, call 757-822-1111 or email

Surf’s up for TCC student

Rachel Wilson is making waves.

At 17, she’s a pro surfer, but she’s also a college student. Wilson is getting a head start on a degree with dual enrollment courses at Tidewater Community College.

The Virginia Beach native began taking dual enrollment courses at TCC last fall.  When she finishes high school in December, she will have nearly two semesters of college completed.

Online courses allow the homeschooled high school senior to travel to wherever the World Surf League Qualifying Series takes her.

“There have been no surprises at TCC. Online learning works for me, and the professors have been really great,” Wilson said. “It’s beneficial having deadlines and a schedule.”

Dubbed the “Giant Killer,” Wilson became the first female to qualify for the finals at the East Coast Surfing Championships last month in Virginia Beach. While the pandemic shut down competitions for a time, Wilson is stoked to be back on her board.

“I missed competing so much,” Wilson said. “I love free surfing, but competing is my favorite thing to do. I love getting to travel and compete against awesome people who push you to get better.”

Wilson, who regularly surfs at the First Street jetty, has set her sights on the World Tour, where she hopes to compete against the top 17 women in the world. “It’s super difficult to compete at that level, but with training and good coaches, I’m hoping to make it,” she said.

Wilson, who has earned all A’s in college, plans to pursue an associate in nursing at TCC.

“My sister-in-law is a nurse who came through the program. She inspired me to follow in her footsteps,” she said.

Before the pandemic, Wilson volunteered at Sentara Norfolk General, an experience that confirmed her passion for field.

 “My mom had some health problems, and I saw her getting care,” she said. “I’d like to be on the frontlines and also have a career where I can support myself.”

Wilson is the youngest of four and the third sibling in her family to study at TCC. “For me, TCC has been a seamless transition,” Wilson said. “And while I’m not getting the social aspects of college right now, I’m learning and working hard. That’s what is most important to me.”

Live! From inside the classroom – Automotive

In this series, we provide a closer look at hands-on learning during COVID-19.

While COVID-19 means online learning for most Tidewater Community College students, some are back in the classroom for hands-on training. In fact, more than 400 sections of classes in interior design, automotive, health professions, welding, veterinary technology, culinary arts, visual arts, electronics technology and other programs have on-campus components. 

A peek inside an Automotive Technology instructional bay

Walk into one of the 15 instructional bays at the Regional Automotive Center (RAC), and you’ll see students at work on real cars using state-of-the-art equipment and tools.

In the Toyota lab, students learn about advanced electrical repairs with instructor Darryl Parker. Vehicles in the bay have been set up to have “problems,” which include nonfunctioning power windows, fog lights and headlights.

All of the students in the lab are second-year students who are also completing externship hours at local repair facilities.

Tips for learning

They work as a team! Before COVID-19, teams were larger, but social distancing and safety guidelines resulted in two-person teams collaborating to solve each problem.

Student voices

“It’s good to be back! My favorite thing is the hands-on with all the right tools. I’m absolutely glad to be here,” said Cody Kaneiss, who works at Charles Barker Lexus and hopes to become a master technician with his own shop.

“It’s hard to learn a lot of things we need to online,” said Jaiden Jenkins, who works at Casey Toyota. “It’s much better to be in here with the cars. I’m a little nervous being back because we are learning advanced electrical work, but not because of COVID.”

“With this kind of program, you really need the hands-on,” said Aaron Johnson, who works at Checkered Flag Toyota. “It’s a little more difficult now with the safety precautions, but well worth it!”

About the professor

Parker is a master technician with more than 20 years in the field. During labs he shares his real-world experiences and expertise with students.

“We are in our ninth week of face-to-face labs because we started in thesummer,” he said. “Students are working safely and doing an excellent job on their assigned tasks. It’s great to see everyone sticking to the guidelines.”

About the program

Students in the college’s Automotive Technology program prepare to become technicians at dealerships and shops across the state. TCC’s technologically advanced curriculum is based on the Master Automotive Technology standards set forth by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Students learn in the RAC, the area’s only high-tech facility for automotive technicians.

For more information about the Regional Automotive Center and the college’s automotive, diesel and marine technology programs, call Bobby Rowe, Sr. at 757-822-5176 or email

Get fit. Play a game. Join a club.

During these days of COVID-19, it’s easy to feel isolated, alone and disconnected. While the students centers on the campuses at Tidewater Community College have shut their doors for now, the new Virtual Student Center (VSC) offers plenty of new options to get involved.

Connect with student life through the VSC within Canvas. Throughout the semester, students can participate in online activities, leadership workshops, social events and community service opportunities.

For starters, there’s a virtual game night on Friday, Sept. 4. TCC also offers all sorts of student clubs, from sign language to coding to criminal justice to investments. Find your favorite.

More events are planned for the fall, including student kickbacks, resume building workshops, a session on student tech tools, a Harry Potter-themed escape room and an emerging leaders series.

TCC’s Virtual Student Center is designed to help students grow personally, professionally and academically. Areas of focus include:

  • Advocacy & Awareness
  • Beyond the Classroom
  • Fitness & Wellness
  • Gaming & Recreation
  • Resources & Support
  • Student Clubs & Leadership

Self-enroll to access the VSC through your Canvas Dashboard. Or click here to get involved.