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Meet our diverse class of STEM Promise Program scholars

Emmanuel Abuah plans to transfer to either MIT or Virginia Tech’s engineering program. Julie Jackson fell in love with code the very first time she typed it in for a class project. I.C. Norcom High graduate Jadelyn Perry didn’t want to choose between a graphic design or computer science degree, so she’s pursuing both.

Meet Tidewater Community College’s fourth class of Women’s Center STEM Promise Program scholars, each of whom will receive full tuition and fees for two years of study. The 20 recipients will pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines at TCC.

“The STEM Promise scholars embody TCC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by identifying underrepresented students and supporting them as they prepare to enter the workforce in STEM fields,” said Jeanne Natali, director of the Intercultural Learning and Women’s Center at TCC.

The newest class includes students from all over Hampton Roads selected from a competitive pool of more than 100 applications. Recipient Noah Boucher, aiming to complete a doctorate in electrical engineering, is a former intern at Jefferson Lab. Zackary Kopp, who will major in Mechanical Engineering Technology, is a former IMS Gear intern. Madison Millspaugh researched, designed and built a prototype for a propeller-based bladed boat while in middle school. She plans to pursue her associate in engineering.

Ten of the recipients intend to study some form of engineering at TCC.

“Our newest cohort is a combination of students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, all with a common desire to pursue degrees and successful careers in the STEM fields,” said Jaedda Hall, coordinator for the program. “TCC continues to be committed to creating a larger and more diverse STEM workforce pipeline — with 70 percent of students in this cohort identifying as an underrepresented student in STEM.”

The TCC Educational Foundation started the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program four years ago with the goal of creating a larger, more diverse STEM pipeline in Hampton Roads. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply for the scholarships, which are open to all.

Applicants must meet requirements that include a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and eligibility for in-state tuition. Recipients must enroll as full-time students in the following associate degree programs: Engineering, Civil Engineering Technology, Electronics Technology, Information Systems Technology, Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering Technology.

For more information about the program, contact Hall at To learn how you can support the STEM Promise Program, contact the TCC Educational Foundation at

The 2020 recipients

Emmanuel Abuah, returning student

Noah Boucher, Grassfield High

Loren Butts-Bails, returning student

Brenden Dial, Kempsville High

Alex Grant, returning student

Jasmine Grant, Bayside High

Julie Jackson, Princess Anne High

Benjamin Johnson, Deep Creek High

Halimat Kadri, Salem High

Zachary Kopp Kellam High

Shannon McGuire, Kellam High

Madison Millspaugh, First Colonial High

Kaileen Myers, Landstown High

Courtney Njoo, college graduate

Jadelyn Perry, I.C. Norcom High

Hunter Pollock, Ocean Lakes High

Taeya Richardson, returning student

Ryan Stites, Grassfield High

Shelleby Watson, returning student

Kyler Wimbush, First Colonial High

Women’s History Month 2020

Tidewater Community College celebrates Women’s History Month and the strength and perseverance of women alongside students and community members like you!

Spanning the entirety of March, TCC is hosting a month-long celebration for Women’s History Month. These events include panels, speeches, and interactive learning events designed to educate and inform those who wish to learn more about the history of women and how women continue to overcome adversity and challenges by rising above them.

Events are free and open to the public.


The Women’s Center at Tidewater Community College offers comprehensive, specialized services to educate, empower, enhance and engage students so they can define, pursue and achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals. The Women’s Center is a leader and resource on women’s unique interests and is committed to advocating for equality and social justice for all. The Women’s Center provides a safe environment and creates a campus culture for students to exchange ideas, network and advocate for these goals.

It’s never too late to be a STEM scholar

All Kellie Burchfield needed to do was enroll in one more class to complete her certificate in Geographic Information Systems.

Instead, information about Tidewater Community College’s STEM Promise Program caught her eye. The Women’s Center scholarship awards tuition and fees for four semesters to 20 students annually who choose degree paths in STEM fields.

It’s a competitive pool with as many as 100 applicants, many of them directly from STEM academies at the local high schools.

At 49 years old, “I didn’t think I would get it,” Burchfield admitted.

The senior engineering technician at the City of Suffolk’s Department of Public Utilities applied with the support of her colleagues, including the assistant director who wrote her recommendation letter.

“Shocked,” was her reaction when she was among the students selected. “I mean, it was really wonderful,” she said.

These days, Burchfield balances her full-time job with five classes, some online and evening. She’s also a regular at her daughter’s cheerleading events and the only parent home during the week as her husband, Tony, holds a job based in Fredericksburg.

“He’s home every other weekend, and that really helps,” Burchfield said. “That’s when I bury myself in my room to study.”

Traditional college wasn’t an option for Burchfield right after high school; instead, she went to work. She started in an administrative role in land surveying and learned that business from the ground up. Earning her associate in computer science at TCC helped her move into a better opportunity with the City of Suffolk.

That’s where’s she’s been for the last seven years, moving from asset management to engineering technician to her current role, a mobile one that allows her to travel all over Virginia’s largest geographic city.

Working directly with the engineers in her department made her eager to learn more about the profession herself, prompting her to apply to the STEM Promise Scholarship Program. She is working toward an Associate of Science in Civil Engineering Technology.

So far, she ranks pre-calculus as her toughest obstacle; online tutorials help.

“I’m learning everything all over again,” she said. “Sometimes I wonder, ‘What was I thinking?’ Most of the time though, I’m OK.”

When she graduates from TCC in December 2021, Burchfield will consider transferring to Old Dominion University for her bachelor’s in civil engineering. She encourages anyone, especially women, to considering applying for TCC’s STEM Scholarship.

She stresses it’s never too late to learn something new.

“We really need more women in the field,” she said. “This is a great first step.”

For information about applying to the Women’s Center STEM Promise Scholarship Program, email coordinator Jaedda Hall at

TCC alumna brings hope and help to homeless, others in Hampton Roads

When Rickkita Taylor was at Tidewater Community College, she earned more than an associate degree. She learned how to support people in need through her work as a peer counselor with the college’s Women’s Center.

That’s where she came up with an idea for what’s now her own nonprofit. Sisters Healing Sisters aspires to provide help and hope for single moms, homeless families and others in need. Its mission is “empower, educate and elevate women from all walks of life.”  

Taylor served as the in-house marketing supervisor for Diamond Resorts International for three years. She now works as a leasing consultant for an apartment complex.

Now that I have a better paying job because of my TCC degree, I can afford to give more, help more,” she said.

A single mom of two boys, Taylor understands what it’s like to struggle. Losing her retail job led her to TCC to forge a new beginning. She graduated in 2016 with her Associate of Science in Business Administration.

She launched Sisters Healing Sisters nearly a year ago to become part of the solution. Working with a team of volunteers, Taylor organized a “Homeless but not Hopeless” community feeding event that provided meals and toiletries to more than 50 people at the Oceanfront.  The group seeks out others to help, often in unexpected locations.

“Our goal is to reach those with the greatest need. If we have to venture into the woods to find them, that’s what we do,” Taylor said. “We not only give out meals, but we also give out hugs, we talk, we motivate them, and let them know that they are not alone and we are here to help.”

The group also hosted a free workshop on securing credit and career readiness. More than  25 people participated and at the end of the sessions, they received interview outfits and shoes.

Sisters Healing Sisters is currently sponsoring a family for back-to-school, providing clothing, shoes and school supplies. Community partners have joined the effort, offering everything from haircuts to tutoring.

Taylor invests her own money to keep the charity afloat. She juggles that with her work at the apartment complex and will soon sit for her real estate license.

“We definitely want to expand on what we are doing,” she said. “This is not a one-and-done thing for us.”

TCC Women’s Center celebrates 25 years with a “25 for 25” matching gift challenge

Tidewater Community College’s Women’s Center marked its 25th anniversary by sponsoring a matching gift challenge to support programs and students in need.

Dukas with student Tiffany Warren and President DeCinque.

MaryAnne Dukas, a Women’s Center advisory council member, challenged donors with a dollar-for-dollar matching gift up to $25,000 at the Women’s Leadership breakfast held at the Slover Library in downtown Norfolk on Wednesday morning. The campaign will be called “25 for 25.”

“Many women in our community would not reach their goals without the support of the Women’s Center,” said Dukas, director of CONCOA Precision Gas Controls. “Through the center, they get support in every area of their lives. I’m proud to do my part to support this work.”

“We are humbled by the generosity shown by MaryAnne today,” said TCC President Gregory DeCinque. “Because of her generosity, the Women’s Center will continue providing quality programs as well as emergency support services for students in need.”

Corynne Arnett, with Dominion Energy, encourages students at the breakfast.

The event included a keynote address by Corynne Arnett, vice president of customer service with Dominion Energy. Arnett talked about her personal and professional journey, encouraging students to be confident, willing to try something new, and prepare for the challenges ahead.

“Your actions will speak louder than your words in your career,” said Arnett. “Be sure to stay focused on excellence and doing the best job you can.”

Arnett added, “As you move through your career, continue to leverage the great work of organizations like the Women’s Center. Be open to new opportunities and be prepared, and remember, ‘You’ve got this!’ Reach out and help other women and future leaders along the way, and we will collectively continue to make great strides.”

Student Tiffany Warren received this year’s Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award, named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Warren, pursuing an Associate of Science in Business Administration, maintains a 3.7 GPA. She is a senator for the Virginia Beach Campus Student Government Association and the youngest member of the Women’s Center’s Women Inspiring Self Empowerment Leadership Development program.

Warren with her mentor Penny Sanchez.

Dominion Energy was the presenting sponsor for the breakfast with Bonita Billingsley Harris serving as the event host.

The Women’s Center, established in 1993, serves as a resource on women’s issues and works to promote an atmosphere of diversity. The center offers comprehensive, specialized services to educate, empower, and engage women so they can define, pursue and achieve their academic and personal goals.

To donate to the “25 for 25” campaign, click here or  contact Jeanne Natali, director of the Women’s Center, at

Women’s Leadership Breakfast a celebration of 25 years for TCC’s Women’s Center

Tidewater Community College’s 17th annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast marks the 25th year of the college’s Women’s Center. The breakfast will be held on June 26 at 8 a.m., in the Slover Library, 235 East Plume St., in Norfolk.

The event celebrates community leaders, mentors and TCC students dedicated to academic excellence and service.

Corynne Arnett, vice president-customer service for Dominion Energy, will be the keynote speaker. She will encourage future leaders with her personal story.

Arnett joined Dominion Energy in 1997 as a tax professional. She serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the Library of Virginia Foundation, the board of directors of the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg and on the board of trustees for The New Community School. Arnett holds a master’s in taxation from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor’s in accounting from Virginia Tech.

The Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Awards will be presented at the breakfast.

Dominion Energy is the presenting sponsor for the event, which is open to the public. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online.

For more information, call the Women’s Center at 757- 822-7296 or email

Trailblazing train conductor from NNSY is the headliner for TCC’s Women’s History Month celebration

Tidewater Community College will recognize Women’s History Month with a keynote speech by the first African-American female train conductor at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, who is also an alumna of the college.

Bianca Wilson
Bianca Wilson

Bianca Wilson’s talk will encourage students to work hard and follow their dreams. She will speak on March 7 at noon at the Norfolk Campus Student Center, 5th floor.

Wilson earned an associate degree in administrative support technology from TCC. The mother of three owns her own photography business, Everlasting Pictures and Photobooth, LLC.

The talk is free and open to the public.

TCC Women’s History Month Events

Note: Three luncheons noted below focus on Returning Women. Many women take a break from formal education for one reason or many, including to raise a family, start a career or serve in the military. When they resume higher education, they are categorized as “Returning Women.”

The luncheons also provide opportunities to learn about the programs offered by TCC’s Women’s Center, and visit with representatives from admissions, financial aid and student support services.

March 5

International Women’s Day – “Women in War Zones: Stories of Peril & Persistence”
12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Virginia Beach Campus, Intercultural Learning Center, Room A-115

Join the conversation with two experts in the area of refugee resettlement. They will speak about the needs of women fleeing and surviving in conflict zones. Presented by the Intercultural Learning Center in observation of International Women’s Day.

Presenters are Suheir Diyab, refugee resettlement supervisor, and Soheila Alizadeh, refugee mental health specialist, both with Commonwealth Catholic Charities.

March 21

Returning Women’s Luncheon – Chesapeake Campus
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. – Chesapeake Campus Student Center, Chesapeake Bay Room

Benita Adams
Benita Adams

Speaker Benita Adams is a television and radio host, author and motivational speaker. She has worked in the media and communications field for more than 30 years, including Channel 13 News Now, an ABC affiliate, in Hampton Roads. She is currently the host and producer of the radio show “Hampton Roads Voices” on Norfolk State University’s WNSB 91.1.

Space is limited. To reserve a seat, contact the Intercultural Learning Center at or 757-822-7296

March 26

Returning Women’s Luncheon – Norfolk Campus
12:30 – 2:30 p.m., Norfolk Campus, Student Center, 5th Floor

Valerie Myers
Valerie Myers

Chesapeake native Valerie Myers, the media and communications coordinator with the City of Virginia Beach, is the speaker. She received her associate degree from TCC in 2005.  She went on to earn a bachelor’s in English and creative writing, with a minor in African American Studies, from Old Dominion University.

Space is limited. To reserve your seat, contact the Intercultural Learning Center at or 757-822-7296.

March 28

Returning Women’s Luncheon – Virginia Beach Campus
12:30 – 2:30 p.m., Virginia Beach Campus Student Center, Room K-320

Camilla Walck
Camilla Walck

Camilla Walck, a high school science teacher, STEM ambassador and adjunct professor at TCC and Virginia Wesleyan University, is the speaker. Walck received national recognition from the Chamber of Commerce as the 2012 National Life Science Teacher of the Year and was selected as a Claes Nobel Top Ten Teacher of the Year for 2013 by the National Society of High School Scholars. In 2016, she was a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in teaching math and science.

Space is limited. To reserve your seat, please contact the Intercultural Learning Center at or 757-822-7296.

Funeral service grad perseveres to realize her dream at TCC

Patrina Felts wants to help you through the worst day of your life.

Felts will graduate with her Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service at Tidewater Community College’s December commencement. She began a job this fall at Metropolitan Funeral Service in Norfolk, where she plans to begin her career as a funeral director, the culmination of a dream she’s had for years.

For most of us, death is a topic to avoid. For Felts, it’s a natural part of life. “I was raised knowing that you embrace death, welcome it. That’s why you live the best life while you’re here because dying is the one thing we’re guaranteed to do,” she said. “My mother always told me that you give people their flowers while they’re living.”

Felts funeral serviceThe Jersey City, N.J., native spent the years after high school as a tax advisor and was moved to the company’s headquarters in Virginia Beach. One day someone asked her what she really wanted to do with her life and Felts didn’t have an answer.

“I had spent all my life being useful to other people,” said the mother to four adopted children ages 6 to 17. “Doing taxes was great. I was comfortable. But I realized for me to get to the point where I needed to be I had to get uncomfortable again.”

TCC’s funeral service program, under the direction of Professor Frank Walton, boasts a 95 percent pass rate on the national examination.

TCC allowed her to explore a career in funeral service, a nagging calling in the back of her head since high school. Juggling her daytime tax job with nights driving for Pepsi, she added college classes to the mix. Then she failed an anatomy and physiology test and realized she needed to dedicate herself solely to education.

The decision paid off. Felts conquered anatomy and physiology, though she recalls thinking Professor Kimberly Jones wanted her to fail.

“She was tough as nails and still is,” Felts said. “Now I see what she was doing and is continuing to do. I didn’t understand it at first, but her toughness pulls the best out of us. She makes us think. She wants nothing more than for us to succeed and be great at what we do. They don’t just give you a degree at TCC. She and Professor Walton make sure we earn it.”

Jones admired Felts’ perseverance.

“Patrina sets her aims and goals high and does what is necessary in order to achieve them,” she said. “Patrina has tremendous passion and zeal and will go to great lengths to accomplish what she has decided to do. As a very conscientious student, she challenges herself to participate in activities that will not only advance her as a student, but also as a funeral service professional.”

In addition to classes, Felt immersed herself in Women Inspiring Self Empowerment (W.I.S.E.), a leadership development group sponsored by the Women’s Center. That’s where she met one of her mentors, Keysha Wilson, an African-American funeral director at Hale Funeral Home in Norfolk.  Wilson inspired Felts to apply for a scholarship awarded by the outreach organization 100 Black Women in Funeral Service.

“I would have never dreamed that I would win,” she said.

Sometimes Felts wishes she could go back a few decades and be fresh out of high school so she could directly enter a funeral service education program. But upon reflecting, she’s glad she found TCC at just the right time for her.

“My life experiences between 18 and 35 shaped the student and the person I am today,” she said. “It’s been an awesome experience at TCC. It’s everything I thought it would be.”

TCC’s Amanda Lloyd recognized as Top 40 Under 40 professional

Tidewater Community College’s Amanda Lloyd has been named a Top 40 Under 40 professional by Inside Business.

Lloyd, 35, became director of TCC’s Academy for Nonprofit Excellence last February. The award recognizes professionals whose work and volunteer efforts make Hampton Roads a better place to live.

“I love that I get to see the impact that is occurring in the community by the professional development and training opportunities that the academy offers,” Lloyd said. “You see nonprofit personnel take something they learned at the academy, implement it, and it directly affects our community. That’s rewarding.”

Funded by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation,  the academy offers relevant, budget-friendly training on leadership and management topics to nonprofit and aspiring nonprofit professionals.

The Suffolk native and graduate of Lakeland High School taught humanities and history classes at TCC prior to being hired for her current role last winter. She aspires to be a college president, having been passionate about higher education for most of her life. She is a first-generation college graduate.

“I love seeing students evolve in their learning,” said Lloyd, who maintains numerous mentoring relationships with her former students. “Seeing the success of my students and helping them achieve their goals is important to me.”

Lloyd previously worked in multiple administrative positions for the City of Norfolk prior to coming to TCC. Her achievements include creating the Norfolk Public Library citywide volunteer program, a model effort duplicated by additional libraries across the nation. She is a member of the Norfolk Public Library Board of Trustees as appointed by the mayor and City Council.

The graduate of Longwood University holds a position on its alumni board and is president-elect for the Junior League of Norfolk – Virginia Beach. She sits on the Women’s Center Advisory Council and Board at TCC and is an alumna of LEAD Hampton Roads and Emerge, Virginia.

Lloyd, who holds a master’s in humanities from Old Dominion University, is currently at work on a doctorate in higher education management at Hampton University. A Norfolk resident, she and husband Matt have two sons, William, 5, and Owen, 3.

Lloyd will be honored at the Top 40 Under 40 banquet on Oct. 23 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. She will be profiled with the other winners in an Oct. 22 special edition of Inside Business.

She went to a Women’s Center STEM presentation and found her future

Alla Topp is a STEM Promise Program success story even though she opted not to complete her associate degree at Tidewater Community College.

“I would never be where I am without TCC,” said Topp, who just started an online master’s program in data science at Regis University in Colorado.

Topp was among the inaugural class of recipients of the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program scholarship, which awards tuition and fees for two full academic years to students in select degree paths. Topp had decided on an Associate of Science in Engineering but after starting at TCC last fall realized she wasn’t a good fit for the math-heavy program. She transitioned into an Associate of Science with a Specialization in Computer Science.

Topp liked the coding part of the program and particularly enjoyed classes under Professor Scott Davis. But something intrigued her even more after she attended “Women in Computer Programming,” a presentation sponsored by the Women’s Center in the Virginia Beach Student Center. Listening to keynote speaker Corren McCoy, vice president of software engineering and chief data strategist for a Norfolk consulting company, Topp wanted to know more. After talking with McCoy afterward, she envisioned herself making a career in data science.

Topp had already earned a bachelor’s prior to admission to TCC; she studied human resources management at Russian State University in her native Moscow.

“I decided I wanted to do something technical and with math, not human resources, which is people,” she said. “Translating data to make sense of it for companies appeals to me.”

Coupled with the relevant coursework Topp had completed already at TCC, she was a good fit to directly enter a master’s program. Meeting with a TCC academic advisor confirmed that. “Everyone was really helpful and selfless about it at TCC, encouraging me to do what was best for me,” Topp said.

“I would have never found this chance without the STEM Promise program.”

TCC announces class of 19 for its second STEM Promise Program scholarship

Sumner Darling mapped out the entire Earth in elementary school. Jena Essary taught herself coding shortly after her 10th birthday. Breiten Liebell constructed a fully functional replica of a Ferris Wheel by memory as a 5-year-old.

The high school students are among Tidewater Community College’s second class of STEM Promise Program scholars. Nineteen students will pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines at TCC and complete two-year associate degrees at no cost for tuition and fees under the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program.

“Through the generosity of our donors, the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program is contributing to the diversity of the Hampton Roads workforce by creating a pipeline of women and minority students into the STEM disciplines,” said Jeanne Natali, director of TCC’s Intercultural Learning Center. “Our STEM Promise scholars will get a solid academic foundation at TCC, graduate with no student debt and be set to transfer to any number of public or private universities.”

Last fall TCC welcomed the inaugural class of STEM Promise scholars who will graduate in spring 2019. Elizabeth River Crossings fully funded all 10 of those scholarships with a donation of $120,000.

In addition to TCC’s smaller class sizes and interaction with professors invested in student success, STEM scholars receive specialized support from dedicated advisors and mentoring and career exploration from the Women’s Center.

TCC’s 2018 Women’s Center STEM Promise Scholars and their programs are:

Associate of Science in Engineering

  • Taylor Bowers, Chesapeake
  • Emma DeLosReyes, Virginia Beach
  • Erin Fitzpatrick, Virginia Beach
  • Zachary Fuge, Virginia Beach
  • Christian McClenney, Virginia Beach
  • Matthew Rathbun, Zuni
  • Deven Singleton, Chesapeake
  • Isaac Vanderley, Virginia Beach

Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology

  • Kalen Anderson, Portsmouth
  • Breiten Liebell, Virginia Beach

Associate of Science in Science with a Specialization in Computer Science

  • Courtney Carr, Virginia Beach
  • Rhys Dailey, Virginia Beach
  • Jena Essary, Chesapeake
  • Caroline Jacobs, Chesapeake
  • Maurice Price, Chesapeake

Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology

  • Kiana Brown, Chesapeake
  • Sumner Darling, Virginia Beach
  • Seth Greiling, Chesapeake
  • Shannon O’Hara Wiora, Virginia Beach

Anyone with an interest in applying to TCC’s STEM Promise Program should contact theEnrollment Team at 757-822-1111. Interested donors can contact the TCC Educational Foundation at

TCC graduate found her passion to serve while in college

Shorntail Goodrich came to Tidewater Community College to retrain for a new career. She spent her 20s and 30s working as an apartment complex manager and later as an identification clerk for Norfolk Police Department.

“With no degree, I was stuck in low-paying jobs,” she said. “You can have a great work ethic and think you will be moving up. But all I saw was more responsibility, and no more pay.”

Today Goodrich is an administrative assistant for the Norfolk Community Services Board and plans to start her own nonprofit.

Goodrich, 42, came to TCC to prepare for a career in management. On May 12, she will walk the stage at the Ted Constant Convocation Center to receive her Associate of Science in Business Administration.

Shorntail Goodrich accepts her leadership award from Linda Berardi, chair of the Women's Center Advisory Council.
Shorntail Goodrich accepts her leadership award from Linda Berardi, chair of the Women’s Center Advisory Council.

She found her passion working with Hearts Full of Grace, a nonprofit organization providing support for individuals and families coping with food and housing instability.

Aside from providing meals and clothing for those experiencing homelessness, the group hosts empowerment workshops for individuals in transition, and gives toiletry bags to those in need.

“My original thought was go to TCC and further my education and then get a job in a big corporation or bank,” she said.

Encouragement from Emanuel Chestnut, dean of students on the Norfolk Campus, and Jennifer Dixon-McKnight, professor of history, led her to re-examine her direction.

“I really have a heart to serve,” Goodrich said. “I see myself opening my own nonprofit, an extended-stay center to help clients get back on their feet. I see it as a road back home for those facing homelessness, where they can learn basic life skills and gain job training to become self-sufficient again.”

While at TCC, Goodrich served as vice president and president of Alliance of Excellence (AOE), an empowerment and community service club on the Norfolk Campus. In her first year, she organized an anti-bullying campaign and earned “Student Leader of the Year.”

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

Alliance of Excellence human trafficking panel members included Adriana Mirarchi, special agent, Homeland Security Investigations; Courtney Pierce, Samaritan House, human trafficking grant coordinator; Ebony Velazquez, Attorney General’s office of human trafficking, task force coordinator; Shorntail Goodrich, TCC student; Krista Fulton, Norfolk deputy commonwealth's attorney state prosecutor; and Rebecca Stone, Norfolk Police Department, task force officer.
AOE human trafficking panel members included Adriana Mirarchi, Homeland Security Investigations; Courtney Pierce, Samaritan House; Ebony Velazquez, Attorney General’s office of human trafficking; Shorntail Goodrich, TCC student; Krista Fulton, Norfolk  Commonwealth Attorney’s office; and Rebecca Stone, Norfolk Police Department.

She also served as vice president of the Student Government Association and was the 2018 Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award recipient, named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Goodrich was also honored with an Exemplar Award by the Hampton Roads Gazette for going above and beyond in serving her neighbors.

“Shorntail is a person who rises to the task time and time again with grace and humility. I’m inspired by all that she has accomplished here at Tidewater Community College,” said Dixon-McKnight, also a faculty advisor for AOE.

Goodrich tried college right after high school with little success. “I was older and wiser this time,” she said with a laugh. “This time I found TCC to be like a village with people checking up on me, investing in my success.”

Goodrich credits her husband, Dante, with “being her rock.”

“It was really hard to go back to school after 23 years. I had to take a step of faith and really trust God with my future,” she said. “My husband encouraged me and told me that I would have a job before graduation. And I do!”

“If I can do it, anyone can do it. Just take advantage of every resource TCC has to offer and see what you can do.”

One of TCC’s own named YWCA Woman of Distinction

Christine Damrose-Mahlmann has been named a 2018 YWCA South Hampton Roads Woman of Distinction.

Tidewater Community College’s associate vice president for student services is one of 12 honorees who will receive the award at a reception at the Waterside Marriott on March 29.

YWCA South Hampton Roads honors women in the community whose professional accomplishments, philanthropic efforts and civic involvement align with the organization’s mission of eliminating racism and creating equal opportunity.

“To be recognized by my peers and to know so many great women who have received this award before me is very humbling,” said Damrose-Mahlmann, an alumna of TCC.  “I think the most important thing we can do for women is help them become educated because that leads them to be self-sustainable and able to contribute economically.”

Damrose-Mahlmann, a Portsmouth resident, joined the college in 1996 just before the Norfolk Campus opened downtown.  That year, she started a women’s support group that met at the YWCA.

“It was stunning to see the women in that environment,” she said. “They were growing and learning from each other. They talked about their classes, the obstacles they were facing and about their fears.

“Working with them helped me see that women can overcome anything from domestic violence, poverty, child care issues and even homelessness.”

That group was the precursor to the Women’s Center on the Norfolk Campus. “We were growing and really needed to be back on campus,” she said. “We were given a small faculty office on the fourth floor of the Martin Building and took off from there.”

TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani was recognized as a 2016 YWCA South Hampton Roads Woman of Distinction. Other prior winners from the college are Ivory Warren, program head for human services, and Jeanne Natali, director of the Intercultural Learning Center.

Natali nominated Damrose-Mahlmann for this award and said, “Christine came to TCC to finish her education and found her professional home. Through hard work and persistence, she began as a student employee and worked her way through the ranks, gaining experience across student services at the college.”

Natali added, “Today, she uses her professional expertise to ensure that our students have access to the highest quality programs and support services so that they can meet their academic and professional goals.”

A licensed professional counselor, Damrose-Mahlmann has a history of community service, which includes work with a crisis hotline and grief support groups. She created a Violence Against Women training course for administrators at the college. She routinely collaborates with local agencies to ensure that students of all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds have access to opportunities at TCC.

Damrose-Mahlmann currently provides team building and Myers-Briggs indicator testing for nonprofits and other community organizations.

“I think the women’s movement is in the best place it’s ever been because people are listening and men are standing with women to make necessary changes,” she said.

Damrose-Mahlmann earned her doctorate in community college leadership and a master’s in education from Old Dominion University. She got her start at TCC with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts.

A baseball enthusiast, Damrose-Mahlmann and her husband, Jim, have visited every Major League Baseball stadium except Houston and Toronto. The couple also enjoys time at the beach with their two adult children and grandchildren.

For ticket information for the luncheon, contact the YWCA South Hampton Roads at or 757-625-4248.