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TCC annual award winners to be honored on Aug. 16

Tidewater Community College will recognize six faculty and staff members from across the college with annual special awards on Aug. 16.

Selected by their peers, the honorees will receive their awards at TCC’s 2018 Fall Convocation at the Chesapeake Campus Student Center.

Professor of the Year

Manisha Trivedi, who teaches biology, anatomy and physiology and microbiology, is TCC’s Professor of the Year, an award established by the Faculty Senate to recognize excellence.

The Virginia Beach resident got her start doing research and development in the biotechnology industry but found herself training colleagues and hosting workshops. When her company left the area, she changed course and began teaching at TCC’s Norfolk Campus.

“I’m very proud to be working in a place that allows me to be creative and nurturing of my students,” Trivedi said. “My greatest joy is seeing the ‘lightbulb’ moments when students grasp difficult concepts.”

Trivedi often holds weekend office hours and meets with students before lectures and labs.

Student Olivia Brichter credits Trivedi for helping her succeed in college.

“After multiple attempts to pass anatomy and physiology, Professor Trivedi offered to spend one hour with me every morning before class reviewing class lectures and breaking down the information for me,” she said.

Trivedi is co-founder of the Senior Citizen Club for Asian Indians of Tidewater and volunteers annually at the International Children’s Festival in Hampton. She is a faculty mentor and serves on TCC’s Global & Intercultural Learning Committee.

She holds master’s degrees in life science from Gujarat State University and in biotechnology from Old Dominion University.  She earned a bachelor’s in biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College. She also completed a course in recombinant DNA methodology at The Catholic University of America.

Trivedi and husband Nikunj have two adult sons. The younger, Ajay, is an adjunct science instructor at the Norfolk Campus.

Faculty Special Achievement

For the second time since starting at TCC in 1989, Jacque Dessino is the recipient of the Faculty Special Achievement Award.

As the college-wide electronic services librarian, Dessino contributes to every aspect of library services to benefit users onsite and online. Dubbed “the rock of the libraries” by a colleague who nominated her for this award, Dessino, as TCC’s library system liaison with Virginia’s Community Colleges, is transitioning TCC’s libraries to an integrated management system that will replace multiple software products. It’s an enormous undertaking.

“But it’s what I love about my job,” said Dessino, also recognized by the college in 2005. “My job is never boring, never static.”

Dessino leads a team of four staffers who provide support to library patrons. While she works largely behind the scenes, she covers several online reference service shifts, providing on-demand assistance to students.

“I enjoy the idea of serving a group of people who might not necessarily have the opportunity to use the resources TCC has if the college weren’t here,” she said.

Dessino holds master’s degrees in library science from Louisiana State University and in humanities with a certificate in women’s studies from Old Dominion. She earned her bachelor’s in computer science from Nicholls State University and in English from Shippensburg University.

Dessino and husband Eric Matherne reside in Portsmouth and enjoy boating and motorcycle sidecar trips.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty

Nancy Pettigrew, who has taught art history at TCC since 2010, is the Outstanding Adjunct Professor. The Long Island, N.Y., native embraces discussion-centered classes that connect her students to artists from the past and present. She has appreciated art since visiting her first museum as a 5-year-old.

“There are so many things I love about TCC students,” she said. “You get this incredible melting pot of people. If you listen to them, you learn so much about them and the world and other people’s points of view.”

Pettigrew holds a discussion series monthly open to all students and faculty at the Visual Arts Center that tackles topics ranging from censorship to copyright. An active supporter of the Student Art League, she touts the dedication of her students, many of whom makes great sacrifices to be in class.

“I’m always amazed by students I talk to who take public transportation for two hours to take my class,” she said. “Their level of commitment is extraordinary.”

Pettigrew received master’s and bachelor’s degrees, both in art history and archaeology, from the University of Maryland.

She and husband Neil have two adult children, Emily and Laura. The couple resides in Chesapeake.

Administrator of the Year

Diane Ryan is the Administrator of the Year selected for her leadership and efforts to advance TCC’s mission and goals.

Ryan initially joined the college in 1991 as an adjunct instructor in public speaking and transitioned into a professor of communications and English. She became dean of Humanities and Social Sciences on the Chesapeake Campus in 2015.

Ryan considers herself a connector, helping students solve problems by directing them to the correct resource or staff member. She has been involved in the college’s textbook-free Z-Degree initiative, recruiting 18 faculty to adopt Open Educational Resources in their curriculums, thereby saving students thousands of dollars.

“I love the amount of resources we’re able to offer students, companies and the general public,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to work at TCC.”

Ryan volunteers and raises funds for Pennies for Prescriptions, Go Rescue Pet Adoption and Judeo-Christian Outreach Center.

She holds a master’s in speech communications and a bachelor’s in mass communications from Western Illinois University. She is currently working toward a doctorate in community college leadership at Old Dominion.

Ryan and husband, Sean, reside in Virginia Beach and have three adult children.

Classified Employee of the Year

Alumna Rhonda D’Amore is the Classified Employee of the Year. She initially began working at the college in 1998 and graduated from TCC with an Associate of Science in Science. In 2005, she earned a full-time position as an academic support specialist.

D’Amore enjoys working with campus contacts to keep curriculum content current.

“If you request Rhonda’s assistance, you can be assured the task will get done correctly and in a timely manner,” said Bill Clement, Pathway Dean for Computer Science and Information Technology.

D’Amore is responsible for building the base for classes, so that campuses can schedule them. She also enters all of the program data in i-INCURR. Moreover, she works closely with Visual Communications to produce the college catalog.

D’Amore said her favorite part of the job is assisting students. “I love being there to help them solve problems,” she said.

D’Amore and husband Lee have two adult children. In her free time, she enjoys gardening at her Chesapeake home and spending time with her cats, Floyd and Ziggy.

Wage Employee of the Year

TCC student Steffan Watts, an operations support specialist for student activities on the Virginia Beach Campus, is the Wage Employee of the Year.

The 2015 graduate of Kellam High School is humble about his contributions, but supervisor Bobby Bennett touts Watts’ accomplishments that ensure any event inside the Virginia Beach Student Center runs smoothly.

“Steff, as we call him, really is the heartbeat of our team and he always goes over and beyond what is asked of him,” said Bennett, coordinator of events and special projects for student activities at the student center. “When he is not in class, he is working in the student center, engaging with students or assisting a community partner.”

Watts is pursuing his Associate of Science in Science with a Specialization in Computer Science. He anticipates graduating in May 2019 with plans to transfer to either Old Dominion or Norfolk State University. He hopes to make a career in video game design or software development.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself working here,” he said. “I’m a quiet person. This job really gets me out of my comfort zone.”