Spring Semester Gets Underway at PCC


Barbara Cayton with PCC Sweatshirt


January 16, 2018

Pamlico Community College formally launched the Spring 2018 semester on Jan. 2 with an opening ceremony in the Delamar Center for faculty members and staffers.


The event gave college leaders an opportunity to introduce new employees, to brief colleagues on college projects and priorities and to look forward to a great semester.


“Thank you for all you do,” PCC President Dr. Jim Ross told PCC employees at the event.


The president praised the spirit of teamwork among college employees, which he said was reflected in PCC’s 2017 designation as the No. 1 community college in America by SmartAsset, a New York-based personal finance technology company.


The men and women joining the PCC team this semester include:


* David Bell, who is the college’s new Assistant Systems Administrator;


* Lori Giles, who is the new chair of Continuing Education and Technical Programs;


* Paul Goodson, who will begin work as Director of Library Services on Feb. 1;


* T.J. Lewis, a maintenance technician hired following the retirement of Herman Turnage;


* George MacIntosh, dental technology instructor at Pamlico Correctional Institution, who started

   work last semester, and;


* Eddie Norfleet, the new plumbing instructor at PCI, who takes over following the retirement of

   Grady Simpson.


Additionally, officials announced that PCC faculty member Mindy Moore now would lead the college’s Small Business Center. Also, Betsy Bailey, who previously taught high school equivalency classes here, now will teach the Community Living class following the retirement of Pattie Leary.


Instructor Todd Meert, who teaches Electrical Systems, was welcomed back to the college after some time away.


College employees got a little something to take home at the end of the ceremony. Thanks to a gift from PCC trustee Al Herlands, full-time PCC employees received their choice of a free college sweatshirt, hooded sweatshirt or T-shirt.


The shirts continued a tradition begun in 2016 by Ross and his wife, Pam, who bought shirts for college employees to wear at community events and elsewhere.



PCC Adds Two Days to Registration Period


Extra Days Spring Registration


January 2, 2018

Because of the threat of inclement weather this week, Pamlico Community College has added two days to its Spring 2018 registration period.


In addition to Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 3 and 4, the college will register students for the upcoming Spring 2018 semester on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 8 and 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.


Registration will take place in the Johnson Building at the PCC Campus.


New and returning students are urged to use caution before traveling to campus to register during the inclement weather.


For more information, please call PCC Student Services at 252-249-1851, ext. 3001.


PCC Student Wants to Set Good Example


Lisha Coward


December 18, 2017

Lisha Coward wants her two granddaughters to understand that they can achieve anything in life – and she doesn’t want to hear any excuses.


The 56-year-old Aurora woman said she’s living proof that it’s never too late to go back to school to pursue your dreams.


“When I was growing up, I never thought I could go to college,” said Coward, who is studying Business at Pamlico Community College. “This is a dream come true.”


Coward, who raised two successful daughters, worked for many years as a certified nursing assistant after studying in PCC’s Nurse Aide program. Now she’s back at the college studying Business, with hopes to open her own business someday.


“It’s been a wonderful experience here at the college,” Coward said. “I want to improve myself.”


PCC President Dr. Jim Ross said Coward sets a wonderful example for her family and for others.


“Lisha Coward shows us that it’s never too late to enroll in college and to pursue your goals,” he said. “She is working hard to improve her life and the lives of her family members. That’s a fantastic example for us all.”


Coward says she has to work hard in class to ensure she understands and retains the material. She frequently can be found in a campus computer lab diligently working on her assignments and studying.


“When it comes down to testing, I’ve never been good at it,” Coward said. “It’s just a struggle I have to overcome.”


She credits the assistance and encouragement she has received from PCC staffers like Mary Brown, Jamie Gibbs and Cristy Lewis Warner with helping her push through her academic challenges and keep moving forward.


“I thank God for that,” Coward said. “They have really stood by me.”


She hopes her granddaughters, ages 10 and 8, see that her hard work is paying off.


“Don’t give up. You can be anything you want to be,” Coward said, adding she wants young people to take their education seriously and to stay committed to it.


“Life is too precious,” she said.


Coward also has advice for men and women in their 50s or older who believe it’s too late for college.


“I would tell them to go for it,” Coward said. “It never hurts to try. Try it and see what you can accomplish.”


If you’re interested in giving college a try, check out PCC! Registration for the spring 2018 semester is scheduled for Jan. 3 and 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Johnson Building. Visit  to learn more.




Physical Limitations Can't Stop PCC's Lee


Angelica Lee


December 20, 2017

Angelica Lee makes stubbornness look like a positive personality trait.


Through sheer willpower and a drive to finish what she starts, the 20-year-old Grantsboro woman is succeeding as a student at Pamlico Community College, despite a lifelong battle with cerebral palsy, epileptic seizures and, most recently, glaucoma.


“She’s just plain stubborn,” Patricia Lee, Angelica’s grandmother, said with a proud smile during a recent campus visit.


Angelica counters: “If I do something, I’ve just got to finish it. I can’t leave it incomplete.”

Angelica Lee has completed her GED at the college and is now working on her associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her goal is to become a teacher so she can work with children who face physical and mental challenges just as she does.


 Lee has overcome physical limitations since the day she was born. A lack of oxygen at birth left her brain stunted and only partially developed, and she was born seizing. Doctors gave Angelica’s mother, who incidentally was a PCC Accounting student at the time, little hope the baby would live more than a day.


“Since my first breath, it seems I have been fighting,” Lee said recently. “Fighting to not be sick, fighting to learn, fighting to ‘be normal.’


Even after she made it out of the hospital, doctors predicted Angelica wouldn’t walk, or talk, or be able to eat.


She blew through those expectations, learning to walk by holding on to her grandmother’s coffee table and eventually enrolling in public school.


However, Lee struggled in school. Not only did she have a tough time absorbing and retaining the material, her classmates were often unkind to her.


“I knew I was different,” she said. “I got picked on. I would look around to my fellow classmates and wonder, ‘How come I don’t understand like they do?’ I hated school.”


Middle school was particularly tough, and by the time she reached high school, she was looking elsewhere for a place she could thrive. Lee enrolled at Southside High School in Beaufort County and did well there, but her seizure disorder acted up, so she was forced to leave.


“I ended up dropping out of school,” she said. “I knew I wanted to graduate, I just could not figure out how.”

Lee eventually enrolled at PCC and found a place where she could be accepted and encouraged. “I had friends who supported me there,” she said. “The instructors were beyond helpful. I actually excelled at math for the first time in my life.”


Lee earned her GED and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program. She said it might take her a little longer to earn her two-year degree, but she is determined to finish it and become a teacher.


“It’s OK if it takes me three years to get an associate’s degree, as long as I never give up,” Lee said. “Pamlico Community College is so important in my journey. The small class sizes, the way instructors teach their classes, having tutors for times of trouble – it all has played a part.”


In her free time, Lee volunteers at HeartWorks in Bayboro, where she get to work with young children.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Angelica and her mother the first day she came to register for classes,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross, who has shared Lee’s success story at several college events. “As we talked that day, she impressed me because of her desire to succeed. I find Angelica’s story very inspiring, and I think it shows the dedication our faculty and staff have to student success. Angelica is a delightful person, and we are very proud of her.”


Lee encourages others to rise above other people’s expectations and to keep working on their goals. “You’re capable of doing more than you’re giving yourself credit for,” she said. “Instead of using my disability as a reason to do nothing, I am choosing to believe I can conquer, to overcome and to achieve a bright future.”


If you’re interested in creating your own bright future, give PCC a look! Registration for the Spring 2018 semester is scheduled for Jan. 3 and 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Johnson Building. Visit to learn more.






PCC's Dental Lab Tech Program Moves Forward


Dental student


December 11, 2017

Pamlico Community College’s new program in Dental Laboratory Technology is accepting applications for new students to begin their studies this January.


The program, which was launched earlier this semester, trains men and women to create dental appliances such as dentures, partials, bridges, crowns and other prostheses.


PCC is the only N.C. community college east of Interstate 95 to offer Dental Laboratory Technology.


“We are pleased to see the program’s progress,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “When we launched the Dental Laboratory Technology program, we knew it had the potential to improve people’s lives. PCC is proud to provide training that enables our students to start careers and to make a positive difference for people in our region.”


The program’s leader is Instructor Kathy Nicodemus, who has more than 30 years of experience in the industry.


Within the last few days, she took time to speak with a group of high school students about opportunities in the field and good-paying jobs available. Keith Morris of Affordable Dentures, a partner with the program, joined her.


Program participants also have reached out to help others. In October, Nicodemus and one of her students took part in an N.C. Dental Society Mission of Mercy free clinic at The Epiphany School of Global Studies in New Bern.


The event provided free dental care to more than 700 low-income patients, including about 85 men and women who received dentures, partials or other prostheses. Nicodemus and the student helped pour and trim models for many of those prostheses, among other tasks.


The program soon will enroll its second group of students for the upcoming Spring 2018 semester. Registration is scheduled for Jan. 3 and 4, 2018, in the Johnson Building at the PCC campus.


For more information, contact Nicodemus at or 252-249-1851, ext. 3017.





PCC Instructor to Show Students the World


PCC instructor Zac Schnell


December 4, 2017

Pamlico Community College Environmental Science Instructor Zac Schnell wants to show his students the world – at least part of it, anyway.


Schnell is developing a plan to take four or more students to the Philippines in May 2018 to conduct fieldwork and to assist with projects in a rural part of the sprawling island country.


The idea is for students to spend 30 days living and working on the island of Tablas. There they will assist two municipalities, a non-profit group and a university with their efforts to preserve and protect the tropical environment there.


“This is not a vacation,” Schnell said with a chuckle. “You will definitely learn how to take care of yourself in some of these places.”


The effort, formally named the PCC Environmental Science Study Abroad initiative, is designed to give students valuable hands-on experience in Environmental Science and to develop the skills needed to implement plans and projects.


Perhaps most importantly, participants will learn how to work with people unlike themselves and will experience the culture of a distant part of the world.


“This will be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about life in the Philippines and to make a positive impact on the lives of the people there,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “The students who go on this trip will get to see and experience a very different part of our planet, but I think they’ll also find that we have a great deal in common with the people there. I’m thrilled to see our college embracing this effort due to the outstanding leadership of Zac.”


Schnell is no stranger to the Philippines: The 29-year-old N.C. native spent two years there working on coastal management projects as a member of the Peace Corps.


The contacts he developed there have been critical to his effort to launch a Study Abroad program for PCC students, he said.


Plans call for the PCC students to live and work in and around the municipalities of Ferrol and Odiongan, although there will be some work in more remote areas of the island. Possible projects include cave assessment, coral protection, implementing solid waste plans and working in local schools.


The accommodations will be simple, and there will be times when students will not have access to the internet, air conditioning or, on occasion, electricity, Schnell said.


However, those inconveniences will be well worth the experiences – educational, personal and professional – that participants will gain, he said.


“They’ll learn more in the short 30 days they are there than they could in taking classes for two years in the tropical paradise environment,” Schnell said.


The core group of students interested in the trip is comprised of both men and women, many of whom have never been overseas.


He estimates it will cost about $2,800 for each student to make the trip. To help offset the cost, the PCC Foundation has established an Environmental Science Study Abroad fund.


“This idea has generated a lot of excitement on campus,” said Foundation Development Officer Michelle Noevere. “PCC faculty members and staffers have donated more than $2,000 to the fund already, and I am hopeful that news of this effort will spur others to help us provide these students with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”


For more information on the planned trip, contact Schnell at 252-249-1851, ext. 3115, or


For more information on how to contribute to the Environmental Science Study Abroad program, contact Noevere at 252-249-1851, ext. 3084, or visit to donate via PayPal.





Be Ready to Register for the New Semester


student at graduation


November 30, 2017

The Fall 2017 semester is winding down at Pamlico Community College, so it’s not too soon to start thinking about getting ready for the Spring 2018 semester.


Now is a good time to visit the college’s Student Services division, complete the online application process and see what options for financial aid are available.


By preparing now, new and returning students can be ready to sign up for curriculum courses when the Spring Registration period takes place Jan. 3 and 4, 2018.


“The Student Services professionals at Pamlico Community College are here to help students navigate the process of enrolling in college and becoming ready to succeed,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “Students who decide to attend our college will find a welcoming, supportive atmosphere. All of us are here to help men and women reach their educational goals so they can improve their lives.”


In terms of high quality and low cost, PCC is a great option to consider.


Earlier this year, SmartAsset, a New York-based personal finance technology company, ranked PCC as the No. 1 community college in the United States for 2017. The designation was based on a review of U.S. Department of Education data on 808 community colleges.


PCC scored extraordinarily high for its 84 percent graduation/transfer rate, which is more than double the national average of 40 percent.


The college also scored well based on its 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and its affordability.


Just a few weeks ago, PCC leaders received word that the college had been named to the Aspen Institute’s Top 150 list of elite community colleges in the United States. The designation makes the college eligible to apply for the prestigious, $1 million Aspen Prize for 2019.


Additionally, PCC students who transfer to UNC system institutions have had the highest performance success for three straight years among all state community college students.


Ross says the recent honors and awards are wonderful, but he also wants prospective students and their families to know that PCC’s family atmosphere is what he believes sets the college apart.


“I can cite more statistics, honors and accolades PCC has received in recent months, but I believe the most important thing that allows PCC to help students succeed is that we care,” he said. “PCC employees are outstanding professionals who go way above and beyond the call of duty to serve each student. Because of this, I have seen over and over again that students become part of a family at our college.”


There has never been a better time to check out the courses available to prepare you for a better life, Ross said.


Whether you are a traditional college-age student, a high schooler looking to get ahead in your studies or an adult learner who wants to complete a long-held academic dream or investigate a new career, PCC has something to offer.


 “If you or someone you love is wondering what to do with life, please consider calling PCC and coming to see us to help you have the best life possible,” Ross said.


For more information about enrolling at PCC, call 252-249-1851, ext. 3001.



Scholarship Donors, Recipients Honored


graphic for the scholarship ceremony


November 20, 2017

Pamlico Community College honored its 2017-18 scholarship recipients and thanked its generous donors during the ninth annual PCC Foundation Scholarship Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 14.


More than 100 people attended the joyous event, which took place in the Delamar Center on campus.


“This is what it’s all about,” PCC President Dr. Jim Ross said in his opening remarks. “Pamlico County is a great community because people here care about each other.”


The president also spoke about the supportive family atmosphere that students find at the college, which he credited with helping PCC achieve its recent ranking by SmartAsset as the No. 1 community college in America.


“It is a culture that has developed here over generations,” Ross said.


Students Angelica Lee and Treasure Severance spoke about how the scholarships they received have enabled them to work toward their educational goals. Both students also shared why they chose to attend PCC.


“PCC is so important in my journey,” said Lee, who earned her GED at the college and now is enrolled in the college’s Early Childhood Education degree program.


Later in the ceremony, Vice President of Student Services Jamie Gibbs read the names of each scholarship’s recipient and its donor/presenter. The scholarships and their recipients included:


* Oriental Rotary Club Scholarship – Anthony Raisch and Russell Williams

* Thomas E. Minges Memorial/Pepsi-Cola Scholarship – Nicole Collock and Anna Rice

* Gussie Siegel Memorial Scholarship – Marie Hochteil

* Mt. Vernon Lodge #359 Masonic Scholarship – Stephanie Spain

* Wells Fargo Bank Scholarship – Sheena Gibbs

* N.C. State Employees’ Credit Union Scholarship – Faith Peltier

* Margaret Rawls Stancil Memorial Scholarship – Treasure Severance

* Paul H. Johnson GED Scholarship – Angelica Lee

* Dr. Cleve H. Cox Memorial Scholarship – Sheena Gibbs

* PCC Foundation Geraldine Beveridge Memorial Scholarship – Julia Barbour and Sharon Rowe

* PCC Foundation Ned E. Delamar Memorial Scholarship –Angelica Lee and Stephanie Spain

* PCC Foundation Student Ambassador Scholarship – Anthony Raisch

* PCC Foundation General Scholarship – Natasha Coleman, Rudell King, Faith Peltier, Stephanie Prince, Treasure Severance and Brandi Walker


“Our students are amazing,” said Carla Byrnes, president of the PCC Foundation Board of Directors, near the ceremony’s conclusion. The Foundation recently launched its annual fund drive, which supports student scholarships.


Ross encouraged the students to dream big and to assist others in the same ways that they have received help.


“Go on and make a difference in other people’s lives and a difference in our community,” he said.


Refreshments followed.


For more information about the PCC Foundation and its efforts to fund student scholarships, please contact Michelle Noevere, Foundation Development Officer, at 252-249-1851, ext. 3084, or






Recreation Day Helps to Launch Fund Drive


Members of Student Services posing during recreation day


November 15, 2017

The Pamlico Community College Foundation launched its annual fund drive by hosting Recreation Day 2017 on a warm, sun-soaked Nov. 2 on campus.


Seven teams made up of PCC students and employees took part in the two-hour event, which featured fun competitions such as Tug o’ War, Corn Hole, Egg Toss, a Three-Legged Race and a Balloon Race.


Hot dogs, hamburgers and desserts were served, and everyone who participated appeared to have a great time.


Recreation Day 2017 was designed to generate enthusiasm on campus for the Foundation’s annual fund-raising campaign, which it did. But the event also highlighted the ongoing need to generate private donations to help students enroll and succeed at PCC.


“Recreation Day was a lot of fun, and I particularly enjoyed seeing so many students taking part in the activities,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “It reminded me that we must do more to ensure students have opportunities to enroll at Pamlico Community College. Every year during Registration, we have to drop several students because they can’t afford to pay tuition and fees. It hits me in the belly every time I think of that.”


Fortunately for the college, PCC employee Michelle Noevere and the Foundation are working hard to generate donations and gifts to help support student scholarships. The decision to resurrect Recreation Day after a four-year hiatus was part of that effort, and Noevere says she hopes to make it an annual event.


At Recreation Day, Noevere said her goal was to get 100 percent participation in the fund-raising campaign from college employees. With a high on-campus participation rate in hand, Noevere and Foundation Board members hope to build momentum for the off-campus phase of the campaign.


Donors can designate where they’d like their money to be used. Options include a general scholarship fund, specific scholarship endowments or other college priorities.


New this year is the establishment of the Environmental Science Study Abroad Initiative. Instructor Zac Schnell has a plan to provide summer study abroad opportunities for up to five students in the Philippines.


Two municipalities, a nonprofit organization and other groups have agreed to host and work with students in May and June of 2018. This trip will provide valuable field experience to supplement these students’ classroom training and better prepare them for a career path.


So far, the new Study Abroad fund has raised $2,260 – but there’s more to be done, Noevere said.


“We hope this year’s campaign is the most successful in the Foundation’s history,” she said. “We are working hard to show our donors the kind of impact they can have. We are very thankful for their support.”


As for the Recreation Day competition, the Student Services team made up of employees and students took first place in the competition, earning the lighthouse trophy. Off-Campus Programs, nicknamed “the Breakout Kids,” took second and got the logo cowbell. Allied Health finished third.


“The real winners, of course, are the students who we are able to help,” Ross said. “I humbly ask residents of this wonderful community to consider donating to the Foundation’s annual campaign. A small donation can make a tremendous difference in a student’s life and in their lives of his or her family.”


For more information about the Foundation, contact Noevere at or ext. 3084.




Instructor and Student Volunteer at Clinic


PCC instructor and student volunteering


November 9, 2017

An instructor and a student from Pamlico Community College’s new Dental Laboratory Technology program volunteered at the recent Mission of Mercy free dental clinic in New Bern.


Instructor Kathy Nicodemus and first-year student Patricia Willis worked a day at the event, which was held Oct. 27 and 28 at The Epiphany School of Global Studies.


The event provided free dental care to more than 700 low-income patients, including about 85 men and women who received dentures, partials or other prostheses. Nicodemus and Willis helped pour and trim models for many of those prostheses, among other tasks.


“I absolutely did enjoy helping,” said Willis. “The experience was very rewarding in different aspects for now and in the future.”


The Mission of Mercy free dental clinics are outreach projects of the N.C. Dental Society. They are staffed by volunteers, including dentists, hygienists, assistants, lab techs and others.


The New Bern operation featured more than 70 dental chairs and a mobile X-ray trailer. Marines stationed nearby also were on hand to help.


Willis said the clinic gave her an opportunity to take the information she had learned in Nicodemus’ class and put it to good use.


“Pouring models was one of the first hands-on things I learned in class,” she said. “The hands-on experience definitely gave me a different prospective into the field of study. The experience has made me want to pursue becoming a dental laboratory technician even more, and I’m so eager to learn everything I need to know and start a career.”


Willis added that she was impressed by the pace of activity at the clinic and enjoyed seeing her instructor thrive in it.


“I enjoyed the whole thing, but working beside Ms. Kathy (Nicodemus) was definitely at the top of the list,” she said. “While she was in a comfort zone for herself, it was a new thing for me, and she helped me through everything and made sure I felt comfortable in such a fast-paced, first-time experience.”


PCC President Dr. Jim Ross was pleased to learn that a PCC student and instructor had volunteered at the clinic and commended them for caring enough to do so.


“When we launched the Dental Laboratory Technology program, we knew it had the potential to improve people’s lives,” he said. “This Mission of Mercy clinic is a perfect illustration of how a PCC program can provide training that enables students to start careers and to make a positive difference for people in our region.”


Nicodemus was glad she and Willis got a chance to take part in the effort.


“Overall it is a fantastic organization and a very rewarding experience for all involved,” she said.


For more information about the college’s Dental Laboratory Technology program, contact Nicodemus at or 252-249-1851, ext. 3017.




SGA Launches Food Drive for Community


The SGA launches food drive


October 26, 2017

The Pamlico Community College Student Government Association wants to ensure its neighbors have food to enjoy this Thanksgiving.

The SGA has launched a Thanksgiving Food Drive to collect non-perishable grocery items that will be donated to the Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach ministry, which is a cooperative effort of five Oriental-area churches and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

The SGA Food Drive will run from now until Nov. 16. Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach will handle distribution of the items, with help from student volunteers.

"It seemed like something nice to do," said SGA Vice President Logan Pierce.

Collections boxes have been set up in the PCC Library, the President's Office suite in the Brinson Building and the Delamar Center reception area on the PCC campus, as well as in the college's Bayboro Center near Pamlico County High School.

Between now and Nov. 16, students, PCC employees and community residents are encouraged to drop off canned goods or other non-perishable items. Items will be received from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday thru Thursday at the PCC campus sites and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday thru Thursday at the Bayboro Center.

Traditional Thanksgiving-themed food items such as boxes of stuffing or canned cranberry sauce are welcome, as are any non-perishable, everyday grocery items, organizers say.

Fresh meats, vegetables and produce cannot be accepted, and donations of clothes or money can't be used.

PCC President Dr. Jim Ross said he's pleased to see the SGA leaders looking out for their community.

"I am very happy to see our students look for ways to assist people in need, especially as the holiday season draws near," he said. "I commend the SGA for its work to improve the lives of needy people right here in Pamlico County."

SGA President Anthony Raisch said he would like to see the Thanksgiving Food Drive become a tradition on campus.

"I would love to keep this going," he said.

Both Raisch and SGA Secretary Aaron Royal also said they want to take on additional community projects during the academic year.

"We plan on doing many great things for the community," Royal said.

For more information about the Food Drive, please contact Gretchen Steiger, PCC's Student Support and Engagement Specialist, at 252-249-1851, ext. 3023.




Congressman Jones Visits PCC Campus


Walter P. Jones visits PCC


October 26, 2017

U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. visited Pamlico Community College on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The congressman met with PCC President Dr. Jim Ross and toured the campus. He also spoke with students in a Medical Assisting class. Jones represents North Carolina's Third Congressional District.




Pamlico CC Named to Aspen's Top 150 List


The ASPEN Institute Aspen Prize


October 26, 2017

Pamlico Community College, already ranked No. 1 on SmartAsset's 2017 list of the Best Community Colleges in the United States, has now been named one of America's elite community colleges eligible to compete for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

PCC was selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize.

This is the first time the Aspen Institute has chosen PCC for inclusion in its list of America's top community colleges.

Only 150 of the nearly 1,000 community colleges in America were selected by Aspen for inclusion on this list and eligible to compete. The Aspen Prize top 150 community colleges are identified through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures.

Pamlico Community College and Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory are the two North Carolina community colleges on this coveted list.

"We are deeply grateful to be nationally-recognized for excellence by the highly-respected Aspen Institute, and eligible to compete for the ultimate prize of $1 million, especially when there are so many outstanding community college in our region, state and country," PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. "Community colleges across America are doing outstanding work, including our neighboring institutions in Eastern North Carolina. We accept this prestigious designation with sincere humbleness and appreciation."

The Aspen Prize, in addition to carrying with it the $1 million Aspen Prize for the college ultimately selected for it, also provides an extraordinary amount of national credibility for the 150 named to the elite list eligible to compete for the $1 million. The Aspen Prize is considered by many to be the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America's community colleges.

"This national recognition and the many additional national awards we are earning bring appropriate highly-positive attention to our wonderful community of Pamlico County and the great people here," said Ross. "This recognition is a direct reflection on the outstanding faculty and staff here at Pamlico Community College. Our highly-personalized approach is a total team effort to help students succeed and make lives better."

Awarded every two years since 2011, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

PCC will move forward to the next round of the competition for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by submitting an application to be reviewed through a rigorous evaluation for a spot on the top 10 Aspen Prize finalists list. Top ten finalists will be named in May 2018. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019.

The Aspen recognition is one of a growing list of prestigious awards Pamlico Community College is receiving. News of PCC's inclusion on the Aspen Prize list comes two months after it was ranked No. 1 on SmartAsset's list of Best Community Colleges in the United States. That ranking, which the New York-based personal finance technology company released in early August, was based on a review of 2015-16 federal data on 808 community colleges throughout the country.

PCC received high marks for its graduation/transfer rate of its students of 84%, compared to the national average of 40%; its student-instructor ratio of 9-to-1; and its low cost and affordability.

PCC was ranked as the third-best community college in the nation on WalletHub's 2016 list of Best Community Colleges in America. The college was ranked No. 8 among top colleges and universities for Best Online Associate Degree Programs for 2017 by

Nonprofit Colleges Online ranked Pamlico Community College No. 20 in the nation on its list of "Best Colleges for Online Associate's Degree" in 2018, while ranked PCC No. 5 on its list of Most Affordable Online Community Colleges.

PCC leaders also are proud that its students who go on to University of North Carolina system institutions achieved the highest grade point average among transfer students last year.




PCC Graduate to Retire from Job in Library


pcc employee set to retire


October 16, 2017


Pamlico Community College has played a significant role in the lives of Electra Krelie and her family.


In turn, she and her family have been outstanding ambassadors for the college.


Krelie, an administrative assistant/acquisitions clerk who will retire later this month after 13 years of service at PCC’s library, earned two associate’s degrees at the college before becoming an employee.


Her oldest son, Albert, earned his GED at the college and now works at PCC, too.


Another son, Andrew, excelled in the college’s Environmental Science program before going on to East Carolina University. In May, he was named the 2017 PCC Alumnus of the Year.


A third son, Allen, took a PCC college-level Criminal Justice class while he was a student at Pamlico County High School, and daughter Amanda, a Cherry Point firefighter and volunteer for the Pamlico County Rescue Squad, has taken multiple Continuing Education courses at the college to enhance her skills as an emergency responder.


“Education for me and my kids who came out here has been important,” said Krelie, who lives near PCC’s N.C. 306 campus. “Coming out here opened my eyes up to a lot of things.”


The Krelies’ experiences at PCC illustrate the variety of programs available at the college, said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross.


“Pamlico Community College is proud to serve this wonderful community with courses and programs that are designed to help men and women of all circumstances and backgrounds improve their lives,” he said. “Electra Krelie has been an important member of the PCC team for more than a decade, and she and her family are great representatives of our college and the wide range of offerings we have here.”


Krelie and her husband, Albert Sr., grew up in Elmira, N.Y., and married shortly after she graduated from high school. They came to the area when he was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.


The Krelies settled in Pamlico County, where they raised six children – five boys and a girl. She was a busy stay-at-home mom, but as the children grew up, she began to look for a new kind of work.


“I was ready for a change,” Krelie said. “I wanted to do something different.”


Krelie enrolled at PCC, first to study Office Technology and later to study Accounting. She enjoyed her days as a student, even if she often was older than most of her classmates – and sometimes even older than her instructors.


While in college, she started working part time in the PCC Library. Later a full-time job opened, and Krelie began her first career outside the home.


“I’ve met a lot of people,” she said. “I really like the people I work with.”


The always smiling Krelie is not the stereotypical stern, humorless library lady.


“Occasionally I have to ‘shhh’ people, but not very often,” she said with a laugh. “In this job, I have been able to use my nurturing skills to help students.”


Krelie says it’s rewarding to help students find the materials they need for a class assignment or a project and then to see them go on to reach their educational goals.


She is particularly fond of the college’s Community Living students.


Krelie said she will miss PCC, but doesn’t expect to completely lose touch with the college. She’s already making plans to attend the Community Living students’ annual Christmas show.


Krelie’s children still live in the area, and she has seven grandchildren, so Krelie expects to stay busy.


Does she have any other plans after retirement?


“Be a grandmother,” Krelie said with a smile.




Steiger Ready to Help PCC Students Succeed


new pcc employee


October 5, 2017


Gretchen Steiger understands how difficult college can be for a non-traditional student, especially a single mother who works full time.


She knows because she’s been there.


“Throughout my educational career, I was faced with some of the same obstacles our students at Pamlico Community College face,” the 26-year-old Pamlico County woman said. “I know there’s a lot to being a successful student. It’s a lot to balance.”


Steiger is working hard to help PCC students achieve that balance and be successful as the college’s new Student Support and Engagement Specialist.


In that role, she works to match students with the campus resources available to them. Steiger also coordinates student activities, and she’s a friendly face for those who just want to drop in and talk about their challenges and their aspirations.


“My goal for this position is to be a ‘guiding light’ for students,” she said.


Steiger graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in Business from East Carolina University – but her path to commencement wasn’t a straight line.


After graduating from Pamlico County High School in 2009, she enrolled at N.C. State University in Raleigh.


Life’s challenges soon intervened. She gave birth to a son, Caleb, and she went to work in various jobs while trying to keep up in school.


Steiger later moved back to Oriental, transferred to East Carolina University and commuted for classes. But the load was too much, so she had to take a break from school so she could focus on her son and her job in New Bern.


“It could be overwhelming,” Steiger said.


After an 18-month break, she went back to ECU last fall and completed her degree. Her son is now a first-grader at Pamlico County Primary School in Bayboro.

Steiger said her experiences should help her to relate with PCC students who are in similar circumstances. She hopes to remind them that they need to do what’s best for themselves and their families and not to worry about competing with others.


“It’s not a race,” she said. “You have to do everything at your own pace and do what’s right for you.”


Steiger also said she hopes to offer the kind of assistance she could have used when she was in college.


The idea of going to college has been very important to her since she was in middle school, she said. Steiger also said she’s pleased to have landed a job at a college where she can have a positive influence on local residents’ lives.


“I’ve seen the impact that Pamlico Community College has had on this community,” she said. “This position really stood out to me. It was a position that was going to help me make a difference for students. This is home, and this was definitely the right choice for me.”


PCC President Dr. Jim Ross said he was confident that Steiger would fit in well at PCC.


“We are fortunate to have Gretchen Steiger join our team,” he said. “She understands the value of a good education, and we know this community is very important to her. I am confident she will work hard to help our students succeed here so they can improve their lives and this community.”


Steiger is part of the college’s Student Services team. Her office is in the Johnson Building, room 110, and her phone number is 252-249-1851, ext. 3023.




SGA President Works Hard to Promote PCC


SGA President smiling outside


October 2, 2017


Pamlico Community College student Anthony Raisch doesn’t believe in doing anything halfheartedly.


The 37-year-old Ohio native says that when he decides to take on something, he gives it his all.


Perhaps that’s why Raisch has excelled in his role as a Student Ambassador, representing the college at campus activities and community events.


It also might explain why he stepped up to serve as the Student Government Association President for the 2017-18 academic year.


“It’s my personality,” he said. “I treat it all like a job. I do the best I can. I try to do whatever is needed.”


Raisch’s work ethic and dedication to PCC has turned heads at the college and has made him a familiar face in the community. He contends that he’s just doing his part and that he’s proud to be associated with PCC.


Raisch and his family lived on a farm near Cincinnati before deciding to move south to New Bern about three years ago. He initially planned to enroll at a different community college, but decided to give PCC a look after visiting the campus to attend a concert in the Delamar Center.


Raisch spoke with a college representative at the concert. Within a few days, he was a PCC student.


“I came here and walked out the door enrolled and with my financial aid taken care of,” he said with a smile.


The daily drive doesn’t bother him, Raisch said, and PCC’s small size is something he views as an asset for the college.


“The drive is worth it,” he said. “There are small class sizes and a lot of one-on-one attention. At most colleges, you’re a number. Here, the college knows your name. They know the students and they want students to succeed.”


Raisch, who loves the outdoors, is studying Environmental Science. He was drawn to the field after seeing declines in both air quality and water quality.


Raisch said he loves the program, but confesses that his Biology class is pretty tough. He hopes to have a career helping to improve and protect the environment.


PCC has become a family affair for Raisch: His wife, Kimberly Ward, now works at the college as a tutor in Business and Accounting. She recently joined him on the college’s team at the Oriental Dragon Boat Race.


“Anthony Raisch is someone who found what he was looking for at Pamlico Community College,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “He knows firsthand about the quality of instruction here and the individualized attention that our students receive. These are qualities that have helped make PCC the top-ranked community college in America.”


Raisch said he loves to spread the word about PCC.


“The atmosphere at this college is great,” he said. “I’m very happy to be at Pamlico Community College.”




Business Expo/Job Fair Draws Crowd to PCC


a shot of the crowd from the business expo


Updated September 25, 2017


Hundreds of area residents packed Pamlico Community College’s Delamar Center on Sept. 19 to learn more about the business offerings and job opportunities available here at home.


The event, formally named the 2017 SPOTLIGHT Pamlico Business EXPO & Job Fair, was a combined effort between PCC’s Career Center, Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce and Pamlico County Economic Development.


The mood at the three-hour event was upbeat and optimistic. Tables were set up in the Delamar Center’s lobby so job-seekers and prospective employers could meet face to face.


Inside the building’s auditorium, businesses ranging from banks and financial firms to boat sellers, garden shops and others set up booths to showcase their products and service offerings and to extol the benefits of shopping locally.


“We came here to support the community,” said Dr. Ken Vieregge, who practices at the Axelson Chiropractic office in Alliance. “We’re here to meet people and to let people know what services are available in the community.”


Area restaurants offered visitors samples of their most delicious items, which then were evaluated in a Judges and a Taster’s Choice competition.


Non-profit organizations also were on hand to spread the word about their work, as were important regional institutions such as CarolinaEast Health System, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport and Coastal Environmental Partnership.


There was entertainment. Members of the Pamlico Chorale sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” to help open the event, and the PCC Mall Jammers provided live music throughout the evening.


Other features included door prizes, a 50-50 raffle and an opportunity to support the River Time Civitan Club’s diaper drive, “No Child Wet Behind.” Members of the Pamlico County High School JROTC helped with the event, and N.C. Sen. Norman Sanderson, who lives nearby, was there to show his support.


“The Pamlico Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Office do extremely commendable work to advance our county, and we were honored that our PCC Career Center joined them to sponsor this uplifting community event,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “We were also very honored that many community leaders such as Senator Norman Sanderson, PCI Superintendent Faye Daniels and County Manager Tim Buck participated.”


September 14, 2017


An enjoyable time is expected when the local business, restaurant and music talent sectors are spotlighted at the 2017 SPOTLIGHT Pamlico Business EXPO & Job Fair, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Pamlico Community College’s Delamar Center.


The event is a combined effort between Pamlico Community College’s Career Center, Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce and Pamlico County Economic Development.


“Everyone from job-seekers to shoppers to those looking for an enjoyable evening are invited to come out and enjoy the free event. It will showcase what we have available here,” said Lisa Thompson, treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce, one of the event’s primary organizers.


Beth Bucksot, Director of Economic Development for Pamlico County, another key event partner, added: “Businesses, restaurants, musicians and non-profits will be showcasing their goods and services. We also welcome businesses and organizations from outside our county who serve our citizens.”


More than 30 businesses and organizations are currently signed up to take part in the event’s EXPO portion, which has 11 sponsors. Organizers expect the usual late comers to fill the few remaining spots.


Meanwhile, 15 other businesses and non-profit groups have signed up to take part in the Job Fair. As part of that, the college’s Career Center is featuring a series of workshops on obtaining a job, and job-seekers are encouraged to bring their resumes to the Sept. 19 event.


The event’s overall theme is “Spotlight Pamlico,” and organizers have been working for months to ensure everyone who attends the EXPO/Job Fair has fun, learns something about local commerce and potentially finds a great new job.


“We invite people to come and have an enjoyable time while supporting and becoming educated about what is available in their community,” said Bucksot. “You can sample food from our amazing restaurants. Add the variety of music to the food samples and the smiling faces of our friendly businesses and non-profits, and the fun begins! Last year’s event attracted lots of attendees who reported really enjoying the event, and participating businesses were very pleased with their outcomes.”


Organizers say the event’s other features include health checks, door prizes, classic cars display, $100 Shop Local drawing, a 50-50 raffle plus a Judges and Taster’s Choice competition between the restaurants that are providing samples of their tasty menu items.


They encourage attendees to donate diapers to support the River Time Civitan Club diaper drive, “No Child Wet Behind.” The club will accept donations of disposable diapers at the Pamlico Partnership for Children booth.


Organizers also pointed out that residents will be able to see what local businesses have to offer the community, particularly in this era of online shopping.


“We need to educate ourselves about what is available in our area and support the businesses in our communities that provide local and regional jobs, support our schools and non-profits, and add to the tax base that provides revenue for necessary public services,” Bucksot said.


“The Business EXPO and Job Fair is exactly the kind of event we enjoy hosting at Pamlico Community College,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “The college’s Career Center, the Chamber of Commerce and the county’s Economic Development Office all have worked hard on this for several months, just as they work hard every day to make our community better. I feel confident that everyone who comes out for this community-minded event will be glad they did.”


For more information, call 252-745-3008 or 252-745-3081.

Noted Toy Developer Will Speak at PCC


Toy developer Dexter Liu set to speak at PCC


September 14, 2017


A successful toy designer and entrepreneur will share his insights on business and product development during a series of lectures at Pamlico Community College – and that’s not child’s play.


Dexter Liu, 63, who has more than 30 years of involvement in private enterprise, will discuss his experiences in hard work, perseverance and creative thinking.


“I would love to impart some knowledge to bright, young, entrepreneurial-thinking students,” he said. “I will be talking about the various disciplines needed for starting a business. I want to share my experience.”


The first lecture will take place Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at PCC’s Grantsboro campus. A second session will be held Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 9:30 to 10:50 a.m. at the college’s Bayboro Center, and the third lecture will be offered Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at PCC’s main campus.


The lectures are free and are open to students, PCC employees and the general public.


“This series provides students and community members with a great opportunity to hear from someone with 30-plus years of incredible success in product development,” said PCC Business Instructor Terri Fesmire-Kennedy, who is helping to organize the events. “They can expect to come away feeling inspired and encouraged after hearing from a speaker with Mr. Liu’s experience and knack for innovation.”


Liu, who lives in Pamlico County, studied Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design and began his career designing vacuum cleaners for Eureka. A roommate employed at a nearby toy manufacturer suggested he try his hand at designing something fun, and Liu was hooked.


Liu went to work at Castle Toys, a successful Rhode Island toy company, as a designer in 1978.


“We had a ball,” he said. “We did some good stuff.”


Liu went to work as senior product designer for General Mills’ toy division in Michigan, which included Kenner, Lionel Trains and others. He then took a job in Connecticut as manager of preliminary design for another toy producer.


In 1986, Liu went to work as creative director for The Sullivan Organization, a Rhode Island toy invention firm, and later founded LCD International, a toy invention and design enterprise in Rhode Island that developed toys for clients such as Mattel, Kmart and Walmart.


While there, he developed toy cars to boost a branding campaign by Chevron.


In 1999, he launched an Internet company, Kid Kids Inc., that served clients including Toys ‘R’ Us, Universal Studios and DreamWorks, and two years later began a product development consultancy that worked with clients including Crayola, Fisher-Price and others.


Additionally, Liu has served as an adjunct professor and graduate student advisor at his alma mater. He holds more than a dozen patents, and his products have generated more than $500 million in wholesale earnings for his clients.


Liu and his wife moved to Pamlico County about a year ago.


“We look forward to welcoming Dexter Liu to campus,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “It’s wonderful that our community has so many experienced professionals willing to share their experiences, advice and expertise with students.”


Fesmire-Kennedy said each of Liu’s lectures will feature different material, meaning attendees do not have to attend all three sessions to get some valuable information and inspiration.


“His passion for inspiring others in the world of entrepreneurship is infectious,” she said. “Our campus is lucky to host someone with Mr. Liu’s extensive background and enthusiasm.”


For more information about Liu’s lectures, contact Fesmire-Kennedy at 252-249-1851, ext. 3009.



Recent PCC Graduate Wants to Help Others


PCC graduate Kayla Thomas smiles for the camera


August 31, 2017


Kayla Thomas of New Bern believes she has found her life’s work: She wants a career in medicine so she can help people overcome health problems and sickness.


The 35-year-old Harkers Island native says she came to that realization after her best friend died following a lengthy battle with cancer.


“Medicine has always intrigued me, and I find the human body fascinating,” Thomas said recently. “Some years ago, my best friend got very sick, and I took care of her in her home while she battled cancer.”


The hours spent with her friend in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices initially left Thomas disenchanted with medicine, but eventually time would rekindle her interest in health care and her passion for helping others.


“We spent so much time in and out of hospitals and dealing with medical problems that I honestly didn’t think I would ever have any desire to do anything medical again after she passed away,” she said. “After some years passed and I had time to grieve over the loss of my friend, my desire to help people dealing with sickness and health problems returned. I honestly just believe it is part of what I was born to do.”


Thomas found a way to reach her goals through Pamlico Community College’s Medical Assisting program. She graduated in May, and has traded the long hours and late nights of restaurant work for a rewarding new job at CarolinaEast Urology Center in New Bern.


“Kayla Thomas is a great example of someone who decided to pursue her true passion with us at Pamlico Community College,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “Now she is in a position to improve her life and the lives of her patients. Success stories such as Kayla Thomas help to show why PCC has been ranked as the top community college in America.”


Thomas said she decided to check out PCC because of its location and its reputation. However, the way she was treated when she enrolled proved right away that she made the right decision.


“I chose PCC at the time because I had heard great things about the college and it was close to where I was living,” Thomas said. “I remember walking in the front office, and the first person I met was Vanessa Bryant. She was very encouraging and extremely helpful in getting me headed in the right direction. She made me feel welcome.”


Bryant suggested Thomas meet with Jessica Boomer, a registered nurse who oversaw the Medical Assisting program at the time. The program was a perfect match for her, and Thomas was on her way.


The kindness, support and encouragement Thomas received from the instructors and staffers at PCC meant a lot, she said.


“One of the best things about PCC is the faculty,” Thomas said. “They are all approachable, humble, skilled at their craft, and so very encouraging. They are willing to help any way possible to make sure you succeed and reach your goals.”


She continued: “There is no doubt that the atmosphere the staff sets at the campus is what I admire most about Pamlico Community College. They all make you feel like you are a part of something great – and who doesn’t want that?”


Thomas became one of PCC’s Student Ambassadors, a post that enabled her to represent the college at campus activities and community events.


“I took the position seriously and, in the short time I was at PCC, I learned everything about the college I could,” she said. “I still enjoy being able to encourage people I meet to go back to school. I also tell them that Pamlico Community College would be an excellent choice. I tell people they could not get a better education or experience anywhere.”


Thomas is enjoying her current job, but is exploring the idea of becoming a nurse. She says she feels prepared to take on new challenges at work and elsewhere, thanks in large part to PCC.


“Each of my instructors were more than experienced and knowledgeable enough to help teach me and prepare me for Medical Assisting,” she said. “I believe their own love and passion for the field had everything to do with being able to equip me for the job. It has been life changing, to say the least.”


For more information about the Medical Assisting program, contact Tina Hardison at or 252-249-1851, ext. 3044.



Bate Foundation Awards $30,000 Grant to PCC


Dr. Jim Ross accepting grant from the Bate foundation


August 28, 2017


Pamlico Community College’s new Dental Laboratory Technology program recently received a significant boost from the Harold H. Bate Foundation.


The New Bern-based foundation awarded PCC a $30,000 grant to help launch the new, two-year associate’s degree program, which trains students to create dental appliances such as dentures, partials, bridges, crowns and other prostheses.


The program’s first classes began this semester. Program graduates will be qualified to work in denture clinics, dental labs and similar settings.


“We are extremely appreciative for the Bate Foundation’s support, which will help us to create a first-class program,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross said. “Like PCC, the Bate Foundation is committed to seeing area residents improve their lives and circumstances. We thank them for their support of this program and our students. Our entire region of our state is much better because Mr. Bate was such a caring and generous man and has left this magnanimous legacy through his foundation to making our communities better.”


The new Dental Laboratory Technology program, which received state approval earlier this summer, is unique in this area. In fact, PCC is the only N.C. community college east of Interstate 95 to offer the degree program.


The program is led by Kathy Nicodemus, who has more than 30 years of combined experience teaching Dental Laboratory Technology and working in the dental prostheses industry. The program consists of classroom teaching and hands-on work in the lab. There also is online instruction.


“We are very excited to offer a new career option for students,” Ross said. “We believe this program will create wonderful opportunities for students to have great careers and improve their lives.”


For more information about the program, contact Nicodemus at or 252-249-1851, ext. 3017.



Learn New Skills With Continuing Education


CNA students practicing their skills


August 28, 2017


Pamlico Community College’s Continuing Education division can help you learn the valuable skills you need for a great new career or to move up at your current job.


These low-cost, short-term courses are ideal for men and women who need additional training or who want to explore their career options.


“It enhances your marketability and it opens up your horizons,” said Greg Skelly, PCC’s interim chair of Continuing Education. “We have a lot to offer this semester.”


Program options ranging from health care and hospitality to hands-on trades and drawing will be available at PCC before the end of 2017.


Classes are forming now, so it’s important to contact the college soon to save your seat in the course that interests you. For health care-related courses, please call Marianna Adkins at 252-249-1851, ext. 3031. For all other courses, please call Michelle McGuire at 252-249-1851, ext. 3124.


“Continuing Education programs are critical to our mission of serving this community and helping residents improve their lives and their circumstances,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “We encourage our neighbors to check into these courses. They might be exactly what they’re looking for.”


Program offerings this semester will include the following:


* Drawing – PCC’s Introduction to Drawing course will be taught by Lee Hood, a talented local artist who will teach you the essential skills needed to make beautiful drawings.


* Food & Beverage Service – Get to know the important “dos and don’ts” for safe food service.

* Food Preparation – Learn the skills you need to work at the “back of the house” in local restaurants and cafeterias.


* Horticulture – Students in this introductory course will learn about plant science, pesticides, pruning and other skill areas needed to grow a great garden or maintain an attractive landscape.


* HVAC III – Students interested in heating and air conditioning systems will continue their training through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum.


* Motorcycle Maintenance – Learn to keep your motorcycle running smoothly with this informative course.


* Notary Public – The complete course to become a commissioned Notary Public is available on the third Saturday of each month at the college’s Bayboro Center. Topics include legal, ethical and procedural requirements of the Notary Act. Upon completion of this course with a passing exam grade of 80 percent, a person is eligible to apply to the N.C. Secretary of State’s office.


Upcoming classes are slated for Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.


* Nurse Aide I – Students interested in taking PCC’s popular Nurse Aide I course are invited to attend an Orientation Session on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 1 p.m. at the college’s Grantsboro campus. Day and evening classes are scheduled to start Sept. 7. A Nurse Aide Refresher course also is planned. For more information, call Marianna Adkins at 252-249-1851, ext. 3031.


* Ophthalmic Assistant – New this semester is a specialized course designed to train men and women to work as assistants in ophthalmology offices. Students interested in this new course offering are invited to attend an Orientation Session on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 1 p.m. at the college’s Grantsboro campus. For more information, call Marianna Adkins at 252-249-1851, ext. 3031.


* Pharmacy Tech – This course is designed to teach men and women the skills needed to work in pharmacies. Students interested in this new course offering are invited to attend an Orientation Session on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 1 p.m. at the college’s Grantsboro campus. For more information, call Marianna Adkins at 252-249-1851, ext. 3031.


* Phlebotomist – Learn how to safety draw a patient’s blood for testing. Students interested in this course offering are invited to attend an Orientation Session on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 1 p.m. at the college’s Grantsboro campus. For more information, call Marianna Adkins at 252-249-1851, ext. 3031.


* Welding – Students of all skill levels are invited to take part in this Continuing Education course, which will be offered at the college’s Grantsboro campus.


Courses in Boat Construction, Marine Propulsion, Small Engine Repair and others also are under development. There also are specialized classes available to area firefighters, emergency medical technicians and emergency managers.


For more information on these and other Continuing Education programs, please call Michelle McGuire at 252-249-1851, ext. 3124, or visit




Free Courses Available to High School Students


Derek Godwin instructing a class of high school students


August 18, 2017


You don’t have to take on a huge debt to get a college education. If you’re a high school student, you don’t have to pay at all!


Local students are eligible to take college courses – at no cost – while they are in high school, thanks to the N.C. Career & College Promise program.


The credits earned by passing the free courses offered by Pamlico Community College can be applied to an Associate in Arts degree or Associate in Science degree and can transfer to all public – and many private – colleges and universities in North Carolina.


That helps students get ahead and save money.


“I don’t know of a better deal anywhere,” said PCC President Dr. Jim Ross. “You can’t beat free, transferrable college courses from the top-ranked community college in the United States. This is one of the best things we offer at Pamlico Community College.”


Interested high school students and their parents can learn more about the Career & College Promise program by visiting PCC’s booth at Pamlico County High School’s Open House, which is set for Thursday, Aug. 24, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the high school’s A.H. Hatsell Memorial Auditorium.


“I will be there to answer questions and to explain the options available to high school students and their parents,” said Derek Godwin, PCC’s Director of Career & College Promise. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to enroll in free college courses while in high school. Students can save thousands of dollars in college-related costs by taking advantage of this opportunity.”


There are two college pathways:


• College Transfer Pathway (CTP) requires the completion of at least 30 semester hours of transfer courses including English and mathematics.


• Career and Technical Education Pathway (CTE) leads to a certificate or diploma aligned with a high school career cluster.


Recent PCHS graduate Ashleigh Deditch took PCC courses while she was a high school student. She is starting college this fall with roughly a year of college credits already in hand.


“I have recommended Career & College Promise to others,” said Deditch, who plans to study Medical Assisting. “It will help them figure out what they want to do after high school and help them get a head start.”


Additionally, exposure to college-level coursework has shown Deditch how to manage her time and how to be prepared to do well in college.


“Now that I’ve taken college classes, I know what I’m going into,” she said. “Even though it seems like a lot of work, it’s definitely worth it.”


Kara Ireland graduated from East Carolina University in May. Taking and passing PCC courses while in high school went a long way in helping her complete her bachelor’s degree.


“It was one of the best routes to go,” she said. “It made me want to strive to go further.”


Registration for high school students who want to enroll in PCC courses will be held Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 28-29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the college’s Bayboro Center, which is located beside the PCHS campus on N.C. 55.


Qualified students from PCHS, Arapahoe Charter School, Pamlico Christian Academy and local home schools are eligible to enroll.


For more information about Career & College Promise, please contact Derek Godwin at 252-745-7349 or




PCC Ranked No. 1 Community College in America by SmartAsset


SmartAsset's logo alongside the PCC logo


August 11, 2017


Pamlico Community College is ranked No. 1 on SmartAsset’s list of the Best Community Colleges in the United States.


The list, released Aug. 9 by the New York-based personal finance technology company, places PCC in the top spot in the nation based on a review of 2015-16 federal data on 808 community colleges throughout America.


PCC received exemplary scores for its graduation/transfer rate of its students of 84%, compared to the national average of 40%; its student-instructor ratio of 9-to-1; and its comparatively low cost and affordability.


“Originally founded in 1962 as an industrial education center, Pamlico has matured into the best community college in the country,” SmartAsset’s list states. “According to our research, Pamlico has one of the highest graduation and transfer rates in the country with 84 percent of its students either graduating or transferring.”


PCC President Dr. Jim Ross enthusiastically welcomed the honor as a way to recognize not only PCC but also the outstanding community it serves. He said it is very humbling to be recognized as the very best community college when there are so many outstanding community colleges in our region, state and nation and said this award is a direct result of the commitment and hard work by the college’s faculty members and staff.


“This listing reflects the extraordinary faculty and staff we have here at PCC,” he said. “Our instructors and staff members are heroes in what they do, consistently going well above and beyond the call of duty, to help students succeed.”


Ross credited the personalized attention that students receive at Pamlico as a key factor in the college’s exceptionally strong performance.


A.J. Smith, SmartAsset’s vice president of financial education, said this was the fourth year the company had studied community colleges. Information from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System from 2015-16 was used to evaluate 808 community colleges, she said.


All community colleges that had data available on student-faculty ratio, graduation/transfer rate and cost were evaluated in the study, with community colleges from all 50 states represented, Smith said.


“This is purely looking at the data, and the data tells that story,” she said.


News of the No. 1 ranking by SmartAsset comes just as registration for the Fall 2017 semester got underway at the Grantsboro-based institution. It also comes on the heels of several other state and national honors PCC has received this past year.


PCC was ranked as the third-best community college in the nation on WalletHub’s 2016 list of Best Community Colleges in America, and the college was ranked No. 8 among the Top 50 colleges and universities for Best Online Associate Degree Programs for 2017 by


The college has been recognized for having one of the highest graduation rates in the country. Pamlico leaders also are proud that its students who go on to University of North Carolina system institutions achieved the highest grade point average among transfer students last year.


Pamlico Community College also has been awarded a Gold Medal for being a Military Friendly community college, and its Medical Assisting program recently was ranked No. 1 in America by the website


In addition to Pamlico, four other N.C. community colleges were ranked among the Top 10 on SmartAsset’s list of the Best Community Colleges.


To see SmartAsset’s 2017 list, visit



Pamlico Community College does not discriminate in its educational programs, activities, or employment on the basis of sex, age, disability, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or religion.