Candice Owens

RCC Dual Enrollment propels Candice Owens to the very top

Candice Owens

Candice Owens graduated from Middlesex High School, but not before earning college credits through RCC’s Dual Enrollment program.

Numbers and figures have never been a confusing topic for Candice Owens. Her passion for accounting helped push her all the way to serving as a state auditor Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (APA).

In deciding which career to pursue, Candice was influenced greatly by her mother, who was a correctional officer.

“I really like law, and I also like numbers,” says Candice. Accounting puts them both together. You get all the laws and regulations that you have to follow for your accounting side.”

To get a head start on her career and passion, Candice began dual enrollment at Rappahannock Community College. As a student at Middlesex High School, she says “I took accounting dual enrollment classes at RCC, and then went to Longwood University right out of high school, and during the summer I would take classes online, so I didn’t have to take them while I was up there.”

With this head start and hard-working attitude, Candice easily and quickly finished her degree.

During her time in the dual enrollment program, Candice didn’t just sit by and participate in classes; she also helped in “student teaching my senior year,” she says. “I was researching behind the scenes, more accounting standards than what was just being taught,” she says of going above and beyond in her teaching.

“I had to do all the research myself, so if anything new came up that the book didn’t explain, I ended up teaching on that.”

Through her experience with RCC in dual enrollment, she says she learned how everything flows through in accounting, and due to that, she knew a great deal before entering Longwood.

“When I went to Longwood along with a couple of other people who were in the same RCC classes as me, we didn’t have to think about debit and credits, so we ended up tutoring people in our class,” she says.

Candice has been with the APA for most of her young professional life and has been a part of many auditing procedures, including a state audit of RCC.

She that the folks at RCC were “wonderful” to work with, even under an audit.

“They’re small, compared to a lot of the other community colleges, says Candice, “but at the same time it was nice not to feel like they just wanted to push me out the door.”

Through her experience with the agency, she has also been part of organizations that do “gardening for the hungry” and Future Business Leaders of America regional office competitions.

As for her time with the agency specifically, Candice says “I love working there, it’s more family friendly, like today I’ve been working from home.”

Because of her flexible schedule and work environment, she has been able to keep up with her numerous other activities, including the showing her horse and future business leadership conferences.

Along with the APA, Candice specializes in “scholarship, how to build a resume, and cover letters workshops.” As she tells her brother and those she helps, “keep a master resume at all times, keep it updated at least once a year because when you get to doing the job application or a scholarship application, you will totally forget what happened five years ago.”

Candice advises future students to “always expect to learn something new every day.”

“Make sure you don’t just be a member of something, make sure you build on it,” she says. “Never expect that doing the same thing every day or doing the same thing year after year is the best. Always think that there could be a new way of being innovative.” — Mary Ashley Cline

Preakness Party 2017

Annual Preakness Party fundraiser nets $90,000 for the RCC Educational Foundation’s Mission

Preakness Party 2017

RCC President Elizabeth Crowther presents Marilyn and David South, event hosts, with a pen and ink drawing of their home Millmont by artist Kathy Humphreys

On the beautiful afternoon of May 20, over 350 friends of Rappahannock Community College gathered at historic Millmont in Middlesex County for the 13th Annual Preakness Party. The event raised funds for the RCC Educational Foundation’s mission, which is to provide an affordable and high-quality RCC education for residents of the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck and surrounding areas.

Guests gathered to bid on silent and live auction items, enjoy food and drink from the very best local wineries and restaurants and watch a live feed of the Preakness Stakes on large television screens. The best hat contest during the festivities brought out the competitive spirit in many of the guests who donned enormous, colorful hats.

“The RCC Educational Foundation is so grateful to the event guests who support our mission,” said Sarah Pope, RCC’s Dean of College Advancement and Executive Director of the RCC Educational Foundation, Inc.

“We are amazed at their generosity as this year’s Preakness was the highest netting in the 13-year event history,” noted Pope. “The Preakness fundraiser is successful because of the dedicated volunteers on our steering committee, including co-chairs Sue Farmar and Joni Lawler, our corporate sponsors, and the beautiful setting of the event venue provided this year by Marilyn and David South.”

The auction raised a record $90,000 to support RCC student scholarships and College programs.

In all, nine local restaurants donated their time and food for the event, including Eckhard’s Restaurant, Indian Creek Yacht & Country Club, Java Jack’s Coffee House and Restaurant, Lancaster Tavern, The Steamboat Restaurant at the Piankatank Golf Club, Stratford Hall, The Tides Inn, Tommy’s and RCC’s own Culinary Program, led by Chef Hatley Bright.

The Preakness Party also boasted several local wineries, including Good Luck Cellars, General’s Ridge and Ingleside, while Angelo’s restaurant in Montross sponsored the bar area.

Robert Moton

RCC’s Lifelong Learning presents the American Story of Robert Russa Moton

Robert Moton

RILL will explore the life of Robert Moton, who was a valued advisor to five United States presidents, yet is virtually unknown to most Americans today.

From the Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation’s Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning (RILL), comes a three-session course celebrating the life of one of the most influential — but little-known — African-American leaders of the early twentieth century.

“Robert Russa Moton of Gloucester: An American Story” will be taught by Brian McGovern on June 14, 21, and 28 (Wednesdays), from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Moton Center, 2nd floor (stairs only), Holly Knoll, 6498 Allmondsville Road, Gloucester County.

Born in 1867 to former slaves, Robert Moton was a valued advisor to five United States presidents, yet is virtually unknown to most Americans today. From his humble beginnings, Major Moton went on to succeed Booker T. Washington as principal of Tuskegee Institute in 1915, then lived out his retirement years at beautiful “Holly Knoll” on the banks of the York River in Gloucester County.

According to popular belief, Martin Luther King composed his “I Have a Dream” speech at Holly Knoll; and it is certain that the United Negro College Fund was first proposed there. McGovern’s course will give you a fascinating look at some historical facts that never made it into your school textbooks.

Brian McGovern holds the degree of Master of Arts in History from Old Dominion University and has conducted extensive research on the life of Robert Moton. He teaches United States history as a dual enrollment instructor at Peninsula Catholic High School and also serves as an adjunct history instructor at RCC.

Advance registration, with a tuition payment of $35, is required to take this course. For more information on “Robert Russa Moton of Gloucester: An American Story” and other RILL courses, or to register, please call Sharon Drotleff at RCC’s Educational Foundation office (804-333-6707), or e-mail her at sdrotleff@rappahannock.edu.

The Educational Foundation expresses sincere appreciation to the Bank of Lancaster’s Golden Advantage program, and to Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, for their generous support of RILL in 2017.

Clayton W. James

Lifelong Learning Class Explores Global Investment Markets at Gloucester Public Library

Clayton W. James

Clayton W. James, CFM, registered financial advisor and the managing director of Jamestowne Investments, LLC, will lead the class.

The Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation’s Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning (RILL) will explore the world of high finance with “Your Complete Financial Journey: Understanding and Maximizing your Opportunities in the Global Investment Markets.”

The three-session course will be taught by Clayton W. James on June 6, 13, and 20 (Tuesdays), from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the main branch of the Gloucester County Public Library at 6920 Main Street in Gloucester Courthouse.

This course will undertake an in-depth examination of the global financial markets, including domestic and international equities, fixed-income, and alternative investment asset classes. The risks and opportunities associated with each investment choice will be considered, and participants will gain the tools and knowledge to make confident and educated investment decisions. Instructor Clayton James will discuss the current interest rate environment, as well as the impact a changing yield curve will have on retirement income planning. His advice will allow investors to balance their desire for growth against their income needs, and to protect their assets from fraud and exploitation.

Clayton W. James, CFM, is a registered financial advisor and the managing director of Jamestowne Investments, LLC. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics and has been serving clients in the investment management industry since 2003.

Advance registration, with a tuition payment of $35, is required to take this course. For more information on “Your Complete Financial Journey: Understanding and Maximizing your Opportunities in the Global Investment Markets” and other RILL courses, or to register, please call Sharon Drotleff at RCC’s Educational Foundation office (804-333-6707), or e-mail her at sdrotleff@rappahannock.edu.

four faculty awarded

RCC honors four Faculty for Outstanding Service to College, Community

RCC is proud to honor faculty members who have served in outstanding ways — Profs. Ruth Greene, Lisa Merritt, Bob Parker and Lisa Tuckey.

rebecca-guest

From student to graduate to employee, meet Rebecca Guest

rebecca-guest

Rebecca Guest, RCC Class of 2006, has returned to her alma mater to work in the Financial Aid office.

Rebecca Guest, a former Rappahannock Community College student and native of Gloucester County, has returned to her alma mater. Ms. Guest serves in the RCC Financial Aid office, and from all accounts, everyone is glad that she came back.

“Being a student at RCC, it really taught me how to value higher education,” says Guest. “When I eventually transferred, I had these values instilled in me from RCC, and I knew what I wanted. I didn’t take education for granted.”

After graduating RCC, Guest took a few “gap years” off before transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 2012. “It wasn’t traditional, but things happen for a reason and I’m glad it worked out that way because if I had gone away immediately, I think I would have been overwhelmed.”

After many years in retail, Guest transferred all of her RCC credits to VCU and graduated with her degree in Human History in 2015. Before coming to work for RCC, she worked as membership coordinator for the Virginia Association of Museums in Richmond, working with students, business professionals, museums and cultural heritage sights across the Commonwealth.

Guest decided, however, to pursue “an opportunity for professional growth” by returning to RCC. She notes that the school has changed quite a bit since 2006, thanks in most part the renovations, which were completed several years back. Even so, she says “Just like today, the student lounge was the hangout spot.”

Though things may have changed in the way the College looks, its heart is still the same. And she is happy to be a part of the team who can serve the next generation of soon-to-be RCC graduates. Part of that mission will be to make sure her students are aware of the opportunities here, including the robust scholarship program. Guest took advantage of those dollars when she was a student.

“I’m so grateful that I received that aid — that helped me tremendously,” says Guest. She tells students that she meets now, “Even if you think [you won’t be eligible], take a moment, read everything, and apply.”

Her decision to return to RCC for work, she says, “From my experience as a student, I knew RCC was a great school and knowing some people that worked here, I knew it was a great college to work for.”

Guest welcomes new students to the school, saying, “Come to school every day with a positive attitude … keep in mind your loved ones that are rooting for you. Work hard and make the best possible effort.” — Mary Ashley Cline

Jason Chen

Middlesex’s Jason Chen wins RCC Writing Competition

Jason Chen

Middlesex High School student Jason Chen won the Spring 2017 Student Research Paper Awards competition.

For Rappahannock Community College’s fifth Student Research Paper Award contest, the top submission revealed the relationship between global warming and real estate prices in Middlesex County.

Jason Chen, who hails from Deltaville won for his project entitled “Assessment of Sea Level Rise in Middlesex County and Its Influence on Future Storm Surges and Waterfront Property.” Chen was inspired to write this paper by his dual interest in finances and environmental sciences, stating that both were a passion of his.

The paper was part of his senior project at Middlesex High School, in which his teacher helped him merge these interests into one topic. The goal was to see how the rising sea levels would affect storm surges in the future.

Chen observed that waterfront houses are more expensive currently, but may not represent a good investment when considering the predicted sea level rise will be approximately one meter.

Chen used publically available data to write this paper.

“For the property value data, I used the 2016 Middlesex geographic information system and then for my title data I used the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration water data,” says Chen.

Chen, who is taking his Dual Enrollment course credits earned at RCC, through Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, to the University of Virginia upon his graduation, says that he worked on this project because he knows it will affect those who live near his home.

“As you start to get older you are going to start thinking about buying a house,” says Chen. “When I go to buy a house, I want to see if it’s worth it. I don’t want to have a mortgage on the house next to the water and wait for it to be destroyed by a tidal surge. I would still have to pay off the whole thing.”

Thirty-five entries were submitted for consideration and were judged based on the quality of the writing and presentation, as well as how well they used sources from the RCC Library and elsewhere.

Carl Wayne Hayden, also Chesapeake Bay Governor School student, of Warsaw, placed second in the competition for “New Materials for Capacitors,” written for Bethany Smith’s marine science class.

The competition was judged by RCC’s dean of college advancement, Sarah Pope; the RCC Vice-President of Finance & Administrative Services, Bill Doyle; and Dan Ream, RCC’s Library Coordinator. — April Wobken

Evon Cobb, Class of 2017 representative

Evon Cobb to represent the RCC Class of 2017 for Commencement

Evon Cobb, Class of 2017 representative

Evon Cobb to represent the Class of 2017 on stage for Commencement.

Rappahannock Community College will hold its 45th annual Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12 at the Warsaw Campus. Among the speakers who will address the audience will be Evon Cobb, who will graduate that day herself. Ms. Cobb is the Class of 2017 representative and will share the stage with other academic and business luminaries.

The path to educational and career goals was not traditional for Cobb. After 15 years working as a supervisor with the Department of Juvenile Services in Maryland, Cobb decided to return to school to pursue her childhood career dreams.

Before coming to RCC, she says her job pertained of counseling “juveniles that were on home detention.” After her retirement, she says, “I had the time to put into my schooling and education, so I took advantage of that opportunity.”

She chose to attend classes at the King George RCC Site because “the timing and financing was good for me,” she says.

“I felt like I was finally getting something toward what I had always wanted to do before I retired,” she said of her excitement returning to school. Although she’d put off her education previously, Cobb said, “it was rewarding [and] challenging, but at the same time I always felt hopeful that I was always going to make it there.”

Finally, after many years of dreaming, Cobb is graduating this weekend, May 12, 2017, with her Associates of Arts and Science degree. “I found the professors very, very accommodating,” she says, reflecting on her experience with RCC. “Having the whole staff being available in a professional way for me … I knew that support was always there if I needed it.”

After graduating, Cobb plans to transfer to George Mason University to pursue a major in Islamic studies. Her influence, she says, “Since I was young [I] was interested in theology. And being a Muslim, I still want to learn more deeply on my about my religion as well as other religions.”

Although she faced challenges such as due date conflictions and time management, she says, “I’m glad I didn’t give up, because it was definitely worth me doing that.” She continues, “I didn’t just chicken out and say that’s not for me because I’m older. I did it, and I did it at the age that I am so that I must say I am glad that I did that for myself.”

To encourage those pursuing degrees at RCC, she says, “It’s worth going, and the support is there for you, so don’t ever feel that you don’t have the support. RCC has the support there for you and the guidance.” — Mary Ashley Cline

RCC counselor Sandy Darnell

Sandy Darnell to carry the ceremonial mace for Commencement

RCC counselor Sandy Darnell

Sandy Darnell will carry the mace, which is used in the college’s ceremonies as recognition to the bearer for his or her service and leadership to the college.

On May 12, as part of Rappahannock Community College’s 45th Commencement exercise, longtime RCC staff member, Sandy Darnell, will carry the mace, which is used in the college’s ceremonies as recognition to the bearer for his or her service and leadership to the college.

Darnell serves the College as a student counselor and has been in that position for over 25 years. She will tell you that loves the faculty and students she works with. Before becoming a counselor, Darnell received her bachelor’s in psychology from Christopher Newport University, and master’s in psychology from Radford University.

Darnell finds the most rewarding aspect of her career is watching the students she counseled reach his or her educational goals and overcome their challenges.

Apart from her time at RCC, she has worked for Gloucester Social Services, Riverside School of Nursing, and as a counselor for many patients at clinics and facilities.

A 30-year resident of Gloucester County, Darnell is married to her husband, Rick Darnell, a former college graduate of RCC, with whom she has two children and three grandchildren.

Jane Watkins

Jane G. Watkins to give keynote at RCC Commencement

Jane G. Watkins, former CEO and president of Virginia Credit Union, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Class of 2017.

Jane G. Watkins, former CEO and president of Virginia Credit Union, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Class of 2017.

Rappahannock Community College will hold its 45th annual Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12 at the Warsaw Campus. Among the speakers who will address the graduates will be the former president and chief executive officer of Virginia Credit Union, Jane G. Watkins. Ms. Watkins will serve as the keynote speaker for the Class of 2017.

Watkins continues to make a difference in Virginians’ lives through her service to numerous institutions across the state. Watkins was President and CEO of Virginia Credit Union for the last 16 years of her 34-year career there, where she enabled remarkable growth and expansion of services to its members.

At her retirement in 2016, Watkins had presided over a doubling of membership to 250,000, as well as a quadrupling of assets to $3 billion. Technology advancements and financial service enhancements became hallmarks at Virginia Credit Union during this time.

Watkins became a champion for financial education at Virginia Credit Union and in the community. Because of her vision for helping people gain greater confidence in their ability to manage money, Watkins set up a series of school presentations, workshops, and seminars that have reached nearly 70,000 individuals since 2007.  She has served on the Virginia Council of Economic Education Board, Advisory Board for Teacher Education and Licensure for the Virginia Department of Education, and Virginia Credit Union League Financial Literacy Task Force.  Also, she speaks regularly to university schools of business and serves on national, statewide, and local business and charitable boards.  Her expertise is utilized in her roles as a board member to the VCU Investment Management Company, Bon Secours Richmond Health Systems, various private foundations, and The Community Foundation of Richmond and Central Virginia.

A Virginia CPA since 1977, Watkins has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She has received numerous honors for her professional and community service, which include YWCA of Richmond Outstanding Woman in Business in 2009; Virginia Career and Technical Education Hall of Fame in 2013; Virginia Council on Economic Education, J. Curtis Hall Award in 2011; VCU School of Business 2013 Alumni Star; and Executive in Residence, Longwood University, College of Business and Economics in 2006.

A warm and active person, Watkins lives in Chesterfield County with her husband and two sons.  She spends much time in Essex County, where she boats and kayaks with her family.  She also likes to read, needlepoint, and play the piano.