April Wobken

Meet a member of the RCC Class of 2017 — April Wobken

April Wobken

Meet a member of the RCC Class of 2017 — April Wobken.

Some people start their post-high school career with a path set in stone. Each step of the route is carefully measured and planned out. But for others, there is a bit of growing that is involved in their path, and the steps are taken more carefully.

A recent graduate of Rappahannock Community College, April Wobken, is part of the second category of college student. After she graduated from Gloucester High School in 2013, she thought she would start down the same path as many of her peers. She applied to a four-year school but was not accepted. This first alteration of the “normal” path through college started April on the path to RCC, and eventually to the University of Mary Washington.

“Originally I wanted to go to Christopher Newport University right out of high school, but they did not take me because of my math,” says April. “I was discouraged from that experience.”

After the letter from CNU, April decided to try working for a while. Her thought was that perhaps she did not need more schooling and that she’d rather make money instead. She spent time working at GameStop and Cook Out, served as a lifeguard and taught yoga as well.

“While I was working, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t care about money! I want something better than this’,” says April.

It was her parents who recommended that April try out RCC. This turned out to be a smart decision for her since she always felt like weakness in math was what kept her from entering CNU. She started and then stopped again, and restarted at RCC in Spring 2016, and was able to work through all of her math classes, thanks to helping from RCC math professor Therese Johnson.

“Prof. Johnson was so very nice to me,” says April. “My other developmental math teachers did pretty well too, but Prof. Johnson took the extra mile. She was so encouraging and would get excited for her students. I love that sort of teacher.

“Thanks to her, I got through developmental math,” says April. “And even after that, with Algebra and statistics, I would go to her, and she still helped me, even though I wasn’t her student. I appreciated her because math is my worst subject.”

With the help of Therese Johnson, and another Prof. Johnson — Lori Johnson — an English professor at the RCC New Kent Site, April was quickly racing toward her goal of earning an Associate of Arts and Sciences Transfer Degree.

During all of this, April became a part of the Student Ambassador team, who work events for the College, attend events and represent RCC in public and assist new students as they start orientation.

“When I first got the student ambassador job, I had a lot of jobs, so I was like ‘I don’t care if I get this.’ I got called in, and I thought that it was not a big deal if I get this. And then I got it,” says April. “And it took a while to settle in and I though, ‘I am so glad that I got this job.’ This job and yoga were the only jobs that I haven’t gotten tired of.”

Though her time as a Student Ambassador was a working position, she found that this post made her feel closer to RCC in general.

“I liked having a leadership role,” says April. “Sometimes even when I was off the clock and in class, a student would come into the wrong classroom, and others would say that I was a student ambassador and that I can help. Being looked at as someone who can help people and point them in the right direction, I like.”

In May of 2017, April earned her degree from RCC and will transfer to Mary Washington this Fall. She intends to double-major in English and psychology, which she hopes will allow her to create stories and books that will be both exciting and therapeutic.

“I have found that in tough times if you can find a really exciting story, that can bring excitement to your life,” says April. “But I like psychology too; I feel like I understand it. It would make my writing better too.”

Before she leaves Gloucester for Mary Washington, April is planning one last pit stop on her path. She’s organizing an AIDS charity event, which combines her love for yoga and her favorite musician, the late Freddie Mercury of Queen.

Her “Yoga for Freddie” event will take place at the Gloucester Yoga Studio on August 6 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and will benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust, which fundraises for AIDS awareness and research worldwide. All are invited to attend.

Reflecting upon how things have changed for her since 2011, April has a soft spot in her heart for RCC and has become sort of a champion for the community college experience in general.

“I think RCC is a great option,” says April. You can’t mess it up. With a four-year school, there is so much more expectation and pressure. But with a community college, you can still live your life and figure things out. It’s best to keep things that way so you can figure things out.

“Here you can do that, and there are a lot of faculty who are very helpful,” says April. “When people talk to me, and they tell me that they are graduating from high school, I say that I know that four-year colleges look good, but I think you should look into a community college.

“It’s not as flashy from the outside, but once you get in — it’s really cool.”

RCC Press Release icon

Adult Enrichment Class Examines the Role of Religion in 17th Century Virginia

To conclude its Summer 2017 offerings, the Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation’s Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning (RILL) will present “The Church in Seventeenth-Century Virginia,” on Tuesday, August 22, Thursday, August 24, and Tuesday, August 29, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Warsaw Campus of Rappahannock Community College, Room 203. The instructor will be the Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Agnew.

This course will examine the role of religion in seventeenth-century Virginia, centering on the discussion of Edward L. Bond’s work, “Damned Souls in A Tobacco Colony.” Between 1607, when Robert Hunt, chaplain of the Jamestown colony, celebrated the first Eucharist, and 1689 when James Blair was appointed to head the church in Virginia as “commissary,” great changes occurred in the religious experience of both England and Virginia. To supplement Bond’s study, these changes on both sides of the Atlantic will be considered, as will some specific personalities, parishes, and incidents.

The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Agnew completed a Ph.D. in history in 1979. He has taught history at both secondary and collegiate levels, most recently as adjunct faculty at the Virginia Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as manuscript librarian of the Historical Society of Delaware and as registrar and archivist of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, he is the immediate past president of National Episcopal Historians and Archivists and serves on the board of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church. He has served St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Nomini Grove, Westmoreland County, since Easter 2002.

Advance registration, with a tuition payment of $35, is required to take this course. For more information on “The Church in Seventeenth-Century Virginia” 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.

Great College to Work For

RCC named a “Great College to Work For” Three Consecutive Years

Great College to Work For

For the third consecutive year, Rappahannock Community College has been honored as a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Rappahannock Community College is a great college to work for in 2017, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top trade publication for colleges and universities. This marks the third time in as many years that RCC has been recognized with this honor.

The results, released today in The Chronicle’s tenth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of colleges and universities.

This year, like 2016, RCC had the added honor of earning the Honor Roll distinction, which means the College “stands out” in our size categories.

Also, RCC was recognized for the following achievements:

  • Collaborative Governance — Faculty members are appropriately involved in decisions related to academic programs.
  • Compensation & Benefits — Pay is fair, and benefits meet the needs of employees.
  • Job Satisfaction and Support — Provides insight into the satisfaction with job fit, autonomy, and resources.
  • Professional/Career-Development Programs — Employees are given the opportunity to develop skills and understand requirements to advance in their careers.
  • Respect and Appreciation — Employees are regularly recognized for their contributions.
  • Teaching Environment — Faculty members say the institution recognizes innovative and high-quality teaching.

“For three consecutive years, RCC has been a recipient of this honor, and I could not be happier,” said Dr. Elizabeth Hinton Crowther, president of Rappahannock Community College. “This report and recognition show that our culture is among the very best in higher education, and it reflects our employees’ dedication to excellence for students.”

“Ten years in, the Great Colleges to Work For distinction is well-known by academic jobseekers as a sign that an institution’s employees are valued and given opportunities for growth even when they face financial constraints,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle. “Any college or university that’s on the list is showing that they emphasize one of their most valuable assets: their faculty and staff.”

Only a small percentage of the institutions that applied for the program achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition. Over 200 institutions participated in 2017, including 155 four-year institutions and 77 two-year institutions; just 79 institutions are recognized as a great college to work for, including 57 four-year institutions and 22 two-year institutions.

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

About The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education is dedicated to serving the higher-education community with insights, understanding, and intellectual engagement. Academic leaders and professionals from around the world trust The Chronicle’s analysis and in-depth exploration to make informed decisions.


Drs. Perry and Brent

RCC staff members, Brent and Perry, earn doctorates

Drs. Perry and Brent

Members of the Rappahannock Community College leadership team — Dr. Jason Perry of Middlesex and Dr. Matthew Brent of Lancaster.

Two familiar faces at Rappahannock Community College recently achieved a personal goal, which will allow them to better serve their students, but also will enhance the mission of the College in general.

Jason Perry, who serves as the Vice President of RCC’s Workforce Development department and Matthew Brent, a history faculty member, earned their doctorate degrees.

Perry studied at Virginia Tech and earned his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) with a specialization in career and technical education, while Brent studied at University of the Cumberland and earned his Ph.D. in leadership with a specialization in history.

Brent is planning to use his new degree in some ways, but one will benefit the College immediately. Due to the departure of one long-time staff member, Dr. Brent will serve as an acting academic dean for 2017-18.

Perry wrote his dissertation on Virginia’s Middle College program, which helps high school dropouts, age 18-24, finish up their GED in about a year and transition smoothly into college. Perry’s focus was on those who participate in the programs and factors of completion, community college success, and participant perceptions.

“We found that high school dropouts don’t typically get a second chance,” says Perry. “Once we brought them onto a college campus, it truly gave them the motivation to continue towards achieving success. It was interesting to see that information appear in the study.”

One of the focuses in Perry’s program was andragogy, or the method and practice of teaching adult learners, which fits perfectly in his role at the College.

Perry enjoyed the extensive amount of writing and reading his degree required, feeling like it helped him understand the topic far better, while Brent enjoyed reaching out to other students on Canvas collaborate and felt like the frequent meetings made it easier to achieve communication despite the online environment.

Both were elated to finish their programs, as were their family. Perry started the program in 1992 and took a break for ten years due to job and location change. He started back up six years ago. Brent was a first-generation college student and the first in his family to go to graduate school and beyond.

Brent is very excited for the future.

“It was a lot of work. It was not as difficult as I thought it would have been because a lot of what I was studying I was doing by working at the college,” says Brent.

“There were a lot of hands-on experiences that helped supplement what I was doing in the program, which made it so much more relevant,” he says. “I had thought about doing a Ph.D. in history but there are only three schools in Virginia that offer those, and you have to physically go there.”

RCC’s fall classes begin on August 28. — April Wobken

RCC Open Houses

Make plans to visit campus for upcoming Open House events

RCC Open Houses

RCC will host a series of Open Houses, in which the public is invited to visit our campuses and site. Faculty and staff will be on hand to help answer questions about our upcoming fall semester.

In preparation for the upcoming semester, the faculty and staff of Rappahannock Community College would like to invite the public to a series of Open Houses, where parents, students and potential students can learn about what RCC has to offer this Fall. Topics of the sessions will include:

While it may not be well known, attending RCC is among the best ways to save on tuition costs as one starts their college career. In fact, attending RCC for one year is just over $4,000, as compared to the average cost of a public university in Virginia, which is over $12,000 — not counting room and board.

Staff will be on-hand to show folks how to take advantage of this incredible cost-savings potential, as well as:

Open House locations, times and dates

Directions and more information are available at our website, www.rappahannock.edu. Our Fall semester, which is enrolling now, begins on August 28.

RCC Press Release icon

Illustrator Jamie Cosley to speak and teach at RCC/Richmond County Public Library

The RCC/Richmond County Public Library will host illustrator Jamie Cosley on Tuesday, July 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. Cosley’s appearance is a part of the Library’s ongoing “Summer Reading Tweens” activity series.

Cosley’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Star Wars Insider. Cosley has illustrated many children’s books and is the featured artist for Salinas Slugger Studios’ Priscilla series of comic books.

Cosley will demonstrate how to draw many popular characters, including those from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series, Star Wars and much more.

The event is free for those who have registered for the Summer Reading Tweens. Contact Ruth Lynn at 804-333-6713 for more information about the event and on how to register for the Library’s Tween series.

About Rappahannock Community College
Rappahannock Community College, established in 1971, is a part of the Virginia Community College System and serves Virginia’s Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best College to Work For” in 2015 and 2016, RCC is home to multiple associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as robust and varied Workforce offerings.

About Richmond County Public Library
Richmond County Public Library was established in 1993 by agreement between Richmond County and Rappahannock Community College as Virginia’s first joint-use college and public library. Located on the campus of Rappahannock Community College in Warsaw, Virginia, the Library promotes lifelong learning by providing resources and services that meet the informational, educational, and cultural interests of residents of all ages. All members of the general public are welcome.