Kimber Brown

Kimber Brown and her Bright Future, thanks to Work, Will and RCC

Kimber Brown

Middlesex resident Kimber Brown is well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming a nurse, thanks to some help from RCC.

Kimber Brown’s life wasn’t always looking good. Before enrolling in the top-ranked Nursing Program in Virginia here at Rappahannock Community College, she learned a bunch of life lessons which created in her a resolve to reach hew new life goals.

“I am a 9th-grade dropout,” she admits.

“I thought a dead-end job was more important than my education and I was incredibly wrong.”

Eight years and two children later, she says, “I knew something in my life needed to change, and I wanted to better myself for my children’s sake. With that decision, I sought out to receive my General Education Diploma (GED) at RCC.”

The efforts of this Middlesex County resident certainly paid off as she received her GED in 2017 and began looking toward the future.

“I was ready to take the next step and pursue my dream career as a registered nurse.”

Though she’d reached success with her GED, life wasn’t lending any relief to Brown. Between financial stress, family struggle and loss, and emotional strain, she has had her fair share of angst in tackling her goals.

RCC came like a miracle to her, and soon she found help through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Employment Advancement Program.

“Through this program I have been able to accomplish many things, such as receive my GED, complete the work readiness training, customer service certification, resume and cover letter building, and the Certified Nursing Assistant course.”

Along with help from TANF, Brown has pushed along in her education with assistance from financial aid, state grants, and encouragement from the Office of Career and Transition Services, Power-Up Program, and RCC’s Workforce department.

“I do not know what I would have done without them,” she says of her instructors and RCC staff. “They helped me with any and everything they could, [even] child care.”

Thanks to her diligent and persistent work in her educational pursuits, she says, “I enrolled myself in the pre-nursing program where I manage my 4.0 GPA and will apply to the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program next spring.”

Now an A student in the Nursing Program, she shows gratitude for what RCC has done for her.

“Because of the guidance of caring and motivating people, I have been able to accomplish so much. They have encouraged me and supported me throughout my journey and continue to do so.”

While she hasn’t finished her goals yet, she’s proud of how far she’s come. “It is most definitely hard work, [but now] my children have a positive role model to look up to. They’re proud to tell people I’m going to be a nurse, and that is the best feeling in the world.”

The future looks bright to Brown, as she sets her goals to “settle down at an OBGYN office … as an obstetric nurse.” Thanks to the emotional and financial support she’s found through RCC and her instructors, she’s made bounds from where she was at 14-years-old.

“This has been an amazing journey, and I am so grateful that I get to experience this and to have such wonderful and caring people helping me through to be successful and reach my goals. I strongly feel that if I can accomplish so much with all the hardships that I’ve faced … then anyone can do it.”

Now she stands as a pillar of encouragement, pushing new students on.

“I would highly recommend this program to anyone that wants to better themselves and have a brighter future ahead of them. The only thing holding you back is you!” — Mary Ashley Wood

RCC Press Release icon

Over $400,000 in Scholarships Available to RCC Students

Over $400,000 in scholarships are available to students who will be enrolled at Rappahannock Community College in the next academic year (2018-19). Deadline to apply is February 16, 2018. Scholarships are available to full-time and part-time students. Applicants complete one scholarship application form, which puts them in the running for over 100 awards.

The average scholarship is $1,500, which is significant considering that the full-time tuition at RCC per year is $4,500.

“Our goal is to assist as many people in our service region as possible to make higher education at RCC affordable,” says Sarah Pope, Executive Director of the RCC Educational Foundation. The RCC service region includes the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King & Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland.

For more information on the RCC scholarship application and to access the online application, go to or call 804-333-6708.


EMS program earns accreditation and 100% pass on national exams


RCC’s Emergency Medical Services program has achieved National Accreditation.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program at Rappahannock Community College (RCC) reached several milestones this year. The college’s Paramedic program has been recognized with national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) following recommendation by the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAMPS).

In an interview with Ellen Vest, the EMS Program Head, we learn what this means to the faculty, college, and students.

“The accreditation reflects a national standard of excellence,” says Vest. “We had stiff criteria that had to be met, and accreditation site visitors reviewed the previous two years of paramedic students while evaluating the program.” While the program’s EMT, Advanced EMT and Intermediate levels were originally accredited by the Virginia office of EMS, the program is now accredited at a national level.

Another accomplishment the program boasts of this year is their 100% pass rate of students for the National Registry Paramedic Exam over the last year.

According to Dr. Charles Smith, Dean of Health Sciences at RCC, this achievement is testament to the careful and expert instruction by faculty, clear adherence to the accrediting guidelines, as well as outstanding knowledge and skills demonstrated by the graduates.

Vest, the EMS instructional staff and the RCC administrative team are proud of the students and believe that this success reflects upon their shared vision for excellence in EMS education. “Our program provides everything that a student needs to be successful. Critical thinking is a part of the education, beginning with our entry-level EMT classes,” says Vest.

“Our EMS graduates at all levels of service provision provide critical skills for the citizens of our service area,” says Smith.

Vest further states that the need for EMS providers continues to grow and RCC is responding to that challenge. Any prospective student or community member is welcome to come and visit to see what we offer. — Mary Ashley Cline

Chef Hatley Bright

Come cook with us at RCC’s new Culinary Arts Lab at Glenns

Chef Hatley Bright

Chef Hatley Bright stands in her new Culinary Arts Lab, the only one of its kind in the area.

After a much-anticipated two-year preparation, Rappahannock Community College is pleased to announce the completion of their Glenns Campus’ new culinary arts lab this February. Heading up the whole process is Chef Hatley Bright, instructor for the college’s Culinary Arts program.

“This project started getting talked about 4 ½ years ago, and it’s been in the planning stages ever since,” she talks of the buildup to this moment. “I started ordering equipment back in July of 2015, so I’ve had equipment here for 18 months … [and] I’m unboxing things now.”

Though the kitchen may be open for classes, final touches and details are still being put in place.

“We’re still cleaning things and taking little things out of boxes and things like that, but we’ll turn on the ovens and start cooking next week,” says Bright.

As for reactions to the new lab, “I’ve already doubled the size of my program, just in January, which is kind of exciting. It’s all brand-new equipment; it’s all shiny, clean. It’s a great opportunity to see how this equipment works.”

For new and returning students, Bright says, “I’ve got just about everything that they would find in a professional kitchen, so they’re going to have first-hand knowledge of how to operate this.”

Bright’s personal favorite of her shining and new equipment?

“[Of what] I have now, the demonstration table’s cool because it will expand the ability of the number of people that can see what I’m doing,” she says.

While the lab is fresh out of the box and most haven’t had the chance to see it yet, Bright says she’s already had inquiries from local businesses about her students.

“Some of my students who are working in the industry, their bosses have been like, ‘Well, give [Hatley] my card, we’re going to need people for the summer.’ It’s starting to slowly get out.”

One person could never have finished this project. Bright praises the faculty and staff who assisted with the task. “[RCC President] Dr. Crowther for pushing this forward, [RCC V.P. of Finance] Bill Doyle for making it actually happen,” she says, listing those she’s grateful for.

“The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) has been very helpful and they helped me get the money almost two years ago to buy all this great equipment that I have.”

She goes on, saying, “Richard Lewter and his facilities staff have been awesome helping me check-in [and store] equipment … since I wasn’t on [Glenns] campus a lot. It’s been a very broad spectrum of people making this happen. Obviously, all the staff has been really helpful with helping me move things around.”

She is anticipating adding a new Career Studies Certificate in Baking very soon and will begin new classes soon for the Rappahannock Institute of Lifelong Learning (RILL) program in her lab.

Although the Spring 2018 semester has started, Bright encourages those interested to enroll.

“Students could still enroll up until next week for this semester … since it’s a 12-week schedule.” Looking to the future, “Next semester we’re going to try to offer more of the classes for those who have started the program.”

With her gleaming new culinary lab and increased in enrolled students, Bright may be beginning the semester late, but hopeful. “It’s a new program; it’s going to continue to change and try to meet the needs of what the business community needs so that we can train people to go out and get work.”

Students still have time to enroll for classes in the Culinary Arts Program. The last day to add is February 15. — Mary Ashley Wood

Dr. Lekh Adhikari

Meet the Chemistry Professor from Nepal — RCC’s Dr. Lekh Adhikari

Dr. Lekh Adhikari

Chemistry professor Dr. Lekh Adhikari is a favorite of students at Rappahannock Community College.

For anyone, going to college can be a unique and sometimes overwhelming experience. Dealing with classes, professors, deadlines, as well as any of life’s other stresses can play its toll on that experience. Going to teach at a college can be a nerve-wracking experience in itself as well, especially when that College is in a different country.

This has been the life of the newest chemistry professor at Rappahannock Community College, Dr. Lekh Adhikari. A native of Nepal, Lekh grew up in a small village in Arghakhanchi district, moved to a nearby city for his higher education, then moved to a capital city to finish his master’s degree.

“I wanted to do some research … so I was applying for grad schools here in the United States,” he says. “I got acceptance from some schools, and I chose one of those, which was University of Nevada, Reno.”

After finishing his Ph.D. at the university, because of the opportunities, he chose to stay in the country. Soon he found jobs teaching at Reno’s community college, Truckee Meadows, as well as the University of Nevada where he graduated.

Eventually, Lekh found his way to RCC, where he now teaches Chemistry at the Warsaw Campus.

“It’s a huge change for me in so many ways,” he says of the differences between RCC and the other schools he taught at.

“I was teaching traditional college students at a land-grant university which had a large student population. There would be around 300 students in a class, and my office would be packed during the office hours because the students are out there all the time.”

In contrast to the other colleges, he says, “Demographics of the students is so different here [at RCC] … [they are] mostly returning students.”

In Nepal, the standard educational path ended when the student started work after college. “Until I started teaching the community college,” he says, “I was not that aware of that mixed group of people that are in the college. Normally people do not want to go back to college in their 30s or 40s [in Nepal].”

When he arrived at the College, Lekh was at first aware of another faculty member from Nepal at RCC.

“I contacted [accounting professor Pradeep Ghimire], even before coming to my first day here,” he says. “We did know some people in common, Nepal isn’t that big … there are some relations.”

And speaking of relations, Adhikari and his wife, Anu, welcomed a baby girl to their family. “I am very blessed to have a daughter in our family,” says Adhikari.

“I always want to be a responsible citizen of a community and am committed to contributing my share to the societies that I am associated with,” says Lekh. — Mary Ashley Wood

RCC Press Release icon

RCC & Richmond County Library to host Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The RCC/Richmond County Public Library is hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Warsaw campus on Saturday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Easter Bunny make an appearance and the library staff will give away free children’s books, courtesy of the Friends of the Library group.

Afterward, guests will enjoy hot dogs and snacks in the student lounge and then having a program with magician/juggler Jonathan Austin in the Lecture Hall starting at Noon.

The event is free and open to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the RCC/Richmond County Public Library. Contact Ruth Lynn at the library for more information at 804-333-6713.

About Rappahannock Community College

Rappahannock Community College, established in 1970, 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, 2016 and 2017, RCC is home to multiple associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as robust and varied Workforce offerings. Learn more

RCC Press Release icon

RCC to host Multiple Community Events at King George Site

Rappahannock Community College will be hosting multiple community events at our King George Site, located inside King George High School (10100 Foxes Way). Faculty and staff will be on hand at each event to answer questions about RCC in King George, as well as our other locations and online.

First, on February 7, RCC host a Financial Aid/ Scholarship Information Workshop starting at 4 p.m. Our RCC Financial Aid Coordinator Sherika Charity will be at the event to share her expertise and give hands-on assistance to any students with inquiries and interest, as well as assistance with FAFSA applications. Parents are encouraged to attend.

Next, RCC will be represented at the Annual Home Craft Show.  Please stop by our table to learn about RCC offerings at our King George Site. KG Builders Association will host the 28th Annual Home Craft Show on March 3 starting at 9 a.m. and March 4 at 11 a.m. This event will have exhibitors such as arts and crafts, homebuilders, contractors, and food vendors in attendance. Admission is free.

Finally, a Health, Fitness, and Safety Awareness Day will be held on March 21 starting at 5 p.m. The evening will consist of fitness demonstrations and safety tips as well as many representatives in attendance. Juice Plus, Perfectly Posh, Sugati Energy Center, King George YMCA, along with many others will have booths at this event. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about these events please contact Angela Steele-Sample by emailing her at

RCC Press Release icon

RCC, Lifelong Learning and VIMS to Present Bay Restoration Course

Anyone interested in protecting our Chesapeake Bay will want to attend “Chesapeake Bay Restoration Efforts” from the Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation’s Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning (RILL) and the Virginia Institute for Marine Science (VIMS). Because of the complexity and importance of the subject, it will be divided into four sessions instead of the usual three: March 7, 14, 21, and 28 (Wednesdays), from 1 to 3 p.m. at the VIMS facility in Gloucester Point.

This course will highlight research conducted at VIMS that is helping to restore sharks, mollusks, and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay. In the first session, Dr. Robert Orth will talk about the regrowth of underwater grasses in the Bay, which has made possible efforts to restore the population of bay scallops. During the second session, Dr. Stan Allen will discuss improving the economics of oyster harvesting through aquaculture, as well as the possibility and the difficulties of restoring oysters in the wild. The third session will focus on the status of shark populations in the mid-Atlantic. Dr. Robert Latour will give an overview of the Virginia Shark Monitoring and Assessment Program and will present recent findings that suggest several shark species in the Atlantic are showing signs of recovery. Each of these sessions will be followed by a discussion period with the presenting scientist. In the fourth and final session, participants will tour the Institute to get an inside look at its laboratories and the restoration efforts taking place there.

Dr. Stan Allen holds the degrees of bachelor of science from Franklin and Marshall College and master of science from the University of Maine, and a doctorate from the University of Washington. He is the director of the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center at VIMS, which houses the largest breeding program for oysters in the United States. Dr. Robert Orth holds the degrees of bachelor of arts from Rutgers University, master of science in marine biology from the University of Virginia, and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the ecology and restoration of seagrasses, and he directs the largest and most successful seagrass restoration project in the world. Dr. Robert Latour holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Western New England College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in biomathematics from North Carolina State University. His research focuses on quantitative fisheries ecology and stock assessment. He oversees several large monitoring and assessment surveys of fisheries, including the longest-running study of shark populations in the world.


Advance registration, with a tuition payment of $45, is required to take this course. For more information on “Chesapeake Bay Restoration Efforts” 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


The Educational Foundation expresses sincere appreciation to Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury and to Virginia Commonwealth Bank’s Golden Advantage program for their generous support of RILL in 2018.