Gustavo Ochoa

gustavo ochoaWhile attending Richmond County’s Rappahannock High School, Gustavo Ochoa took advantage of the Rappahannock Community College (RCC) dual enrollment program that allows high school students to take college-level courses and earn college credits. 

Gustavo’s passion for engineering was ignited while studying under RCC pre-engineering professor Tom Danaher. “I’ve learned a lot from Professor Danaher, in particular his own experiences such as working with nuclear reactors,” he said.

The Right Chemistry for Engineering

He credits RCC professors Dr. Tom Mosca and Lekh Adhikari for instilling interest and knowledge in calculus and chemistry, which he feels will help him as he continues his studies in engineering. “I’ve always liked anything engineering – especially if it has to do with cars,” he adds.

Virginia Tech-bound

Gustavo was accepted into Virginia Tech’s highly competitive mechanical engineering program and will head to Blacksburg this fall.  He is the first in his family to attend college and he said he is ready. “Virginia Tech was my only choice because it’s the best,” commented Gustavo. “I started at RCC because money was tight and I could get a jump on credits right here at home.”

After he graduates from college, Gustavo hopes to work in engineering in “a small city, but maybe not as small as Warsaw!” or to join the United States Navy.

When asked what advice he would give to students considering RCC, Gustavo replied, “People get intimidated by college, but if they stay focused at what they do and not look at other programs, it isn’t all that intimidating. Learn to focus and you can get through it.”

food service training

ServSafe – July 27, 2020

food service training


𝗔 𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗙𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝘁 𝗥𝗖𝗖
ServSafe is an industry recognized program for food service workers.

You will learn about basic food safety, personal hygiene, cross contamination, allergens, time, temperature, cleaning, sanitation and more.

This course includes the book and testing for the Food Protection Manager Certification.

Monday, July 27, 2020
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
RCC’s Kilmarnock site



caela gilsinan

Research Papers Win RCC Awards – Spring 2020

Rappahannock Community College’s Library Coordinator, Dan Ream, has announced the winners of the College’s Spring 2020 RCC Student Research Paper Awards.

The purpose of this competition is to recognize excellent writing and research in student papers counting toward RCC credit courses during each semester. All entries were evaluated with students’ and teachers’ names removed before review by the judges.

caela gilsinan

Caela Gilsinan

Out of 22 papers submitted, the first prize went to “Can Oyster Aquaculture Provide High Quality Habitat in the Chesapeake Bay?” by Caela Gilsinan of Gloucester, who will receive a first prize award of $200. This paper was written for Professor Sara Beam’s Marine Science 102 class in the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School. In addition to Ms. Gilsinan’s $200 award, Professor Beam will receive a $50 honorarium.

Annabelle Brame of New Kent, earned second prize for her paper, “The Sustainability and Environmental Impact of the Fashion Industry,” written for Professor Sara Beam’s Marine Science 102 class in the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School. Ms. Brame’s award will be $100, and Professor Beam will receive an additional $50 honorarium.

Both papers are published at as well as in an online collection of the Virginia Community College System’s best statewide student writing at

annabelle brame

Annabell Brame

All papers submitted were judged by a panel consisting of three faculty and administrators according to the quality of library and Internet sources cited (including journal articles, books, or web resources), as well as the overall quality of writing and presentation. The cash awards are funded through the RCC Educational Foundation, Inc.


RCC Student Research Paper Awards, Spring 2020

First Place winner, Caela Gilsinan of Gloucester for

 “Can Oyster Aquaculture Provide High Quality Habitat in the Chesapeake Bay?”


RCC Student Research Paper Awards, Spring 2020

Second Place winner, Annabelle Brame of New Kent for

“The Sustainability and Environmental Impact of the Fashion Industry”

Robin Mae Schick

robin mae schickRobin Mae Schick has a long list of academic, professional and personal accomplishments and titles. Rappahannock Community College alumna is among those achievements. As an eighth-grader at a very small school, Schick turned to RCC to supplement her education.

“My very first [RCC] class was keyboarding … I sat down next to a 40ish-year-old construction contractor. I remember doing word count races with him as we learned to type the ‘right’ way together,” says Schick. “I helped the grandmother sitting in front of me find the button to turn on her computer. The interaction and learning across generations left a lasting impact on me and an appreciation for sharing in education with a diverse group of people.” RCC’s flexible schedule, including night and online classes helped her fit in courses while working, playing sports, and going to high school.

Schick recalls one of her Physics professors worked as an engineer for the naval base at Dahlgren (King George County) and taught at RCC’s site at King George High School. “The professors were always excellent, the courses were substantial while not overly demanding, and the leg-up it gives anyone prior to moving on to another school or in their career is very valuable,” adds Schick.

Building Her Future

After high school and RCC, Schick transferred to the University of Virginia and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. She found the transfer process to be easy and all of her credits were accepted toward general or specific degree requirements. Earning credit for courses taken through RCC gave her more control over her schedule, including the opportunity to take fewer classes at UVa so she could focus on studio projects required for her Architecture degree or to take personal interest classes not related to her specific major. She graduated with honors from UVa.

Expanding on her architecture degree, Schick joined the Peace Corps and served in municipal government in Guatemala for two and a half years. There, she built a modern library, monitored election fraud, organized a rural village community council and managed a youth program at a local orphanage, in addition to working on other projects in development.

Colonial Beach, Virginia is Home

Schick returned to her hometown of Colonial Beach citing the village of support she received while growing up and her desire to give back. She runs her own architecture firm and helped the Town of Warsaw with its “Main Street” design. Schick served on the Colonial Beach Planning Commission, the Town Council and is the Vice Mayor. She is also running for Mayor and if elected would be the first female Mayor of Colonial Beach.

“I am thankful for the doors opened by RCC that helped me achieve my own independent goals,” said Schick. “The courses, trades skills, social networking, and support offered are invaluable to rural communities. The flexible class times allow you to be a student and still work, volunteer, have a family, or parallel it with other life commitments.” Schick’s passion for learning, small town living, and developing better communities is evident in everything she does.

Learn More at RCC

Find out more about RCC, dual enrollment, career study pathways, college degrees, transfer degrees and more by calling us in Warsaw, Virginia at 804-333-6730 or email