Chinese dissident to speak at PDCCC

Published 8:42 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2011

By Patsy Joyner

Special activities and opportunities continue this semester at Paul D. Camp Community College. Following are three examples.

Special visitor

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On Feb. 1, PDCCC students and staff will have the opportunity to hear a presentation by Dr. Sasha Gong, a member of the State Board for Community Colleges, who will talk about her life experiences.

A native of Beijing, China, Dr. Gong spent much of her youth working in hard-labor jobs, the result of her family being labeled enemies of the state by the communist Chinese government. After publishing an article about democracy, she spent a year in a Chinese prison. She later studied history at Peking University before coming to America to study sociology at Harvard University.

Her unique background includes teaching at the University of California and George Mason University; serving as director of the Cantonese Department at Radio Free Asia and senior program officer for the AFL-CIO; and authoring “Born American,” a book about her life, which was published by Nimble Books. The event will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Technology Theater at PDCCC’s Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin, 100 N. College Drive.

Super Saturday sessions

On Feb. 5, Super Saturday sessions will be held simultaneously from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus and the Workforce Development Center on the Franklin Campus. Offered free of charge, each session will feature one-on-one assistance on completing the FAFSA; financial aid workshops; and registration to win a $100 book scholarship.

Designed for college-bound and returning students and parents, Super Saturday is open to the general public. Students and parents must bring identification information, W-2 Forms and tax return documents to Super Saturday in order to complete the FAFSA. For a complete list of materials and sites, visit

Fun-filled in-service meeting

Faculty and staff enjoyed a college-wide in-service meeting last week at the Regional Workforce Development Center on the Franklin Campus. Led by President Paul Conco, the four-hour fun-filled activity featured engaging presentations.

In addition to Dr. Conco’s moving remarks about the mission of the community college and how Paul D. Camp is making a positive difference in the lives of others, David Urso, motivational speaker and director of development for Lord Fairfax Community College, delivered a humorous presentation on customer service, which was followed by line dancing lessons taught by Renee Felts, associate professor, Information Systems Technology.

In addition, Dr. Silas Christian, department head at Virginia State University, spoke on “How Students Learn and How We Can all Help”; Mike Forrest, associate professor, Electricity/Electrical, demonstrated Smartboard applications; and Eric Shaffer, safety and security officer at PDCCC, provided helpful tips on safety issues.

For information on the broad range of opportunities available through PDCCC, visit