TCC introduces class of 20 for scholarship

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tidewater Community College’s third class of STEM Promise Program scholars aspire to be engineers, cyber security specialists, entrepreneurs and software developers.

The college introduced its new class of 20 scholarship recipients on May 19 in a ceremony at the Virginia Beach Campus. Doug Wilson, chief executive officer of Elizabeth River Crossings, presented a check for $60,000 of continued support for the program. That brings ERC’s total investment in the STEM Promise Program to $180,000 over three years.

“We are honored to be a part of this excellent and important program,” Wilson said. “We know firsthand the impact that STEM education has on the transportation industry, and how the demand for employees with STEM backgrounds continues to rise. For TCC to sponsor this homegrown source of talent for Hampton Roads speaks volumes for their commitment and vision. We’re proud to do our part by supporting these deserving students who are going to accomplish amazing things here at TCC and beyond.”

Email newsletter signup

The recipients will pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines at TCC and receive two years of free tuition and fees under the Women’s Center STEM Promise Program.

“We appreciate the continued generosity of ERC to help fund this program,” said Jeanne Natali, director of the Intercultural Learning and the Women’s Center at TCC. “The STEM Promise scholars are the embodiment of TCC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by identifying underrepresented students and supporting them as they prepare to enter the workforce in the STEM disciplines.”

The newest class, with members from all over Hampton Roads, was selected from a competitive pool of more than 100 applicants. Recipient Whitney Bivins recently completed a civil engineering internship in Germany. Sophia Delos Santos is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines who graduated high school at age 15. Kyla Stewart was the first freshman to be admitted to an introductory engineering class at Tallwood High School. TCC alumna Kellie Burchfield, a senior engineering technician for the city of Suffolk, is returning to college to pursue her own engineering degree.

The Women’s Center at TCC started the scholarship three years ago to boost the number of degrees in the STEM fields and to create a larger, more diverse STEM pipeline in Hampton Roads. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply for the scholarship, which is open to all.

Applicants must meet requirements that include a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, eligibility for in-state tuition and immediate placement into College Composition and College Algebra. Recipients must be willing to enroll as full-time students in the following associate degree programs: engineering, computer science, civil engineering technology, electronics technology, information systems technology or mechanical engineering technology.

STEM scholars benefit from smaller class sizes and specialized support, including mentoring from the Women’s Center. Earlier this month, five graduates from the inaugural cohort of 10 students graduated with associate degrees. Four will transfer to Old Dominion University, and the other is bound for Virginia Tech. Another from that class will graduate this summer and transfer to ODU’s honors college.