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Camp workforce leader earns Ph.D.

Angela Lawhorne’s son has never known his mom when she wasn’t a student.

“I have been in school ever since he was an infant,” said the Paul D. Camp Community College director of workforce development, “and he’s now 14.”

Lawhorne has recently been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in community college leadership from Old Dominion University.

“Throughout college, I’ve seen careers that I wanted that required a higher degree and more experience,” she explained about her decision to continue her studies. “I wanted to eliminate all barriers to those opportunities to which I aspire.”

The director squeezed in time in the evenings and on Sundays to complete her degree. Her husband of more than 20 years, Tommy, would have a day out with their son on Sundays to allow her time to spend on her coursework.

“I have always worked full time while in school, but found I have a wonderful support system from my family,” she said.

Lawhorne previously launched the Career Development Center at Camp and coached students for three years before going to work for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) office in Richmond.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at VCCS, but I missed working directly with students and employers,” she said.

In 2017, she accepted the director of workforce development position at Camp. Under her leadership, the college has seen 16 new programs launched, funding secured for new initiatives and the grand opening of the Regional Warehouse and Distribution Training Facility.

She was recognized for these accomplishments by the VCCS Chancellor at the annual Hire Ed Conference, where he presented her with the 2018 Award for Outstanding Achievement by a College Staff Member. In addition, she coordinated the acquisition of a new mobile welding lab that will allow the classroom to go to the students.

Lawhorne is a disabled veteran who served four years in the U.S. Air Force as a dietitian assistant in the branch’s largest medical center. She was stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management and Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. However, this will not be the last academic venture upon which she embarks.

“The more you learn, the more you earn,” she said. “I’ve got the education bug and my next goal is to earn the Project Management Professional Certification.”

Lawhorne gave a shout out to Dr. Renee Felts, who has served as her supervisor twice during her time at Camp.

“She is my mentor and biggest cheerleader,” Lawhorne said. “She has always encouraged and supported me.”

In addition to her husband and son, her mother, Betty Grant, has also lent Lawhorne tremendous support, as well as her cohort colleague, Julie Marlatt.

“She was my study buddy and so supportive throughout the program,” Lawhorne said. “I can’t wait until she is Dr. Marlatt.”