WINTERVILLE, NC — Pitt Community College’s new group of Student Ambassadors met for the first time on June 17 to begin preparations for their duties in the 2022-23 academic year.
The nine-member group includes four returnees and five newcomers who will help PCC staff recruit and assist at college-related events and PCC Foundation fundraisers. Students, who receive full-time scholarships from the foundation, must also complete weekly service hours on campus and maintain at least a 3.2 GPA.
This month’s meeting was held at the Brook Valley Country Club in Greenville and gave the Ambassadors the opportunity to meet and introduce themselves to PCC Trustees and Foundation Board members.
“We have a diverse group of Ambassadors in terms of interests and talents, but all are academically gifted and highly motivated,” said Kim Simpkins, CCP Scholarship Coordinator, Ambassador Program Advisor.
Whitley Anderson, Sarah Cooke, Yamileth Espino and Krystan Simpson are back for another year as ambassadors. Cooke and Simpson are preparing for their third year with the program, while Anderson and Espino are entering their second.
Anderson, who has taken classes at PCC since she was a student at South Central High School, is preparing for a nursing career through the Regionally Augmentant Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program. As a participant in RIBN, she will earn an associate degree in nursing at Pitt before moving on to Eastern Carolina University for a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Cooke, recipient of the 2022 PCC Academic Excellence Award, is pursuing an associate’s degree in biotechnology. She was recently accepted into the Mayne Pharma Scholars program, which includes a scholarship, a paid internship, and an opportunity to work for the pharmaceutical company after graduation.
“As a CCP Student Ambassador, I have truly learned that there are no limits to what I can accomplish,” Cooke said. “I struggled last year, but my fellow Ambassadors and Program Advisors have been supportive, encouraging me and reassuring me that I am more than capable of succeeding no matter what obstacle is in front of me. .”
Espino is about to complete the PCC’s college transfer program in pursuit of a career in medical social work. She says she appreciated the opportunities she had at Pitt to help Spanish-speaking students and credits the Ambassador Program with helping her step out of her comfort zone and grow personally.
“…This program has taught me that my opinion matters and that I have to present my ideas,” Espino said. “While it might not seem like a big deal to others, it is for me, because I learned a soft skill that allows me to be comfortable with my peers and mentors, and I’m even more comfortable when I meet new people.”
Also a recipient of the 2022 PCC Academic Excellence Award, Simpson is seeking a two-year degree in radiography to become a certified radiation therapist or dosimetrist. She says she chose to attend CCP to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Tiffany, who graduated from college as a nurse.
Simpson noted that she enjoys supporting her fellow ambassadors, participating in college events and performing campus service hours.
“Over the past two years, serving as an ambassador has improved my time management skills and allowed me to learn how to speak and communicate more effectively,” she said. “…Being a leader in the CCP has challenged me to do things I wouldn’t usually do, so that I can help and encourage others.”
The five new CCP ambassadors are Victoria Blount, Chelsea Jolly, Abigail Keesler, Alacin Lozner and Jarius Washington.
Originally from Camden, Blount is set to graduate with a paralegal technology degree in May 2023. She has been on the Dean’s List twice at Pitt, is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and has been nominated for the Phi Theta Kappa enthronement. She says her goal is to get a Juris Doctor and practice criminal law.
Jolly was valedictorian of her class of 2022 at Ayden-Grifton High School. Having taken courses at PCC as a high school student, she is already familiar with the college and says her goal is to complete the college transfer program before moving on to a four-year institution for a Bachelor of Commerce.
Keesler, a graduate of Christ Covenant School, is also taking college transfer classes. The Winterville resident says she wants to study special education to one day “teach or care for” children with special needs.
“I want to teach every child that they are beautiful the way they are, not inferior just because certain things are harder for them,” Keesler said.
Like Anderson, Lozner is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing through the RIBN program. For now, the 2022 DH Conley graduate is enrolled in the General Education Associate Program, working to fulfill the entry requirements for the PCC Nursing Associate Program. Her goal is to become an acute pediatric nurse practitioner working in the hematology/oncology department of a hospital.
Washington is enrolled in simulation and game development courses at PCC and is on track to graduate from the program next spring. He says he plans to continue his education at a four-year college or university in order to one day use his artistic and creative abilities to create games for a large corporation or run his own game-making business.
Launched in 1992, the PCC Student Ambassador program is highly competitive. Students must apply to join, and those selected to join receive professional attire to wear at official college events in addition to scholarships that cover tuition and in-state fees.
Simpkins says the 2022-23 group of ambassadors will meet again in August for three days of leadership training that will include communication and public speaking tips, team-building exercises, project planning community service and meetings with CCP administrators.