Jessica Robertson photo    Jessica Robertson, CVCC Alumni, Graduated - Fall 2013

My story: After graduating from Amherst County High School, I had hoped to go to UVA. Unfortunately, I was not accepted, so I was determined to transfer in after two years. I decided to pursue my Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences at CVCC in order to utilize the guaranteed admissions agreement that Virginia Community Colleges have with Virginia public universities. My expectations of my time at CVCC were exceeded. CVCC not only became my first post-secondary experience, it became my home. During my first year at CVCC, I worked as a work-study student in the Financial Aid Office. My second year, I was offered to work part-time in the Financial Aid Office. Although challenging, the Financial Aid Office gave me the experience I needed in the workplace that put me ahead of my peers.

At the start of my second year of CVCC, I decided to get more involved in the community; so, I applied to be a student ambassador. I very much enjoyed my time as a student ambassador because it allowed me to get involved in community service, build experience in leadership, and make some really great friends along the way. The May of my second year at CVCC, I received an acceptance letter from the University of Virginia. My hard work had paid off. The following August I started my classes at UVA, having transferred in 64 credits from CVCC, my classes were for the major I had chosen, Psychology. My first semester was difficult. I had to adjust to larger class sizes, difficult tests, and feeling smaller than I had ever felt. However, I was able to adapt and build a new community at UVA. While going to school, I worked as a student fundraiser at the phonathon for UVA, shortly after, I became the Supervisor and Training Manager. My time at the phonathon allowed me to learn about the field of Institutional Advancement in post-secondary education. By my last semester of my fourth year, I began applying for jobs in Development at UVA. In March, I interviewed with the College of Arts & Sciences Development Office and was offered a position as a Leadership Annual Gift Officer. I accepted the offer and have been working there since June. I travel across the United States visiting the College’s alumni and getting them connected with volunteer and philanthropic opportunities at UVA.

Although my days are fully immersed in the land of Wahoo’s, I try to visit my family at CVCC every chance I get! A lyric that has really resonated with me, sung by Tim McGraw is “when you get where you’re going don’t forget to turn back around, and help the next one in line.” I welcome any contact from students at CVCC to help with mentoring, my email is jrobertson@virginia.edu.

 

Headshot of Layia   Layia Perry, CVCC Alumni, Graduated - Fall 2012

 

 

My story: I worked hard and became grounded in my career. I first started off as a Customer Service Representative then to manager in training. In three months became Center Manager and within six months to Area manager over 16 other centers within two years of my employment. I had pushed and shown upper management and my employer that I was able to perform my job and all duties related to the position that would set a pathway for advancement. I had the knowledge, the drive, the ambition and the experience to deliver although there was always one subject I tried to prevent or not include myself in with others and that was education. I was terrified to discuss this subject with others because I did not have mine. I was a high school dropout and had never obtained my GED. I figured I was safe as long as I worked hard and kept growing within the company. Until one day back in February of 2010, when my District Manager said my division was closing and all 16 centers were affected. I could not get another position at a similar pay because I did not have the education.

I thought to myself what am I going to do, I am 38 years old and I have to begin my career all the way at the beginning just because I don’t have any education. So in May of 2011, I went to the Campbell County Technical Center humbled myself and walked in feeling scared and afraid of the pre-test because it had been 20 years since I was in school. And I whispered to the instructor I would like to work on receiving my GED. She smiled and said okay let’s get started. That day changed my entire life, 20 days later, I had taken the test and passed I received my GED.

Receiving my GED opened the door for many new opportunities. I came to Central Virginia Community College one day in June of 2011 and never looked back. In August of 2011, I started my College education for the first time in my life I was a college student. I was prideful, excited, and overwhelmed with ideas and opportunities. I began my Associate’s Degree here and even had taken classes with my oldest son and his friends, “we were all on a mission”. In May of 2013, I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Education from Central Virginia Community College. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to all the people that had encouraged me and helped through here at CVCC on my journey.

While taking classes at CVCC, I applied to an Administrative Assist position in counseling/student services. I had found my place and my calling. Working with students helping them obtain their degree so they can and will be able to have the necessary tools for contained education or stable employment. So I knew I had to continue my education in order to be eligible to do what I knew was my calling.

In August of 2013, I begin my Bachelors program at Old Dominion University. I graduated ODU in May of 2015. I had the credentials and was more engaged here on campus helping with new student orientation classes. Because I was eligible to and loved the students here at CVCC I began to teach as an SDV-100 instructor and was able to begin Academic Advising in counseling. I was on a mission and doors were opening and I was beginning to move up in my career. I was excited and ready for more, although I knew with more education I would have better opportunities. So in the fall of 2015, I began my master’s program at Liberty University. In one year I completed the program and received my master’s degree in the fall of 2016. I am embracing my opportunities here at CVCC and have found my place. Learning that education is the key and regardless of one’s age, situation, or even fear it can be done. It is possible and obtainable, and I can tell you this because I have experienced every hurdle, challenge, and fear I have overcome those obstacles and continued to move forward. CVCC is where my future began!