2023-24 PCC Student Ambassadors Train for Upcoming Academic Year

2023-24 PCC Student Ambassadors group photo

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College’s newest group of student ambassadors met for three days of leadership training this week in preparation for their duties during the 2023-24 academic year.

The 11-member group features three returnees and eight newcomers who will assist PCC staff with recruiting and help out during college-related events and PCC Foundation fundraisers. The students, who receive full-time scholarships from the foundation, must also perform weekly service hours on campus and maintain at least a 3.2 GPA.

“We have a talented and diverse group of student ambassadors for the new school year,” said PCC Scholarships Coordinator Kim Simpkins, an advisor to the ambassadors program. “Even though we have eight new members, they’ve already formed a strong team bond, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

Simpkins says the group varies in age, between 18 and 30 years old, and its members come from hometowns near and far.

“We have one ambassador originally from Farmington, Maine, another from St. Louis, and others from places throughout eastern North Carolina, including Clayton, Kinston, Greenville and Stokes,” she said. “We have representation from each of PCC’s five academic divisions, too, so there’s variety amongst the group with regard to their professional pursuits.”

Returning for a second year with the ambassador program are Abigail Keesler, Alacin Lozner and Jarius Washington. They have been joined by Amy Rose Arriaga, Alison Beaman, Kaitlyn Dunn, Samantha Keith, Penelope Rouse, Alexis Satchell, Vicktoria Vaulx and Alexander Williford.

Lozner, who is seeking a bachelor’s degree in nursing through North Carolina’s Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program, was elected president of this year’s ambassadors group. The 2022 D.H. Conley graduate will pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution after completing PCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program. Her goal is to become an acute pediatric nurse practitioner working in a hospital hematology/oncology department.

Keith, a 2011 graduate of Mt. Blue High School in Maine, was elected vice president. She moved to North Carolina in 2016 and is studying radiography. She also coaches cheerleading at a gym in Washington, which she says gives her an opportunity to work with local youths in a sport she enjoyed as a kid.

Entering her second year at PCC in pursuit of an office administration degree, Beaman was elected secretary. The Clayton High School graduate says she has enjoyed her PCC experience and has taken full advantage of the many student support services the school offers.

“A PCC education is an amazing academic value in the first place, but with so many supplemental programs and activities to help me make the most of my time in college, the PCC experience is worth far more than the degree I’m earning,” Beaman said. “This is something I want to tell anyone who will listen, and the student ambassador program will give me the opportunity to do so.”

Satchell, a Bath native and Beaufort County Early College High School graduate, and Rouse, a Kinston resident who graduated from South Lenoir High School, are pursuing credentials in medical sonography. Vaulx, a Farmville Central grad originally from St. Louis, is studying Advertising & Graphic Design, and Williford, a Greenville Christian Academy (GCA) graduate from Greenville, is training in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Arriaga, a fellow GCA grad from Kinston, is majoring in Business Administration, and Dunn, a North Pitt graduate from Stokes, is taking college transfer courses.

Keesler, a Christ Covenant School graduate, is also taking college transfer courses. The Winterville resident says she wants to study special education to one day “teach or minister” to children with special needs.

“I want to teach each child that they are beautiful the way they are, not inferior just because some things are harder for them,” she said.

Washington is a Winterville resident nearing completion of PCC’s Simulation & Game Development curriculum. He plans to continue his education at a four-year college or university to someday use his artistic and creative abilities to either create games for a large company or operate his own game development business.

Last year, Washington was assigned to PCC’s Fulford-Rhodes Student Store to carry out his weekly service hours. He ended up putting in 173 hours, nearly twice as many as the next-closest ambassador’s 104 service hours. His hard work and dedication led student ambassador advisors to name the program’s annual service award in his honor.

“Jarius’ name will continue to grace the award, which will be presented to the ambassador who completes the highest number of service hours each year, until a future ambassador exceeds his record of 173 service hours,” Simpkins said. “When that happens, the award will be re-named to honor the record-breaking student.”

This year’s ambassador leadership training took place in Pitt’s new Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement. In addition to a history lesson on PCC and the PCC Foundation, the students received tips on dressing for success, practiced public speaking skills, and participated in a roundtable discussion with Pitt administrators. They also learned how to lead campus tours and determined their strengths through a personal and professional development tool.

Before closing out their training with a team-building exercise at Diversion Escape Rooms in Washington, ambassadors completed a community service project to benefit local children. On Tuesday, they donated two shopping carts loaded with much-needed school supplies to the “Stuff the Bus” initiative.

“Giving back to the local community is one of the goals of the ambassador program, and the newly-formed team was eager to help young Pitt County students start the new school year ready to learn,” Simpkins said.

Started in 1992, the PCC Student Ambassador program is highly competitive. Students must apply for participation, and those selected to join receive professional attire to wear during official college events in addition to scholarships that cover the cost of in-state tuition and fees.