New Group of Ambassadors Meets for First Time

PCC's newest group of student ambassadors met for the first time this month at Brook Valley Country Club. They are, left to right: Jarius Washington, Chelsea Jolly, Abigail Keesler, Alacin Lozner, Whitley Anderson, Sarah Cooke, Yamileth Espino and Victoria Blount. Not pictured is Krystan Simpson.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College’s newest group of student ambassadors met for the first time June 17 to begin preparations for their duties during the 2022-23 academic year.

The nine-member group features four returnees and five 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.

This month’s meeting took place at Greenville’s Brook Valley Country Club and gave the ambassadors an opportunity to meet each other and introduce themselves to PCC administrators and foundation board members.

“We have a varied group of ambassadors in terms of interests and talents, but all of them are academically-gifted and highly-motivated,” said PCC Scholarships Coordinator Kim Simpkins, an advisor to the ambassadors program.

Returning for another year as ambassadors are Whitley Anderson, Sarah Cooke, Yamileth Espino and Krystan Simpson. Cooke and Simpson are preparing for their third year with the program, while Anderson and Espino are entering their second.

Anderson, who has taken courses at PCC since she was a student at South Central High School, is preparing for a nursing career through the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program. As a RIBN participant, she will complete an associate degree in nursing at Pitt before moving on to East Carolina University for a bachelor’s in the nursing field.

Cooke, a 2022 PCC Academic Excellence Award recipient, is pursuing an associate degree in biotechnology. She was recently accepted into the Mayne Pharma Scholars program, which includes scholarship funding, a paid internship, and an opportunity to work for the pharmaceutical company after graduation.

“As a PCC Student Ambassador, I truly learned there are no limits to what I can accomplish,” Cooke said. “I struggled this past year, but my fellow ambassadors and program advisors stood behind me, encouraging and reassuring me that I am more than capable of succeeding, no matter the obstacle in front of me.”

Espino is nearing completion of PCC’s University Transfer curriculum in pursuit of a career in medical social work. She says she has enjoyed the opportunities she’s had at Pitt to assist Spanish-speaking students and credits the ambassador program with helping her get out of her comfort zone and grow personally.

“… This program has taught me that my opinion matters and I need to present my ideas,” Espino said. “Even though this might not seem like a big deal to others, it is for me, because I have accomplished a soft skill that allows me to be comfortable around my peers and mentors, and I’m even more comfortable when meeting new people.”

Also a 2022 PCC Academic Excellence Award recipient, Simpson is seeking a two-year degree in radiography in order to become a certified radiation therapist or dosimetrist. She says she chose to attend PCC to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Tiffany, who earned a nursing degree from the college.

Simpson noted that she enjoys supporting her fellow ambassadors, participating in college events and performing service hours on campus.

“Over the past couple of years, serving as an ambassador has allowed me to improve my time management skills and has allowed me to learn how to speak and communicate more effectively,” she said. “… Being a leader at PCC has challenged me to do things that I would not usually do, so that I can help and encourage others.”

PCC’s five newest ambassadors are Victoria Blount, Chelsea Jolly, Abigail Keesler, Alacin Lozner and Jarius Washington.

A Camden native, Blount is on schedule to complete a Paralegal Technology degree in May 2023. She’s twice made the Dean’s List at Pitt, is a National Society of Leadership and Success member, and was nominated for Phi Theta Kappa induction. She says her goal is to earn a Juris Doctor and practice criminal law.

Jolly was the valedictorian of her 2022 graduating class 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 curriculum before moving on to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree in business.

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,” Keesler said.

Like Anderson, Lozner is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing as part of the RIBN program. For now, the 2022 D.H. Conley graduate is enrolled in the Associate in General Education program, working to fulfill entrance requirements for PCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program. Her goal is 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 is planning to continue his studies 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 business making games.

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.

Simpkins says the 2022-23 ambassadors group will come together again in August for three days of leadership training that includes communication and public speaking tips, team-building exercises, community service project planning, and meetings with PCC administrators.