Pearl River Community College

February 2020

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Pearl River's humanities teacher of the year: Dr. Rudy Gatlin

Pearl River's humanities teacher of the year: Dr. Rudy Gatlin

HATTIESBURG, Miss – Dr. Rudy Gatlin, a music and psychology instructor at the Forrest County Center, is Pearl River Community College’s Humanities Teacher of the Year for 2019-20.

Gatlin, 47, who has more than 25 years in the education profession, also serves as advisor to the Travel Club, the Music Club and the Social Science Club. 

The Mississippi Humanities Council annually recognizes teachers from all regions of the state with the award. Each honoree receives a $500 honorarium and presents a special lecture in his discipline to the community.

Gatlin’s lecture on The Psychology of Music will be at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, in the multipurpose room at the Forrest County Center.

“I feel extremely blessed to call PRCC my workplace and my home,” said Dr. Gatlin. “Being named Humanity Teacher of the Year is such an unexpected honor. I feel unworthy and extremely humbled by this award. To me, it is one of the highest awards I can ever receive.”

He holds an associate’s degree from Jones County Junior College, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from William Carey University and the University of Southern Mississippi and the PhD in Music Education from USM.

Gatlin began his professional experience in 1995 as assistant choral director at Petal High School and has served as coral director at West Jones and North Forrest high schools. 

He has taught at both the high school, junior college and university levels and has taught at PRCC as an adjunct instructor since 2005.

“When the possibility to teach here full time in 2012 opened up, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Gatlin. “I love working here. My co-workers and my students make working seem more like spending quality time with family and friends than an actual job.”

Besides his work in education, Gatlin has also served as minister of music, pianist and voice instructor at several area churches.

“Dr. Gatlin is a fantastic instructor who cultivates an appreciation of music into our students, faculty, and staff through his teaching in the classroom as well as an event we host at the college called Making Sprits Bright,” said Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President of Forrest County Operations.

“He is a very talented musician who gives generously of his personal gifts and Pearl River Community College has benefitted tremendously from his membership in our Wildcat family.”

Besides his teaching duties, Gatlin has also performed as a tenor soloist and countertenor soloist USM, William Carey, Bethel University and local churches.

Said Gatlin, “I really could go so far as to say I love the whole community college experience. I am a product of community college education and my experiences at the community college level prepared me for my future educational endeavors. From the moment I decided I wanted to teach, I knew I wanted to teach at a community college; my own experiences reinforcing that feeling.”

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 2, 2020 - 3:04pm
 
Pearl River alumnus donation to offer cultural experience for students

Pearl River alumnus donation to offer cultural experience for students

POPLARVILLE, Miss – Pearl River Community College received the gift of culture through an alumnus’ donation of 5 famous artists’ pieces. 

Craig Griffing graduated from Pearl River in 1977 before continuing his education and entering the medical field. Griffing started his art collection more than 30 years ago due to an interest in history and art. It was through a visit to Pearl River’s Poplarville campus that his idea to share part of that collection with the institution began. 

“This institution grown so rapidly since my time here," Griffing said. "I’m a donor, supporter and have been an art collector for over 30 years. The first time I walked into the Brownstone Center for a concert I thought ‘this needs some art.’”

Because of this visit Griffing decided take a few pieces of art from his collection to add to the cultural experience to which students at Pearl River would find themselves exposed.

“I want the students of south Mississippi to be exposed to true fine art and there is an old saying in the art world ‘every great institution deserves great art’ and I think PRCC is a great institution not only for Pearl River County but for all of South Mississippi.

“Art is not just painting pictures It involves advertising, interior decorating and multiple professions. If some of my art can help spark some of the students here to go into those various fields of artistic endeavors, I would feel grateful."

Executive Director of Development Foundation/Alumni Association, Ernest Lovell Jr., pointed out the chance this would give Pearl River students to see art they would otherwise never expereince. He says he does not take this lightly and understands the imprtance of protecting this donation. 

“Craig came to us a couple of years ago because he had such a great experience at the college,” Lovell said. “He always had an interest in helping young people be successful and so he wanted to contribute back to the arts in this way. He has bestowed this gift to the college through the foundation and we are going to take care of it.” 

Griffing met with Lovell and Department Chair/Director of Brownstone Performing Arts Center Dr. Trevor Hunt to consider display options in the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts.

The donated art includes pieces by Rembrandt Van Rijn, Robert Indiana, Pablo Picasso and George Ohr. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 2, 2020 - 3:17pm
 
 
Pearl River’s Brownstone Center offers exciting spring performance schedule

Pearl River’s Brownstone Center offers exciting spring performance schedule

POPLARVILLE, Miss. – Pearl River Community College and the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts are preparing to step back into the spotlight. 

The Brownstone Center’s spring schedule has something for everyone including events ranging from contemporary bluegrass, a family fun musical and PRCC’s own student performers. 

“The Fine Arts and Communications Department is very proud to offer these concerts for the community,” said Director of Brownstone Performing Arts Center Trevor Hunt said. “The students and faculty work diligently each semester to offer a wide range of performance opportunities so that people can come and experience an evening of world-class entertainment right here in Poplarville.”

THE CLEVERLYS 

The Cleverlys will perform March 10 offering a knee-slapping bluegrass spin on classics from all genres imaginable. The Cleverlys are a one-of-a-kind comedy/music blend coming from the remote part of the Ozark Mountains. Their set list includes genius arrangements of tunes like Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” a medley of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and Flo Rida’s “Low.” Tickets go on sale at prcc.edu/brownstone/events Feb. 10 with orchestra tickets at $20 and balcony $15. 

SHREK THE MUSICAL

Make room in your schedule for an ogre-sized family fun event April 2-3 as the PRCC Fine Arts and Communication Department presents Shrek The Musical. Based on the DreamWorks movie and the book by William Steig, PRCC students will bring to life new adventures for beloved characters. Ticket sales will begin March 7 at prcc.edu/brownstone/events. Orchestra tickets will be $20 and Balcony $15. 

PRCC SYMPHONIC BANDS SPRING CONCERT 

On April 7th the PRCC Wind Ensemble and Concert Band will present a concert featuring the music of Sergei Prokofiev, Roland Barrett, Sean O’laughlin, and John Mackey. In addition, PRCC bands will welcome special guest Dr. Timothy Tesh, USM Assistant Professor of trumpet. Tickets, $5, will go on sale March 2 at prcc.edu/brownstone. 

SPRING CHORAL CONCERT

On April 14 the PRCC Choral department will present a concert of eclectic musical styles that will appeal to music lovers of all tastes. PRCC choirs are under the direction of LaDona Tyson. Tickets will be $5 and can be purchased at prcc.edu/brownstone starting March 2. 

JAZZ CATS & THE VOICES 

The JazzCats and The Voices, both comprised of PRCC student performers, will fill the auditorium with harmony April 24 as they perform a variety of pieces. Tickets for this event will be $5 and go on sale March 2 at prcc.edu/brownstone. 

For more information about the Brownstone schedule visit prcc.edu/brownstone. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 4, 2020 - 12:13pm
 
 
 
 
 
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Pearl River is Mississippi's fastest growing community college

Pearl River is Mississippi's fastest growing community college

CELEBRATION VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFtTPqSE-qo

POPLARVILLE, Miss. —  For the third year in a row Pearl River Community College is setting itself apart with unmatched year-to-year enrollment growth for the spring 2020.

According to the 10th day enrollment report published by the Mississippi Community College Board, Pearl River is once again the fastest growing school of Mississippi’s 15 community colleges. Pearl River boasts an enrollment of 4,813 with 62,469 credit hours in spring of 2020. This spring report marks eight consecutive semesters of enrollment growth for the college. Comparing this year’s numbers to spring of ’19, Pearl River’s enrollment has skyrocketed 9.5 percent and the institution’s credit hours have also increased 7.5 percent, giving PRCC eight consecutive semesters of enrollment growth to celebrate.

“I am grateful that students who are seeking higher education opportunities continue to choose Pearl River Community College at a record setting pace,” Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “This is a testament to our incredible faculty and staff. We remain committed to proving a high quality, affordable and comprehensive educational experience and we embrace the enormous responsibility of providing life-changing opportunities for our students.”

ACCESSIBLE

Pearl River makes itself accessible to a wide range of potential students through its variety of scheduling options. Because of its continuously growing eLearning department, PRCC is able to be both local and wide-reaching by offering many classes and in some cases entire programs fully online. 

“Whether the student is taking their first college course, working full-time, serving in the military, or just life experiences don't allow them to come to campus, online classes are convenient at The River,” Director of eLearning Michele Mitchell said. “We can help students pursue their dreams without giving up their life experiences.  Students can earn their degrees by attending PRCC's online educational program by connecting to their tablet, mobile device, or computer. PRCC offers academic, career, and technical online classes that provide a path towards graduation. We are providing a quality education that is convenient by offering 15-week, 8-week, and 4-week online courses.”

There is no longer a “certain type” of student attending community college — unless that “type” is defined by those looking for a quality education, personal attention, and the opportunity for a future unencumbered by student loan debt. People of all ages and backgrounds with different educational goals are finding they can take charge of such a future at Pearl River. By creating a schedule that tailors to an array of student circumstances, PRCC meets the students where they are.

AFFORDABLE 

Affordability is a community college stereotype that Pearl River proudly embraces by offering a high-quality education without breaking the bank. The institution has not raised its tuition since 2017 all while maintaining standards of excellence in all facets of the educational process.

Investing in its students’ futures is a continued priority for Pearl River through providing scholarship opportunities for new and returning students. Service-based scholarships such as band, choir and athletics foster an environment conducive to being a well-rounded student. 

“Being a part of college is amazing, but to be a part of a family is a wholesome experience. A growing college is extraordinary, but a growing family is a life altering experience the students, faculty & staff here at Pearl River Community College get to experience daily. Our students have the equal chance at creating long lasting change for our fine institution through organizations, surveys, and student feedback,” Student Government Association Communication Specialist Isaiah Mcswain said.

EFFICIENT

Part of PRCC’s ability to stay affordable is through its efficient approach to its everyday operation.

Helping students reach their goals quickly and effectively is a top priority for Pearl River as it has continued to grow and improve its practices in advising and student support.

Orientation sessions designed with students in mind, implementation of active learning, interactive parent sessions, peer mentoring, and online degree progress tracking tools are all ways Pearl River supports students at every step of their educational journey. 

“We have implemented new strategies and initiatives over the last couple of years to better serve our students and promote student success,” Breerwood said. “This report serves as motivation to keep moving forward, to keep seeking the best practices in and out of the classroom to promote additional growth and improvement. I am thrilled about what the future holds for Pearl River Community College.”

ADAPTING TO DEMAND

With a current dorm waiting list of 950, PRCC is in the process of building two new dorms, which will include about 260 beds. The Poplarville campus is also currently making strides on the expansion of its science building, which will house new labs, classrooms and offices. 

Pearl River’s Forrest County Center is in undergoing major renovation in the form of a new bookstore, student courtyard, and updated classrooms with the bookstore and Wildcat Mini-Market projects expected to be completed May 2020.  

The institution also broke ground on the Phil Bryant Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy in Hancock County in December. The Academy will be an estimated 25,000 square feet and represents a new and expanded presence for PRCC in Hancock County on Fred and Al Key Road. The hangar is estimated to be completed by Dec. 31, 2020 and the Academy by the same date in 2021.

The facility will consist of eight classrooms, five labs, reception area, faculty and staff offices, break room/kitchenette for staff, indoor sitting/vending area for students and an outdoor courtyard sitting area.

The hangar itself will be an estimated 18,000 square feet and will consist of two classrooms with labs, open hangar area with hands-on lab stations, outdoor covered area for equipment training, lobby with reception area, faculty and staff offices, break room/kitchenette for staff, small vending area for students. The hangar and classroom facility will be an extension of the Academy with hands-on training space as well as state of the art classroom learning environments. Direct runway access will allow for study and testing of operational vehicles with attention given to state-of-the art composites and sheet metal materials. Aviation systems and power plant design, repair and maintenance can be studied, performed and tested in real time on operational equipment. The facility will have direct access to the Stennis International Airport runways, service and fueling facilities.  The hangar will offer the following programs: Airframe & Propulsion Technology, Unmanned Arial Systems and Precision Manufacturing.

“Since our groundbreaking announcement in December for the Phil Bryant Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy, we have been finalizing the design details of our Academy and Hangar and anticipate construction to begin in August,” Director of Governmental and Community Relations Angie Kothmann said. “We are diligently working with our industries, schools and community to ensure we are meeting their needs now and as we construct the new PRCC facilities in Hancock County.”

As the Wildcat Family continues to grow, so does Pearl River’s commitment to being accessible, affordable and efficient for all.

“Growing comes with challenges, but these are good challenges.  We are constantly evaluating our overall situation to determine if additional teachers are needed and/or additional office personnel to serve the growing population of students and employees,” Senior Vice President for Instruction/Provost Dr. Martha Lou Smith said.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 10, 2020 - 12:25pm
 
 
Unwavering student support earns Pearl River president PTK recognition

Unwavering student support earns Pearl River president PTK recognition

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River Community College President Dr. Adam Breerwood has been nominated by his students for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Paragon Award for New Presidents because of his dedication to student support.

More than 500 college presidents were eligible to receive the award and 28 will be recognized during PTK Catalyst 2020, the Society’s annual convention, April 2-4 in Dallas, Texas.

These awards are given to new college presidents who have shown strong support of student success by recognizing academic achievement, leadership, and service among high-achieving students at their college. Recipients were nominated for the award by the students on their campuses.

Breerwood started at the college as a student and earned the presidential position on July 1, 2017, 21 years after he began working at the college.

He has worked in many avenues of the college along the way including athletics, recruitment and student services.

“I am honored to receive recognition from a premier student-based organization like Phi Theta Kappa,” Breerwood said. “Our entire faculty and staff work daily to promote student success. I am humbled that these elite students not only recognize but appreciate this commitment.”

According to the organization’s mission statement, the purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.

To be invited to join this prestigious group, a student must complete 12 hours of college credit from their institution and secure at least a 3.4 GPA.

"We appreciate Dr. Breerwood's continued support of our students," FYS Coordinator and PTK Advisor Lisa Wall said. "Having administrative support makes all the difference in our organization and gives our students the resources they need to make an impact both on their campus and in their community." 

Pearl River has two chapters of Phi Theta Kappa including Iota Mu located on the Poplarville campus and Beta Tau Gamma located at the Forrest County Center. Both organizations are active at their respective locations organizing events such as blood drives, plasma donor screenings, interview attire fashion shows and more.

PTK students have a 91 percent student success rate, and research has shown that strong presidential leadership and support of PTK increases member success and the depth of their college experience.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 12, 2020 - 10:53am
 
Lifelong Wildcat appointed Pearl River Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Lifelong Wildcat appointed Pearl River Chairman of the Board of Trustees

POPLARVILLE, Miss — Pearl River Community College has appointed a lifelong Wildcat as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tessa Rawls Smith. 

"Ms. Tess Smith is a trusted and well respected member of our Board of Trustees," Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. "Her forward thinking and innovative approach to education has provided valuable perspective. I look forward to her continued leadership as we work to provide higher education opportunities to our surrounding communities. I am thrilled with the Board of Trustees’ decision to appoint Ms. Smith Chairman for the next two years. In the ever changing world of higher education we have numerous challenges that lie ahead. She is the ideal candidate to lead the efforts of our Board."

Twenty-eight years after first stepping on Pearl River’s Poplarville campus as a college freshman, Smith is taking on the role of Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  

Smith is a lifelong resident of Sumrall. She attended and graduated from Oak Grove schools before joining the Wildcat Family in 1987 as a college freshman on the Poplarville campus. 

After PRCC, she moved on to earn her Bachelors of Science in 1992 from the University of Southern Mississippi and began her teaching career at her alma mater, Oak Grove High School. After earning her Masters from USM in 1997 she transitioned into a school counseling position. Smith then earned her Specialist from USM in School Administration and became assistant principal at Oak Grove Middle School.

In 2014, Smith returned to Wildcat Country as a member of the board when she was named Superintendent of the Lamar County School District. She is currently working on her Doctorate degree from William Carey University. 

“It has been truly amazing to see the growth and change that has taken place on the campus from then to now,” Smith said. “I feel truly blessed to play a role in PRCC's future.”

Smith and her husband, Ray, have two boys who both chose a military path including participating in ROTC while at USM. Smith and her husband are expecting their first grandchild in April. 

“I have taken each role on the PRCC board very seriously,” Smith said. “I believe in lifelong learning. Anything that we can to do support all levels of education is of critical importance.”

Superintendent of Education for Hancock County Schools, Alan Dedeaux preceded Smith in the Chairperson position for the years of 2018 and 2019. Smith will serve for all of 2020 and 2021. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 12, 2020 - 3:52pm
 
PRCC nursing student receives Hurst NCLEX scholarship

PRCC nursing student receives Hurst NCLEX scholarship

HATTIESBURG, Miss – Pearl River Community College student Terri Smith is one of 10 nursing students from across the country that have been awarded Hurst Review NCLEX scholarships to help cover the cost of NCLEX exam fees and study materials.

Smith, a graduate of Lawrence County High School in Monticello, recently graduated from the Practical Nursing program at PRCC and plans to take the NCLEX next month.

She then plans to pursue her bachelor of science in nursing in the fall of 2020.

"Terri Smith was the perfect definition of a student nurse,” said Deanna Dunaway, RN, one of Smith’s PRCC instructors.

“While in the PN program, she was diligent in her commitment to reaching her goal to graduate. She showed compassion and fairness to her cohorts, while she sought out knowledge and ways to use that knowledge to help others. 

“Terri showed strength through daily hardships and others were taught perseverance through her example." 

Smith, a single-parent mom with a 9 year old, is a Phi Theta Kappa member. She found her time at PRCC to be a rewarding experience.

“The instructors care about your academic success,” said Smith. “They have been very open to talk with students, and ensure that students are connected to clubs and their peers.” 

The scholarship, funded by national nursing exam prep company Hurst Review Services, is exclusively for Phi Theta Kappa nursing majors who plan to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

“Hurst’s mission has always been to help nursing students succeed by improving clinical judgment skills through the best NCLEX preparation course available,” Hurst CEO Pat Lowery said.

“Together, Hurst and Phi Theta Kappa can provide the resources required to begin a successful career in nursing.” 

The NCLEX is a standardized exam given by each state’s board of nursing to determine if RN or LPN/LVN candidates are competent for entry-level nursing practice. In addition to the scholarship, Hurst also provides a $50 discount on NCLEX study materials - including the company’s newest product, N-STREAM - for all Phi Theta Kappa members preparing to take the exam.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 13, 2020 - 8:27am
 
 
 
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PRCC has helped Province overcome obstacles in his life

PRCC has helped Province overcome obstacles in his life

HATTIESBURG - Alexander “AJ” Province admits it has taken him a long time to fully appreciate the importance of education.

Today, Province, a sophomore at Pearl River Community College, has purpose and direction. At 30, he is back in school to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to perform at the highest level.

He is a student in Electronics Engineering Technology, one of several Career-Technical Education programs offered at PRCC. 

“I have always been a tinkerer, loved working with my hands,” said Province.  “I was following through with academia when I met David Collum (chair and Instructor of Electronics Engineering). 

“He was a Phi Theta Kappa advisor, talked about his program at a PTK meeting and the opportunities it presented. It just clicked for me. I decided this is where I want to be.”   

Province has had to overcome some major obstacles in his personal life, starting after he finished high school at the Mississippi School for the Arts in Brookhaven. Recovery meetings along the way helped him to seek a different path in his life.

It took him some time to fully appreciate the importance of education.

PRCC instructors Drs. Terri and Ryan Ruckel, who Province met at a wedding of mutual friends, got the ball rolling for him. “After just five minutes of meeting with them, they planted the seed for me to get back into school,” he said.

He had other encouragement along the way, starting with Sarah, his wife of four years – and a PRCC graduate. She is the general manager of a Hattiesburg hotel. They have an 8-year-old son. “Sarah thinks I am smarter than I am,” he said.

Three semesters in school and Province is not only the Career-Technical representative in Phi Theta Kappa, but he also serves as vice president of the National Technical Honor Society at PRCC’s Forrest County Center, vice president of Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society, Alpha Epsilon chapter; president of the Table Top Gaming Club and a member of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute.  

Province won’t graduate until spring 2021, so he is making the most of his time at PRCC, both in the Electronics Engineering program, as well as his membership in Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors Institute. 

“It’s been a thrilling and exhausting ride for me,” he said. “Kind of like riding a roller coaster. When you get off, the blood going even faster, then you have to sit down. That is how it is every day. I am doing something I want to do my entire life, learning programming, working on the training boards, assisting in building two different trainers. I like the cool stuff, the tinkering. Even the book stuff.

“I would have never thought a community college would have something like this to offer. I never knew it existed.”

Collum sees a bright future for Province. “AJ is an outstanding student who goes out of his way to help his fellow students and instructors,” said Collum. “He goes above and beyond to learn as much as he can about electronics and industrial technology. He will be a fantastic technician.”

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 17, 2020 - 1:03pm
 
Pearl River to share information about rewarding careers in Surgical Technology

Pearl River to share information about rewarding careers in Surgical Technology

Hattiesburg, Miss. — Pearl River Community College is welcoming all with interest in an exciting role in the medical field to attend one of the upcoming Surgical Technology Program Information Sessions. 

Sessions will be held in the Allied Health Building Room 119 at the PRCC Forrest County Center Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m., March 12 at 12:15 p.m., and April 16 at 5:30 p.m. 

Surgical Technology is a comprehensive program of study in which the student receives an in depth practical knowledge and essential clinical education related to the operating room.

In addition to the hospital OR, Surgical Technologists may be employed in Labor & Delivery, Central Sterile Processing departments, Supply/Purchasing, Outpatient Clinic and Surgery facilities, sales representatives for medical product companies as well other career opportunities that may be available.

The information sessions allow the program instructors to inform potential applicants about rewarding careers in Surgical Technology. 

“We welcome anyone is interested in the field of Surgical Technology as a potential career,” PRCC Surgical Technology Program Instructor Lori Little said. “Come see us at the information sessions to learn more about the Surgical Technology program at PRCC.”

Those in attendance will receive information about program application deadlines and requirements, program schedules, and an overview of the field of Surgical Technology. 

The application deadline for the August 2020 class is April 20; the January 2021 class deadline is Oct. 1. 

For additional information about the upcoming sessions contact April Mallard at 601-554-5509 or amallard@prcc.edu 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 18, 2020 - 12:53pm
 
Five Pearl River students named Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship semifinalists

Five Pearl River students named Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship semifinalists

POPLARVILLE, Miss. – Five Pearl River Community College students were recently selected as semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This year’s PRCC semifinalists are Ashton Anderson, Savannah Barnes, Alyssa Necaise, Kyle Simpson and Kirsten Speights. 

Through this community college transfer scholarship, the JKC Foundation supports high-achieving community college students as they transfer to some of the top four-year institutions in the country to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The Foundation provides up to $40,000 per year to scholarship recipients for up to three years, making it among the largest private scholarships for community college transfer students in the country.

“I would like to thank our administrators and the college for the vision to support this program every year, and I would like to recognize the hard-working mentors who have dedicated themselves to these students' success: Doctor Terri Smith Ruckel and Lisa Wall have gone above and beyond,” Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Dr. Ryan Ruckel said. “In the state of Mississippi, there were 11 JKC Semifinalists, of which Pearl River has five. These students will be able to carry this Semifinalist designation for the rest of their lives.”

ASHTON ANDERSON

Anderson is from Purvis, where he attended Purvis High School. Since becoming a Wildcat, he has been involved in the William Lewis Honors Institute, Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and a member of the Honors in Action Project. He plans to major in pharmaceuticals and would like to transfer to Louisiana State University after graduating from Pearl River with his Associates degree and plans to work toward becoming a pharmacist.

“If you would have told me back when I started here at Pearl River back in August 2018, that I would be a Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship Semifinalist, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Anderson said. “I am more than honored to be selected as a semifinalist for this prestigious scholarship. 

“It means the world to me to be a part of the Wildcat Family. My advisors and the friends I have made have been there for me whenever I’ve needed them and I can’t thank them enough for always being there to count on.”

SAVANNAH BARNES

Barnes was born and raised in Petal, where she attended Petal High School. Before she came to Pearl River Community College, she was a part of the Petal Marching Band, Yearbook Club and Advanced Placement classes. Barnes currently attends the Forrest County Campus. She plans to transfer to the University of Mississippi to pursue a Bachelor of Multi-Disciplinary Studies. Her focus will be on the Korean language, TESOL and creative writing.

Barnes says her time at PRCC has taught her to always keep the future in mind.

“It means the world for me to receive this recognition as a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship,” Barnes said. “Sometimes, it feels as if your work isn’t doing anything beneficial. You feel stretched like a rubber band; however, that rubber band reverts to its original state once there is a validation for your efforts. This recognition is not only an opportunity but a form of validation for my hard work.

“Two years can make a difference. Pearl River Community College made a difference. I will always be thankful for the friends and experiences I have gained from being a part of the Wildcat Family. Dr. Ryan Ruckel, Dr. Terri Ruckel, Ms. Cheri Alder, and Dr. Tim Crowe have all made a difference in my experiences at PRCC. I cannot thank these instructors enough for the push they have given me to chase my passion, to set my goals, and to make firm decisions. Thank you to everyone who has helped push me to pursue these opportunities.”

ALYSSA NECAISE

Necaise is from Kiln, where she attended Hancock High School. Since joining the Wildcat Family she has become involved in many on campus organizations. Necaise is a River Navigator, member of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, a tutor and peer mentor at Student Support Services, a STEAM Club member and is President of both the Dr. William Lewis Honors College and the Phi Theta Kappa Iota Mu Chapter. She is majoring in Polymer Science Engineering and plans to transfer to the University of Southern Mississippi after graduating with her Associates degree from The River in May. Necaise plans to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Polymer Science Engineering and hopefully pursue higher degrees while working in the field. She ideally would like to work with NASA or a chemical company such as Chemours or Subic as an engineer. 

Necaise does not take this prestigious recognition lightly. 

“This opportunity means a possible avenue to success free of financial barriers,” Necaise said. “I am humbled and honored at the same time. I was completely shocked when I received the email, but I was also so eager to share the news with all those who've helped me along the journey. My teachers and advisors have been so supportive in this application progress, and I thank them for that. I am also thankful to God for his many blessings, including this opportunity to be a Jack Kent Cooke Semifinalist. Thank you also to the Cooke Foundation for giving me this recognition and helping transfer students accomplish their goals.”

She recognizes the support she was given at Pearl River and the opportunities that has opened up for her.

“My time at PRCC had been a time of growth and learning both educationally and personally,” Necaise said. “The instructors, advisors, and classmates I have met here have truly impacted my life and future. It's important to be surrounded with people who believe in you and are willing to help. I will be so sad to leave it behind, but I look forward to what the future holds.”

KYLE SIMPSON

Simpson, 29, was born in Orlando, Florida, although they have spent most of their life in Mississippi. They attended Palm Bay High School in Melbourne, Florida; however, they dropped out while in tenth grade due to personal stressors. Kyle spent most of their 20s working full-time and independently studying the social sciences. During their time at PRCC (Spring 2018-Fall 2019), they became a member of PRCC Forrest County Center’s William Lewis Honors College, Phi Theta Kappa chapter—Beta Tau Gamma, Mu Alpha Theta chapter, Sigma Kappa Delta chapter, as well as participated in the campus’ History and Humanities, and Travel clubs.

“Truthfully, I felt very confident in the likelihood that I would make semifinalist, and I am elated to be given the honor,” Simpson said. “I do not say that to be arrogant. I put in real, devoted work for the Jack Kent Cooke application—and for my studies overall—that I am genuinely proud of. I could not have done this alone; however, I must thank Dr. Terri Ruckel personally for her endless support and the tireless work she devotes to each of her students. I am beyond excited to see who all wins in April.”

Simpson has received their Associate of Arts degree from Pearl River and plans to major in psychology upon transferring to university, where they intend to conduct research concerning poverty’s effect on the ability of individuals and cultural cohort groups to process trauma and grief productively. They plan on ultimately attaining a PhD in counseling psychology with an emphasis on grief counseling and poverty studies. Their top three choices for transfer are Cornell University, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Post-academia, Simpson plans to work on synthesizing emotional health initiatives with economic justice initiatives, locally, nationally, and globally.

Simpson appreciates the support they have been given at Pearl River.

“When I enrolled at PRCC, I was not sure what to expect from a community college in southeast Mississippi, but I have been endlessly whelmed by the dedication and quality of PRCC’s faculty,” Simpson said. “As a non-traditional student who thought that academia was never going to be a part of my future, I have been beyond well-served by PRCC.

“If not for the amazing professors I have had, and built genuine bonds with, my future would not be the beacon of ambition and optimism that it has become. There are not enough words to ever fully communicate my gratitude; I will move forward and do the Wildcat name proud.”

KIRSTEN SPEIGHTS 

Speights is a first-generation college student from Picayune who and graduated from Picayune Memorial High School with high honors. Because of her history with band high school, she knew becoming a member of the Spirit of the River and Wind Ensemble as a flute and piccolo player would allow her to build all kinds of relationships. Since joining the Wildcat Family, she has also had the privilege of being a Phi Theta Kappa officer, the Vice President of Fellowship. She is also a tutor with Student Support Services. 

She found her passion in understanding the criminal mind and why people decide to cross the “moral threshold” which is why she is a psychology major with a concentration in forensic psychology. Speights plans to transfer to either the University of Southern Mississippi or CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She will graduate from Pearl River with an honors medallion in May and is very proud to be called a Wildcat.

Speights has ambitious career goals and recognizes the educational foundation she has built at Pearl River.

“My ultimate goal is to become a member of the FBI but everyone has to start somewhere and PRCC was my springboard to grow as a person,” she said. “The connections I have made in the Wildcat Family have allowed me to explore new ideas and to challenge myself to grow and inspire others, including my little brother. I used to have the opinion that community college was not for me but now that I am a Wildcat I cannot recommend anywhere else to start.

“This recognition has finally allowed myself to see how my hard work has paid off. Often, I doubt myself but earning this recognition has made me realize I have the power to shape my own destiny, with my family and the grace of God by my side. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity and hope my story will inspire others that your financial circumstances do not define your success. The Wildcat Way has proved that time and time again.”

Scholarship finalists will be announced in April. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 18, 2020 - 2:55pm
 
 
 
 
 
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PRCC's Micah Patterson has an end goal in mind

PRCC's Micah Patterson has an end goal in mind

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Pearl River Community College student Micah Patterson’s ultimate ambition is to start his own heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) business. 

It has actually taken the 28-year-old Patterson a long time to fully appreciate the importance of education, as well as setting up some goals in his life. 

He was born in Slidell, La., spent part of his life in north Mississippi, moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina and eventually got his high school diploma from Camp Shelby. 

After what he describes as some dead-end jobs, he joined the Navy in 2013 where he spent four years, including two deployments to Bahrain where he was a coxswain on some security boats. That’s when he met Megan, who was also in the Navy.

They got married and both got out of the service at the same time in California, where he did some contract work. Patterson became homesick and moved back home. He had his eye on getting into an HVAC program and that’s when Pearl River Community College came into play.

“Basically, I learned about the program at Pearl River and (instructor) Tommy Broom through word of mouth,” said Patterson. “It has been a great experience for me honestly. I can see the end goal in sight.

“Now when I come to school, there is not a single reason I do not want to be here. I have made some good friends, it’s good comraderie among the students. Even though I am one of the older students here, my experience has been great. This program has everything I need as far as how the work will be out in the field.”

 Broom has certainly found Patterson to be a model student in the HVAC program.

“He is one of those students that you don’t have to wonder if he is going to have his assignments done,” said Broom. “When he comes through the door of the classroom, he is ready to learn. He works well with the others students.

“I have chosen Micah to go to the SKILLS USA competition this your to represent Pearl River Community College. There’s no doubt in my mind, Micah will accomplish great things in his future. It has been a blessing to work with Micah. He is an encourager.”

Micah and Megan have been married for seven years now. She is a Phi Theta Kappa student at PRCC. They are expecting their first child in September.

“She is majoring in accounting and business management, so she will be the face of our business in the future,” said Patterson, who will graduate from Pearl River Community College this May with an Associate in Applied Science degree in HVAC.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats) and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG).

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities.  The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability.  For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

February 26, 2020 - 10:26am
 
 
 
 
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