Karla Chavez's educational aspirations were sparked in the home and nourished by Central Piedmont.
Her father's passion for learning inspired this first generation graduate to reach for the stars. "With the little formal education he had, my dad went back to school and obtained his HVAC license. He was always reading engineering books when I was growing up," she explained. "I fell in love with engineering because you can engineer anything you can think of."
Karla was also driven by what she saw as a lack of women in the field. "Society tends to steer us away from STEM fields and toward more 'caregiving' fields," she said, "I want to share these fields with other women like myself so we can make a difference in our communities and all over the world."
With a vision in place, she attended Central Piedmont to complete her GED and eventually completed both an A.A. (2017) and A.A.S. in Construction Management Technology (2018).
Karla credits Central Piedmont for offering the support she needed to succeed. "When I attended Central Piedmont, I was a non-traditional student who was juggling multiple responsibilities and many life-events that changed my life forever. Yet, I found so many people who never stopped believing in me," she said. "Every faculty member, instructor, and classmate became more than just a familiar face. The support I received at Central Piedmont was powerful."
Today, Karla Chavez wears many different hats. She is a mother, a caregiver, a project coordinator at a construction company, an active member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), and student at UNC Charlotte in pursuit of her bachelor's degree with plans to obtain her masters.
"Central Piedmont helped me see myself in a place that I couldn't before," says Student Government Vice President and Opportunity Scholar Yeisha Calderon.
Your gift to the Central Piedmont Foundation powers a stronger future for students like Yeisha every day. Listen to her story below.
To donate, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/donation.
To learn more about Powering A Stronger Future, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/campaign.
Do you know a Central Piedmont Community College graduate who is making a tremendous difference in the community? Nominations are currently being sought for the 2020 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and the 2020 Young Alumni Award of Excellence. These awards recognize Central Piedmont graduates who have significantly benefited from their experiences at Central Piedmont and whose efforts have helped the community.
Nominations are being sought for individuals who have:
- demonstrated community involvement/professional involvement, social responsibility and impact
- acquired scholastic and learning skills that have led to continued personal and educational growth
- improved his or her economic status and social capital as a result of attending Central Piedmont
- invested in the lives of others and is seen as a role model
- graduated within the last 10 years (Young Alumni Award of Excellence only)
Individuals interested in applying should note:
- attendance at graduation is preferred
- political candidates may not be selected or honored in a year in which they are actively pursuing election or re-election
The college will recognize this year's winners at Central Piedmont's commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and a one-year scholarship will be granted to a Central Piedmont student in an area of study reflective of the winner's background.
Nomination forms are available on the Central Piedmont website.
Completed nomination forms should be submitted online; or mailed to Christa Newkirk, Office of Alumni Relations, P.O. Box 35009, Charlotte, NC, 28235. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 28, 2020, at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Christa Newkirk at email@example.com or call 704.330.6808.
Despite high school success, Kiara Palmer wasn't ready for the rigors of a four-year university. Therefore, she chose to begin her higher education journey at Central Piedmont in the fall of 2008.
While at Central Piedmont, Palmer demonstrated exemplary leadership skills both as part of the college's Phi Theta Kappa honor society and as a peer advisor in Career Services. She also gained hands-on experience by learning the inner workings of the television industry through an internship at CPCC-TV (now WTVI PBS Charlotte).
This experience helped her learn more about her area of study in journalism and mass communication. It opened doors at other radio and television stations, including WFAE, where she served as an intern. Soon after, Palmer graduated in May 2011, earning an Associate in Arts degree and transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, where she hit the ground running.
"Because of my time at Central Piedmont, I was ready for the rigors of UNC-Chapel Hill," she said. "I was confident in my abilities to do the work and anything that was required of me."
Since graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013, Palmer served as a TV assignment editor for WRAL-TV (Raleigh, NC) and WSOC-TV (Charlotte, NC). She then transitioned from broadcast news and worked for the National Institutes of Health as a communications specialist.
In May of 2019, Palmer earned her Master of Arts degree in strategic communications from American University in Washington, D.C., and is currently working as an account supervisor at Ogilvy Health, an international integrated public relations agency.
Palmer says she owes much of her success and personal development to Central Piedmont. Without the professors, college staff, and academic programming, Palmer says her journey wouldn't have been as fruitful.
"Central Piedmont has truly provided me with a solid foundation," she said. "This foundation has allowed me to not only to succeed academically but socially, mentally, and personally. I'm a better person because of Central Piedmont and wouldn't trade this experience for anything," says Kiara. Read more
Raven Bell is pursuing her dream of becoming a pediatrician at Central Piedmont. Your gift this #GivingTuesday helps empower students like Raven to reach their full potential and create #aStrongerFuture for all of us.
To donate, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/donation.
To learn more about Powering A Stronger Future, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/campaign.
Congratulations to Central Piedmont alumnus and 2018 Hagemeyer Award winner Chris Coleman for winning Food Network's Chopped!
After graduating from Hopewell High School, Brian LaBombard took a semester's worth of classes at Appalachian State. Twice. Both times, he realized that he wanted to be independent but was not quite ready to pursue a degree. Instead, he enlisted in the Army. When his enlistment ended four years later, he immediately applied to Central Piedmont and focused on his goal of earning a college degree. Now, Brian is both a United States Army veteran and a college graduate with an A.A.S. degree in Computer Engineering Technology.
Brian chose to attend Central Piedmont because he wanted a personal learning experience with classes that worked around his schedule. He also wanted to be part of a community dedicated to personal improvement and community contribution. He says, "Central Piedmont provided me with an amazing professional foundation to build upon. I enjoyed learning alongside great individuals and having outstanding professors. I also loved working in the Engineering Lab with state of the art equipment."
Dave Ross, one of Brian's former instructors at Central Piedmont, nominated Brian for an Outstanding Student award in 2015, describing Brian as, "a detail oriented student who produces high quality work and works hard to understand material beyond what is required."
One of the hallmarks of Central Piedmont's Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering Technology programs is that they are all ABET accredited. Central Piedmont is one of three community colleges in the state that earns this designation; only 17 institutions statewide do so. This accreditation ensures a high quality of education and enhances future employment opportunities for program graduates. As a graduate of Central Piedmont, Brian has benefitted from this accreditation, securing a position in his field even before he finished his degree. Brian explains, "I was able to land a position at Red Ventures while completing my final semester at Central Piedmont and have been with them since." He is currently a Desktop Support Engineer II.
He offers encouraging advice to prospective students, especially those that have not followed a traditional path to higher education. "Every assignment, quiz, and test you take is another brick in your professional foundation. Treat all of your work with a high level of importance; doing so will bring value to yourself and an appreciation for the dedication you've put into bettering your future. We can all become discouraged at times, but do not allow your failures to define you. Instead, let the solutions that you create become a beacon of inspiration to guide your future."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Central Piedmont Community College has launched the public phase of its "Powering a Stronger Future" campaign. The five-year fundraising effort seeks to raise $40 million the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the college's 56-year history.
The campaign will run through June 2022, and has raised $23.5 million during its two-year quiet phase.
"The Powering a Stronger Future campaign is about students and addressing the upward mobility challenges in Mecklenburg County," Central Piedmont President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer explained. "For those who want our community to thrive and want to make an investment education is a game changer. Central Piedmont is a great place to help students thrive and be successful in our community. I think there is no better investment for Mecklenburg's future."
The Powering a Stronger Future campaign priorities include:
- $15 million to fund student scholarships and support the student emergency fund;
- $9.5 million for student support services, such as academic and career advising, leadership opportunities, out-of-classroom experiences, enhanced disability services, and the Summer Bridge program that helps students prepare for their first semester of college;
- $9.5 million to further instructional excellence through support for programs, equipment and other resources and faculty;
- $5 million for specific programs that foster economic mobility, such as the Accelerated Career Training program for under- and unemployed adults, the early childhood education program that trains pre-K teachers, and strategic workforce partnerships; and
- $1 million for the college's annual fund to respond to evolving priorities and needs.
"Central Piedmont is a solid investment for donors because you see the results. You see the results in the lives of Central Piedmont graduates," Rodgers shared. "What they carry with them from Central Piedmont is the education of a lifetime, and it changes their lives and the lives around them.
"My time at Central Piedmont was life changing. It meant so much to me to have the opportunity to go to the Central Piedmont of my day. When I look at what Central Piedmont is now and the impact it makes, it is just amazing. I know the impact it had on my life, and I think it's fair to say, if you live in this community, Central Piedmont impacts your life as well," Rodgers added.
For more information about the Central Piedmont's Powering a Stronger Future campaign, see http://www.cpccfoundation.org/campaign, or call the Central Piedmont Foundation at 704.330.6869.
"Central Piedmont is a trusted entity," Deitemeyer said. "When this community considers the number of people we need going into the workforce and how we're going to move this great city to the next level that offers prosperity to all, it's going to take an education provider like Central Piedmont. So this campaign is about people and providing pathways to opportunity and greater economic mobility and personal success."
For updates on the progress of Powering a Stronger Future, visit our campaign updates page.
About Central Piedmont
Central Piedmont Community College is highly accessible and convenient to people of all ages who seek a real-world, affordable, hands-on education that will transform their lives and strengthen the economic, social, and cultural environment of Mecklenburg County. Central Piedmont is also a smart investment. At a fraction of the cost, students learn by doing, receiving a combination of technical and soft skills training from quality faculty who prepare them to enter the workforce and make a difference in their family, business, community, and world. Founded in 1963, Central Piedmont Community College has eight locations throughout Mecklenburg County, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma, and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special interest classes. For more information, visit cpcc.edu, or connect with the college on social media at cpcc.edu/social. Read more
Central Piedmont alumna, Omba Marilyn Thomas found success through the college's Dental Hygiene Program. Hear the story about her pathway to achievement and economic stability via her studies at Central Piedmont.
Central Piedmont's dental hygiene program offers a two-year associates degree as well as a one-year Dental Assisting diploma. Learn more about Central Piedmont's Dental Hygiene program. Read more
As an unemployed adult exploring her career options, Christina Clothier drew inspiration from the things in her life that she enjoyed. A positive experience with a high school laboratory internship led her to the field of Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT). She chose to attend Central Piedmont because it was affordable, convenient, and accessible. She summarizes her decision, "MLT seemed like a good fit that I could be satisfied doing, and Central Piedmont had such an approachable path that I could get there in two years."
Christina graduated with an AAS in MLT in May 2015 and has been working in her degree field since. Regarding the quality of her education at Central Piedmont, she says, "I am amazed by the peers I meet with BA degrees in my field whose education does not hold a candle to mine. I am so grateful and shocked by the quality of the education I received in my MLT classes and how well-prepared it made me for my career." This is not unusual for the MLT program at Central Piedmont, which has been in operation for over twenty years. In fact, graduates of the program have a 100% pass rate on the American Society of Clinical Pathology Board Certification exam.
In addition to the outstanding education Christina received at Central Piedmont, she was also able to take advantage of enrichment and social activities through campus clubs and organizations. One particularly memorable experience was the medical service learning trip to Peru. Not only has she benefitted personally and professionally from her involvement in campus activities, she has also received a scholarship at her current university through her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for students of two-year colleges.
Christina is currently working towards her BA in Allied Health and is on track to graduate this fall. As a first generation college student, she will be the first person in her family to reach this milestone accomplishment. Her long-term career goal is to work in a public health laboratory.
Christina encourages others to pursue a higher education at Central Piedmont as well. She says, "My education prepared me very well for real life situations. You will be so glad you did this. The work may be hard, but it is so worth it to build your career and find your place."
Share your own Central Piedmont journey and successes to be considered for a future spotlight.
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