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​Our Stories

Career Center Spotlight: Jori Johnson

Felicia Williams, Career Center Monday, April 7, 2014

Jori3.jpgWhen I decided I wanted to go to college, I had no clue what I wanted to major in or even any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. That’s when I got in contact with Felicia Williams, a career services counselor at the Career Center, who helped me find a career path. 

Felicia met with me and asked me what I liked to do, which for me are things like playing volleyball, working, and of course shopping! Then she emailed me links to different websites that had surveys and tests to see which field of work or major would best suit my interests and skills. After completing a few, I narrowed down my options to personal stylist, merchandising, retail management, and product development. From there I was able to research each major and job to find out which appealed to me the most. Finally, I decided I would like to major in retail marketing and product development.  

With this major I can be anything from a sports manager to an Apple iPhone marketer, a retail shopper to a fashion marketer. I love the options my major gives me, the ability to reach into different fields of work and also be able to work with fashion. 

Felicia Williams not only helped me find the right career for me, she also helped me pick a college that I want to attend after TCC to get me there. I choose FSU because it has a wonderful retail marketing program. I have now found a job, a major and have jumpstarted my college classes. I don't know how I would have made these decisions without Felicia! #iamsuccess   

Jori Johnson is 18 years old and a freshman at Tallahassee Community College. She hopes to graduate from TCC with her Associate in Arts degree, after which she plans on transferring to Florida State University to major in retail marketing and product development. 

Exploring a new world with TCC's professional diving courses

Gregg Stanton, faculty Monday, December 2, 2013

​Adapted from original article published in the ​Wakulla News.​

AlicePhone.JPGAs a species, we relate to the underwater world in several ways. For the vast majority, this inhospitable realm is full of mystical creatures, darkness and fear, and best avoided. Then there are those who embrace the underwater world as a recreation. In search of adventure, these intrepid souls learn to breathe from machines that enable them to submerge into the liquid world and become a creature, however briefly, of the aquatic realm. 

A fraction of these people become professionals in a wide number of careers where they can apply their trade underwater. Commercial diving is challenging, but exciting, and can be quite a lucrative career. 

Of course, there is a wider application of the term “professional diving” such as scientists, engineers, criminologists, chemists, anthropologists, etc., who all investigate their topics underwater. I am of the generation that defined these folks as Diving Scientists, a title that does not necessarily require a PhD. For example, the park ranger who monitors the spring for water quality, the Department of Natural Resources agent that surveys the fish or scallop populations to guide policy managers deciding population control, and the crime scene detective recovering a submerged fatality, they are all professionals that dive.    

Until recently these folks were trained by specialists within their respective disciplines, through recreational dive shops, or they went to one the few colleges that provided programs.   

Beginning this January, Tallahassee Community College’ s Wakulla Environmental Institute (WEI), in concert with Wakulla Diving Center, will offer a semester-long course called Introduction to Professional Diving.  In 16 weeks, this survey class will train (to certification) students in basic diving skills, and expose them to additional life support tools of the trade. Examples include: hose diving, side mount, rebreathers and ROV. They will also use the Florida A&M University pool in cooperation with their Aquatics Program to provide an ideal training opportunity.   

Wonderfully, this class will be the first of many yet to come as the Institute continues to grow. For more information on this initiative and WEI, read the full news release.

​Since his retirement from FSU and the Advanced Science Diving Program in Panama City a decade ago, and before that over 20 years directing the Academic Diving Program in Tallahassee, Professor Gregg Stanton returns to academia to teach Professional Diving through the TCC Wakulla Environmental Institute. His three decades of wisdom from educating and training future underwater specialist will be offered through a series of courses, beginning in January with a three credit course called Introduction to Professional Diving. 


TCC student Steve Murray earns scholarship for winning essay

Steve Murray 6.JPGSteve Eric Murray, a student at Tallahassee Community College, is the winner of the Florida Developmental Education Association’s Student Success Essay Scholarship Competition.    

Murray learned in early October that his essay, “How Do I Measure Success?” had been selected for the $500 scholarship. Marguerite Jones, scholarship committee chair for FDEA, said that the committee was impressed with Murray’s consistently good grades and with the message of his essay.

“He stated that he measures success by the positive actions he takes in life. He has a positive attitude and does not let unfortunate events hold him back from the things he wants to accomplish. He is a very motivated individual, and that is what helped us make the decision to choose Steve as a recipient for this scholarship,” Jones said.   

Murray, 44, is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has lived in Tallahassee for five years. When he enrolled at TCC in January of 2013, Murray had been out of school since 1992. However, returning to college as an adult student was not as difficult as Murray feared. “When you have good teachers, it takes the weight off of starting school again.” Murray is working toward an Associate in Science degree in Business Administration and would like to have a career in the hotel industry.  

20131107_131609.jpgMurray’s developmental writing instructor, Ellenar Harper, is not surprised that he won the scholarship. “He rarely, if ever, missed class. He was a class leader, he participated in class discussions, and he was diligent about getting his work done. He usually completed his writing assignments several days before they were due, and he took the initiative to get additional help with his writing by visiting the Learning Commons and submitting to Smarthinking multiple times.” Smarthinking is an online tutoring service that TCC makes available to its students.   

Murray, who is now enrolled in College Composition (ENC 1101), described how he benefitted from Harper’s course. “I learned how to open my mind and express myself. I also got back to the basics, like commas and parallel sentences.” In addition to being a student, Murray is also a minister, and he feels that the class has helped him write better sermons.   

For more information, contact the TCC Communications Office at (850) 201-6049 or

TCC faculty member’s art reaches wider audience

Miranda1-1.jpgCarlos Miranda has taught multimedia studies at Tallahassee Community College for 15 years. He has been an artist for even longer.

Miranda, whose work encompasses photography, painting and digital painting, was recently accepted as a member of a worldwide artist community exhibiting through the online branch of the prestigious Saachi Gallery of London. The artist said that his participation in Saachi Online is the first time all of his work has been hosted at a single location.

The wide reach of Saachi Online, and the fact that visitors may order prints of works, not only originals, expands Miranda’s opportunities to reach art collectors and art lovers. In fact he has already sold his first print through the gallery. “I am excited about this new prospect,” he said.

Miranda teaches several courses that are part of the graphic design and computer game design programs in TCC’s Division of Technology and Professional Programs. The course that he finds connects most directly with his work as an artist is Photoshop. “I try to teach my students how to look at photo retouching and photo manipulation from an artistic point of view, not just as a software technique,” said Miranda.

Miranda is also an independent filmmaker and cinematographer and served as director of the Tallahassee Film Festival’s 48 Hour Film Contest in 2010.

The Saatchi Gallery is one of the most-visited art museums in London. It is an important forum for contemporary art, and has helped many young artists launch their careers. Saatchi Online allows a greater number of artists to exhibit and sell their work and attract the attention of art lovers and art collectors.

Miranda’s work may be viewed at For information, contact Carlos Miranda at or (850) 201-8275.Miranda3-1.jpg

Career Center Spotlight: Jael Andreu

Felicia Williams, staff Thursday, October 24, 2013

​​JaelAndreu.jpgI now have a goal; I have a plan, and a path to follow. Thanks to career counselor Felicia Williams at the TCC Career Center and the Florida Choices Web site, I was able to find a career that matched my interests and a major and the adequate education program for it. 

It was one of those busy orientation days at TCC a couple of weeks before fall classes. I was helping a friend find a guidance counselor. While doing that, I ran into a former high school classmate. She asked the magical question everyone asks a college student: What is your major? After saying a string of things, I came to the conclusion that I had no idea. 

She immediately referred me to career counselor Felicia Williams and I went to see her that same day. I was welcomed warmly into her office and we began to talk. She asked me questions to get a sense of what I needed help with and we quickly found that I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to study. We ended up talking about my fears of failing and about fears of the future and I’m not ashamed to admit I ended up in tears. Ms. Williams was patient and gave me words of reassurance. She told me, “There is something for everyone; we just have to find it.” 

Ms. Williams immediately directed me to and explained how it works. I made a profile and with the help of the Interest Profile test, I was able to explore about 500 careers that matched the test results. There were all kinds of options I had never even thought to look at. It helped open my eyes. 

I walked into Ms. Williams’ office completely lost, confused, and uncertain about my future in education. I walked out with direction and purpose ready to work toward my next step.​​

I was quickly able to narrow my search down to the top five careers that caught my attention. Then I did more digging on these by looking into the education and skills required, salaries, and employment opportunities and finally, I was able to narrow it down to one I really liked and felt confident about. The career I found was Web Developer which belongs to the Information Technology cluster. 

I went back to see Ms. Williams feeling very satisfied and excited with what I had found. She was very pleased seeing the significant change in my confidence and attitude. My next step is to work hard to get into the Information, Communication, and Technology program at FSU’s College of ​Communication and Information​

The truth is I walked into Ms. Williams’ office completely lost, confused, and uncertain about my future in education. I walked out with direction and purpose ready to work toward my next step.  

Jael Andreu is currently a sophomore at TCC working on an Associate in Arts degree. After graduation, she plans on applying to Florida State University's Information, Communication and Technology Program where she hopes to continue her studies in communication and media studies.

TCC alum Freda King wins statewide award

Freda King headshot.jpgTallahassee Community College alumna Freda King has won a LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Award from the Association of Florida Colleges. TCC nominated King for the statewide honor in the Against the Odds category. The award will be presented at a gala dinner in Orlando on November 14, 2013.

Ranie Thompson, development officer at the TCC Foundation, said that when she was asked to recommend a nominee, King’s was the first name that came to mind—not only because of her inspiring story, but also because she has used her education to benefit others.  

King was struggling with addiction and poverty when she began to turn her life around at age 36. The high school dropout earned her GED diploma and associate’s degree at TCC and later graduated from Florida State University.

She is now a certified addiction specialist and works for Disc Village in an educational and social service program for inmates of the Leon County Jail. She also coordinates the Dress for Success Going Places program, which helps women develop employability skills.

King is active as a volunteer as well, leading group sessions on life skills and healthy relationships for inmates at the federal women’s prison in Tallahassee. She also makes motivational speeches to groups of youth and adults.

King said that TCC played a vital role in her success. “I came to TCC unsure if I could achieve college success. I left a woman with pride and determination, believing that I could obtain my goals and reach success. TCC helped me become the woman I am today, and I will be forever grateful.”

While working on her associate’s degree, King received a scholarship through the TCC Foundation that allowed her to stay in school. She graduated with a 3.5 grade point average, was student of the year in 2003 and gave the commencement address at graduation.

Just before she graduated magna cum laude from FSU in 2010, Freda’s soldier son Brandon was killed in Afghanistan. To honor him, Freda and her family created the Brandon Michael King Scholarship to help deserving students attend TCC.

“TCC is proud to call Freda King our own. She has become a leader by giving back to her community,” said Jim Murdaugh, TCC president.

TCC Channel 22 has produced a short video about King’s story to show during the awards gala:  

TCC's John Fair championed change as congressional intern

John-with-Congressman-Hastings.jpgTCC student and Tallahassee native John Fair was one of 16 college students from across the nation who spent the summer on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC as part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Foster Youth Internship (FYI) program.  This summer-long assignment provides individuals who have spent time in the United States foster care system with an opportunity to intern in a Congressional office, and share their experiences, opinions and unique perspectives with policymakers in Congress. Fair interned in Representative Alcee Hastings’ office.

“John came to Washington not only as foster youth intern, but as a voice of every child in the foster care system,” said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of CCAI. “Not a day goes by that I am not inspired by the courage and tenacity of these youth. Each and every day, they use their voice on behalf of those who do not have one. They reveal their scars in the hope that others won’t have these same wounds inflicted upon them.”

John and his twin brother were separated at age 12 when they entered the foster care system and were not reunited until 4 years later when they were placed in the same group home. Upon aging out of the system, John knew he wanted to dedicate his life to helping children in foster care.

“Being in the foster care system helped open my eyes and be thankful for my circumstances. It helped me find my life passion—to help improve the lives of youth that are currently in the shoes that I was in,” said Fair. “That being said, my experience in the system could have been better with more positive community involvement and greater awareness of my situation made to the schools, police department and churches.”

Since 1999, more than 230,000 young people have transitioned from foster care without permanent family connections. Only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent of all 19 year olds). Fair overcame the odds and graduated from Rickards High School. He is pursuing a degree in Social Work and Business from Tallahassee Community College.

As part of their assignment, FYIs research issues impacting children in foster care across the country and compile their findings and recommendations into a policy report. This document is presented at a Congressional briefing and shared with child welfare advocates across the country. In past years, these reports have generated both local and national attention to the critical issues facing the 400,540 children currently in the United States foster care system.

“It has been my experience that the voices of foster care alumni are the ones we should be listening to more than any others,” Strottman said. “When they speak, things actually stand a chance of getting better. Not because their stories remind us of how far we have yet to go, but because their ingenuity and passion for making a difference show us just how far we can reach.”

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) ( is a non-profit organization that educates and raises awareness of the needs of children without families. By convening policymakers, issue experts and individuals with direct foster care or adoption experience, CCAI works to ensure that every child knows the love and support of a family. To learn more about CCAI, follow the organization on Twitter (, Facebook ( and YouTube (

China Study Abroad Program 2013

In conjunction with Tianjin Foreign Studies University, located just 30 minutes from the national capital city of Beijing, students who participated in this year's study abroad program to China studied Chinese history and culture, as well as basic Chinese language expressions and words. Students worked in teams with Chinese students to develop a plan for a Chinese business, one that will eventually be exported to the United States. We also had numerous excursions and trips to Beijing, Xian and the local countryside. Take a look at our travels and adventures.

Adams Thriving Thanks to TCC Career Center Opportunities

Danielle Adams - TCC - 5.1.13.JPGComing from Sanford, a small town in Central Florida, Danielle Adams wanted to spread her wings and explore new opportunities. This is what led her to Tallahassee Community College in Spring 2012.  While at TCC, she participated in Connect2Complete, an on-campus program that allows students in developmental and college success courses to work one-on-one with other students and Peer Leaders.  Connect2Complete led Danielle to the Career Center where she discovered information about the internship program.  She applied for an internship, but the Career Center staff quickly realized that what she really needed was a job.    

In her internship interview with Li Pon, Danielle revealed that she did not have access to professional clothing and that money was tight.  Fortunately, Pon was able to provide a solution—Dress for Success Tallahassee (DFST). The Tallahassee chapter of the international organization Dress for Success was established in 2010. They “desire to empower women with the skills sets and professional image required to become employed and succeed in the workplace.” As a new community partner with TCC, Danielle was the first student to utilize the wonderful services of this organization. 

Danielle’s experience with DFST was, as she put it, “amazing!” At her first “suiting appointment,” a friendly volunteer helped her choose a business suit, handbag and shoes, all free of charge. Armed with some great tips from the Career Center and dressed to impress, Danielle then went on to several job interviews. After landing a part-time job as a customer service representative at Events Photography Group, Danielle was then eligible to return to DFST to receive three more professional outfits, again, at no charge.   

Today, Danielle is holding down her job while taking classes at TCC. “I love the diversity of campus,” said Danielle. “It’s something I rarely saw in Sanford, and everyone at TCC has been so friendly.”  

  Tallahassee has definitely become home for Danielle. She will start at FSU this August where she hopes to double major in Criminal Justice and African American Studies. She has had such a positive experience that she also encouraged her own mother to return to college who has now just completed her first college course at Seminole State. ​

Hollinger Leading the Way at TCC and in the Community

Hollinger-Obama.jpgBy the time he enrolled at Tallahassee Community College in August 2012 at the age of 18, Delaitre J. Hollinger had already filled his resume with accomplishments.  An early high school graduate, Hollinger was recognized as an emerging young leader in 2008 by the Tallahassee Democrat and was honored as the 2010-11 “Youth of the Year” by the Capital Outlook. At age 15, he became the youngest person to be appointed to a major university committee at Florida A&M and he served as the vice president of the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP Youth Council from 2010 to 2011. This past summer, he was also honored with the 2012-13 National Little Brother of the Year award affording him a chance to travel with his mentor and Big Brother, Brent Hartsfield, to Washington D.C., where he met President Barack Obama.   

As an aspiring public servant, Hollinger has served as a page for the Florida Senate and a messenger for the Florida House of Representatives. As a writer, his articles have been featured in the Capital Outlook, the Cincinnati Herald, the L.A. Watts Times and the Tallahassee Democrat, and he recently published his first book, And This Too Shall Pass:The Story of Aquilina C. Howell. He has also served as a curator for the Taylor House Museum of African American History since 2011. His accolades and service to the community go on and on.   

HollingerSpeaking1-crop.jpgPerhaps one of his most public roles was as a candidate for city commissioner. Last fall, Hollinger made history by becoming the youngest person ever to run for public office in Tallahassee. Though he did not win, he garnered the praise of his role model, City Commissioner and TCC friend, Andrew Gillum, for his “passion and love and a demonstrated history in serving [the] community.” (Gillum, who was featured on TCC22’s The SKiNNY last fall, set a record himself for being the youngest person to ever be elected to public office in Tallahassee at the age of 23.)    

One would think meeting the President of the United States, or making history in city politics would be the highlight of Hollinger’s year. However, Hollinger’s passions lie closer to home.   

“Most definitely, my most rewarding college experiences have been with TCC's Student Government Association. We have monthly meetings that deal with student issues and we relay those concerns, as well as the concerns of elected Executive Board members and Senators, to the college administration,” explains Hollinger. “The trip to the American Student Association of Community Colleges National Student Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Tampa has probably been my most cherished experience.”   


"I believe that when we work together for a common goal, it’s amazing what can happen.​"


Hollinger was elected Senator of Communications and Humanities for TCC’s Student Government Association in September 2012. Through his role in the SGA, he was appointed as chair of the Constitutional Review Committee and serves as the Intercollegiate Ambassador to Florida A&M. Other TCC activities include being a member of the Black Male Achievers student organization and a feature in the TCC's 2013 Cherry Hall Alexander African-American History Calendar.   

The key to all Delaitre’s success resides in his willingness to contribute in as many different ways as possible. His Twitter profile describes him as a senator (TCC), author, community activist, volunteer, reporter (Capital Outlook) and curator (Taylor House Museum). He is one of TCC’s most active social media followers, constantly staying up-to-date on the latest College happenings.   

Though he remains busy with his many different commitments, Hollinger’s ambitious gaze remains focused on his education and his dreams for the future. “I am a journalism major, and hope to earn my A.A. in journalism [from TCC] and then a bachelor’s degree in journalism and African-American studies from Florida A&M University.” said Hollinger. “I believe in helping others, preserving history and culture, doing what is right, leaving my community and those who live in it better off than when I found it, and I believe that everyone deserves a fair shot. I believe that when we work together for a common goal, it’s amazing what can happen.”

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