PCC Note: Elementary school students participate in science activities on Earth Day

WINTERVILLE, NC — Students from a pair of Pitt County elementary schools visited the Pitt Community College campus this month to participate in “Crayons to College,” an event designed to introduce them to STEM-related career fields.

Held on April 22 at the Walter & Marie Williams Building, “Crayons to College” features PCC science instructors leading fifth graders from Falkland and Northwest elementary schools through a series of hands-on STEM activities. PCC, Pitt County Schools and NC BioNetwork are collaborating on the programme, which is part of AVID’s (Advancement Via Individual Determination) efforts to promote educational equity and increase college graduation rates “among a diverse and underrepresented demographic group”.

“This event was a great way to showcase Pitt Community College to a group of students who previously might have thought college wouldn’t be an option for them,” said PCC Biotechnology Department Chair Christina Weeks. “They all seemed so impressed with the campus, the buildings, the classes—and that was before we even started doing activities.”

Weeks said students rotated through five activities during their visit, each with an Earth Day theme. In addition to learning about photosynthesis, bioplastics, the water cycle, and how physical and chemical sunscreens protect against UV radiation, he says they are making preparations to participate in the Tomatosphere program.

“This is an opportunity for them to learn cool science and see how science can be fun,” he said. “It was a great event, and the kids came home tired and happy with lots of stories to tell their parents about science and Pitt Community College.”

Beginning in 2001, more than three million students have taken part in the Tomatosphere program, an award-winning initiative that has helped scientists investigate the effects of outer space on the food needed to support long-term human space travel.

Over the next few months, students visiting the PCC will compare tomato seeds that spent six weeks on the International Space Station with a “control” set that never left Earth. Their teachers can submit data from their classes online until January 2023.

PCC Symphony Orchestra to Perform in Winterville Tuesday Night

The PCC Symphony Orchestra will perform at Faith Assembly Church in Winterville on May 3.

The family-friendly concert, which is open to the public, starts at 7pm. Admission is free, but donations to support PCC’s music program will be accepted.

According to PCC Music & Drama Coordinator R. Michael Stephenson, the orchestra will feature music from Ukraine and nearby countries that support Ukrainian immigrants. The concert will also feature “Hungarian Rhapsodies” 5 & 6 by Johannes Brahms, “Waltz” by Finnish composer Ilari Hylkilia, and a selection of “West Side Story” in honor of American composer Stephen Sondheim, who died in November.

For more information, contact Stephenson at rstephenson@email.pittcc.edu or (252) 493-7493.

PCC students and alumni spoke with representatives from 16 regional companies on Wednesday about job and internship opportunities. (PCC photo)

PCC Career Services Holds On-Campus Recruitment Event for Students and Alumni

For the first time in nearly three years, PCC Career Services is hosting an on-campus recruitment event to give students and alumni the opportunity to meet local employers about career potential.

Held on April 27, the “Spring Recruitment Event” drew 83 attendees to the college’s Davenport Function Room. There, they met 16 local entrepreneurs looking to fill various positions and have full and part-time internships.

PCC Careers Services Coordinator Arwen Parris said due to health safety concerns stemming from the pandemic, Wednesday’s program was the first on-campus employer recruitment event his department has organized since January 2020. The last recruitment event hosted by PCC Careers, he said, was the Community Career Fair on June 2019.

“We are delighted to have employers back on campus, meeting our students where they are,” Parris said. “We want our students to connect with companies to learn about the career paths their education and training brings, so they have a clearer vision of their future.”

PCC Entrepreneur Relations Specialist Reggie Baker said that the entrepreneurs present were also eager to meet the students. “They have a variety of open positions that the PCC can help fill, due to the scope of our short-term academic and training program,” he said.

Together with representatives from the PCC Basic Law Enforcement Training program and the Center for Academic Success & Tutorials, the following businesses took part in the recruiting event: Bayada Home Health Care, University of East Carolina, Food Lion, Grady-White Ship, Greenville Utilities, Grover Gaming, Morgan Corp. ., Novant Health, Pitt County Juvenile Detention Center, Smithfield Foods, Thermo Fisher, VICTRA, Vidant Medical Center, and Wilson County Department of Social Services.

To further assist students in the job search process, Parris says PCC Career Services hired photographer Rob Taylor to take portraits that they can use in their professional portfolio. He said a total of 72 students, lecturers and staff took advantage of the service.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to get a free professional portrait, whether it’s being used to enhance an online image or for personal enjoyment,” says Parris.

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