Snapshots of the Class of 2015
Members of the Class of 2015 talk about their goals and how John Tyler Community College impacted their lives.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services
“I am excited to be finished, but I am sad to be leaving the people who have helped me discover who I am supposed to be. John Tyler has given me the tools I need in order to succeed!”
Jason Brown is grateful for second chances, and he’s determined to open doors for people who may feel they have no options. That’s what he says John Tyler Community College did for him. Jason describes himself as a recovering substance abuse user. His life experiences taught him valuable lessons, and he believes he has much to share with those dealing with similar challenges. That’s why he decided to pursue a Human Services degree at John Tyler. He says, before Tyler, doors kept getting shut, and now, his opportunities are many. As he counts down the days to graduation, Jason is already looking ahead to the next step in his journey. He’s wants to continue his education at Virginia State University, earn a bachelor’s degree, and work in substance abuse counseling.
Silvia Garcia Murcia
Associate of Science in General Studies, Science
“When I think about graduating from John Tyler, I feel happy and excited because this is one more step accomplished, and I also feel sad because I have to leave all the people that helped me be where I'm now.”
Silvia Garcia Murcia’s life has taken some unexpected turns, but one thing has held constant – her desire to work in health care. Silvia was born in Honduras and moved to the United States, where she ended up in the foster-care system. She taught herself English, and after graduating from high school, enrolled at John Tyler Community College. When she started at Tyler, Garcia Murcia immediately got involved with the College’s Great Expectations program, which provided her with a variety of resources and support – things for which she’s grateful. Silvia wants others to know that their lives can change too. She regularly reaches out to friends in the Hispanic community and encourages them to get an education. After graduating from Tyler, Silvia will transfer to the University of Richmond, where she received a full scholarship. She plans to study biology there, and after completing her bachelor’s degree, she wants to enter a physician’s assistant program.
Jé Mira Johnson
Associate of Science in Business Administration
“When I think about graduation, it makes me feel so great! I feel like I am another step closer to achieving my dreams, and I didn't need to take out any loans to do it!”
Jé Mira Johnson likes a good challenge. That’s why she’s pursuing a career in business. As one of eight children, sticking to a budget is important. So, with an eye toward finances, she opted to make John Tyler Community College the first stop in her college career. Tyler’s flexible course schedule; approachable faculty, staff and administrators; resources; and student activities surprised Jé Mira. She says Tyler helped her get an internship with the Chesterfield Chamber, where she gained valuable hands-on, real-world skills. Jé Mira says thanks to her experiences at Tyler, she feels prepared for the next steps in her education and for her future career. After graduation, she hopes to continue her education at George Mason University.
Associate of Science in General Studies
"When I think about walking across the stage at commencement, I think about how JTCC has prepared me to walk confidently into the next chapter of my life. Tyler has been such a profound part of my life and I am so grateful for the experiences I had here."
Hanna Lamphere wants to help children realize their potential the way others have helped her discover hers. She wants to do that by becoming a teacher, then a school counselor, and eventually a school principal. Hanna’s path to realizing her dream took an unexpected turn when she decided to leave the four-year college that she had enrolled in right out of high school. She said she felt in over her head and was left frustrated by the experience. After taking a few years off from school, Hannah realized it was time to refocus her efforts. She wanted a college education, so, she signed up for classes at John Tyler. Hanna says Tyler’s faculty and staff inspire her to push herself. And thanks to that encouragement, Hanna says she’s become more confident in her abilities, and she’s gained the courage to dream big. After earning her degree at Tyler, she plans to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to complete a bachelor’s degree. She eventually wants to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate degree.
Alexandria “Alex” Ritchie
Associate of Science in Engineering
"My time at John Tyler has changed my life. It's opened my eyes to all I can be if I work hard, persevere through the trials, and believe in my dreams."
Alexandria “Alex” Ritchie knows what she wants to do. Graduate from John Tyler Community College with a degree in engineering. Transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to continue studying biomedical engineering. Apply to medical school, and become a physician. This is not just a well-thought-out career pathway for Alex – it’s a personal journey. When she was 13, her parents sat her down and told her about a sibling she had never known – one who had suffered from a chromosome deficiency. The story ignited a spark in Alex, and driven by the desire to help others, she put together a strategy for her education. At first, a two-year degree from John Tyler was not in her plan, but a change in finances prompted her to enroll in the College’s Engineering Program. Alex never looked back. Instead, she immersed herself in her studies and in student life at Tyler. Now, she’s preparing to move into the next phase of her education plan. She will be continuing her studies at VCU, where she’s already been accepted into the biomedical engineering program.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, Pre-Social Work
“My time at John Tyler has meant so much to me. I had the chance to grow not only educationally. I found me during my time at JTCC. I learned who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do in life. I met amazing people along the way who helped me grow and when life tried to get in the way they pulled me back in. I got so many opportunities I never thought possible.”
Amber Staton wants to make a difference in the lives of people who are facing life-altering challenges. Her passion for the field of human services stems from her own experiences. She has survived the suicide of a close family member; has been homeless; and is a mother who is juggling family needs with work and school. It’s not easy, but Amber is determined. She says she’s thankful for what she’s discovered at John Tyler. She’s found strong mentors in the teaching faculty, financial support through scholarships and work-study opportunities, and flexible class schedules that help her balance her many responsibilities. Amber says she’s ready for her next challenge: completing a bachelor’s degree. She will do that at Mary Baldwin College, where she’s been accepted into the social work program. Eventually, she hopes to own a clinic that provides counseling services.
Associate of Science in General Studies, Teacher Specialization
“Graduating from John Tyler gives me the confidence to continue my education at a four-year university.”
Asein Ta believes education is vital. He also believes in the importance of giving back. Because of that, he not only wants to become an elementary school teacher, he wants to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Asein was born in a rural area of Myanmar (Burma), and after losing his parents, he moved to Thailand, where he lived in refugee camps for more than four years. When the opportunity arose to move to another country, Asein asked to be taken to the United States. In 2008, he came to Virginia and was placed in the foster care system. He first learned about John Tyler Community College while taking dual enrollment courses in high school. When he found out about Tyler’s Great Expectations program, which offers support and guidance to foster youth who want to get a college education, Asein says he knew the College would be a good fit for him. Asein says he feels like he’s part of a family at John Tyler. He loves the College’s diversity, and he believes Tyler is helping students make better lives for themselves. After his graduation from Tyler, Asein will transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to work on a bachelor’s and then master’s degree.
View Class Snapshots Archive for previous class snapshots.