Category Archives: Shout Outs

Durham Tech employees take on new roles

Durham Tech congratulates the following employees on their new roles:

Linda Hall – Career Coach
Melissa Chappell – Executive Director, Foundation/Director Institutional Advancement
Tom Jaynes – Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff
Janet Alspaugh – Clinical Coordinator/Instructor, Opticianry
Tracy Bennett – Director, Opticianry Program

Durham Tech’s Angie Jones is Making History

cover photo

Photo by: Mel Brown

“Angie Jones, Master Inventor: Black History in the Making”

Story by: Phyllis Coley, Spectacular Magazine

After just one computer course… Angie Jones of Durham was hooked. Now the inventor and Consulting Automation Engineer is on a mission in hopes of spreading technology fever to other young African American females near and far.

She is all too familiar with being grouped in the 2 percent of minorities that make up the technology workforce. She notes, for black women, that number is less than 1 percent.

Angie remembers plenty of times when she was the only African American female in her college classrooms as well as her early work settings.  “It was 12 years before I got to write a program with another black woman,” she said. “There’s something wrong with that.”

Angie is a trailblazer in her field.

The professional “techie” works as a Consulting Automation Engineer at LexisNexis, located on the campus of NC State University. She holds 20 patents in the US and China and is considered a Master Inventor in the industry, known for her innovative and out-of-the-box thinking style.  Angie shares her wealth of knowledge by speaking and teaching internationally at software conferences and serving as an Adjunct Computer Science Professor at Durham Technical Community College.

Among other notable publications, Angie has been featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the country’s 30 young leaders under the age of 30.

She has dedicated countless hours to exposing more women like herself to the world of technology.

Angie is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Tennessee State University as well as a master’s degree in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. She said her father encouraged her to go into the field of technology.

Her love of fashion and gaming led her to develop Diva Chix, an online fashion designing game.

She said before then, computer fashion games were less than challenging. “After your dressed up the doll, that was it,” she said, “It got boring really fast.”

Angie’ online fashion game keeps its participants engaged. The players graphically design the clothes and upload them to the website. In its eighth year, the game has drawn more than 250,000 players nationwide.

Players from all over the country are able to communicate and collaborate while they are competing for the top spot.

But it’s not just a game. The Diva Chix mission is twofold. Angie’ first mission was to make gaming and fashion more fun and interesting.

The next goal is introducing young girls to the field of technology and how to run their own businesses. For example, the gamers learn basic principles of business such as supply and demand and team building. “They learn how to run their own shop,” she said.

Angie said the demographic makeup of her classroom at Durham Tech still mirrors the technology industry numbers across the country. That is why initiatives like hers and CODE2040 are so important.

African American females can offer a different perspective in this ever growing field simply because they come from a different background.

“You can come up with your own ideas and be successful in this field,” Angie said. “We can solve real world problems.”

Angie extensive work doesn’t stop there. She also volunteers to teach technology workshops such as Designing Mobile Apps and Website Development for several organizations in the community such as Black Girls Code, TechGirlz, Hi-Tech Teens, and Alpha Kappa Alphas SMART Camp. She also mentors black technology students from Duke and North Carolina Central Universities.

Last year, she joined forces with Doug Speight and the CODE2040 initiative under the American Underground umbrella in Durham. She is now the lead of the Raleigh-Durham Chapter of Black Girls Code, a group that focuses on teaching tech to black girls ages 7 to 18 years old. The organization recently sponsored an outing for the young girls to see the inspirational movie ‘Hidden Figures’.

Angie loves to see the girls let their imaginations run wild.

Angie said the opportunities in technology are endless, adding there are jobs in programming, graphic design, robotics and developing mobile apps. “I never met a programmer … I didn’t even know what that was,” she said. “I want girls to know that this is a possible career path.”

Full Story:

Hometown Hero: Leah Tilden

Leah1-300x220Congrats to our very own Leah Tilden, Coordinator, EMS Extension Services, for being recognized as WCHL’s Hometown Hero! 

Story by: Victor Lewis, WCHL

This week’s Hometown Hero, Leah Tilden, is a Level II EMS instructor and UNC alumnus with a degree in psychology and a graduate certificate in community preparedness/disaster management.

“It’s an exciting time in EMS,” said Tilden. “Because community paramedicine is becoming a really big thing. We’ve realized that EMS providers shouldn’t just be taking people to the emergency room, they should be helping them mitigate the reasons that cause them to end up in the emergency room.”

Tilden teaches at Durham Technical Community College’s Orange County Campus, leading classes and practical exercises with future EMTs.

“I am continuing education coordinator for [Durham Tech’s] EMS program,” said Tilden. “So I help manage all of the initial provider EMT paramedic classes, continuing education for local fire departments, and American Heart Association CPR and first aid classes.”

Tilden has extensive experience in the field of emergency medicine and crisis relief, but her career began by taking a chance on a course during her time as a student at UNC.

“I thought I was originally going to go into psychology and took the EMT class for fun. I fell in love with EMS and kind of just kept pursing that direction … I ended up getting my Master’s in public health from East Carolina”

After discovering her passion for EMS work, Tilden took to working locally to gain experience and insight.

“I started about 16 or 17 years ago with South Orange Rescue Squad out of Carrboro,” said Tilden. “An all-volunteer organization, we do everything from EMS service in the local area, water rescue, confined spaces, high angle … I really got my start in water rescue. It’s what I’ve always really loved most.”

Tilden’s commitment to serving the community doesn’t end in crisis situations and ambulances, however. According to Roxie Edwards, a co-worker at Durham Tech, Tilden “was the reason we far exceeded donations for the Food Bank,” referring to donations to Durham Tech’s “Campus Harvest” pantry.

“My family has always been really big into volunteering and giving back to our community, as long as I can remember,” said Tilden. “People with food insecurities has been what’s called to me. I give to my local pantry and Durham Tech has a pantry that supports our students, so I help organize a couple months a year where the EMS program actually sponsors Durham Tech’s food pantry specifically.”

Working within any given community helps to forge strong bonds with those living there, but work that contributes to the overall good of the whole inevitably makes those ties bind even tighter. Work like teaching, or providing food and medicine.

“Leah strives to make sure that our EMS students receive the best teaching we have to offer,” said Edwards. “She is always there, willing to help anyone accomplish their goals.”

Luckily for Leah, and for the rest of us, she finds joy in what she does.

“I love what I do and not everybody gets to say that,” said Tilden. “I started thinking I was going to go one way in my career and end up an EMS, which I really loved, and then that turned into a teaching career. There’s nothing better than getting to teach what you love, so I get to help bring all these new EMTs and paramedics into our community.”

Durham Tech’s Wilder and Parrish get published

Durham Tech’s very own Paula Wilder, Director of Academic English as a Foreign Language, and Michele Parrish, Instructor of Information Systems Security/Networking Technologies, had articles recently published in prominent online journals.

Wilder’s “Fostering an Environment for ESL Student Success in College and University Writing” was published in NC State’s Dialogues: An Interdisciplinary Journal of English Language Teaching Research Vol. 1.1. Her article seeks to increase awareness of students’ cultural, linguistic, and syntactical differences and help faculty provide students with a place to discuss the writing differences among their cultures and foster opportunities for students to succeed in their writing assignments. Read more. Additionally, Wilder will be speaking at the TESOL 2017 International Convention and English Language Expo on March 20 from 5:00 – 9:00 pm in Seattle, Washington. Wilder’s topic will be “Designing Interactive Classrooms: Discussion Strategies for ELLs.” Learn more.

Parrish’s “Software Defined Networks: What Is it and Why Do We Need It?” was published by InfoSec Writers, an online source for information security. In the article, Parrish examines components of Software Defined Networks (SDN), types of SDNs, and reasons and benefits for using SDN. This is the fourth article written by Parrish that has been published by InfoSec Writers; all written as part of her work earning her Masters in Network Technology from East Carolina University, with a concentration on Computer Networking Management. She will graduate in May 2017. Read more.

Paula and Michele, we are so proud of your accomplishments and for representing the Durham Tech community in such a positive light! #DoGreatThings



Shout out to Leah Tilden

From Sally Parlier:
“After Thanksgiving, the Durham Tech food pantry got an impressive donation from Leah Tilden, clinical coordinator for the EMS program at OCC. We wanted to give her a shout out.

“Every year, Leah’s mother asks guests at Thanksgiving to bring food to donate to a nonprofit organization. This year, Leah’s mother chose the Durham Tech Campus Harvest Food Pantry. Leah and her family collected nearly 100 pounds of food for us, which will help feed the 50 to 60 students we see each week! I think this is a wonderful tradition that many of us could start with our own families and friends around this time.”

Leah Food pantry donation

The photo, taken by Jaclyn Krohn, is of all the donations packed into Penny Gluck’s car for delivery.”


Shout out from a recent grad

Instructors Michele Parrish, Harry Bulbrook, Scott Neal, Greg Mimmack, Sedrick White, and Ryland Page received the following thank-you note from 2014 grad Paul Pacheco:

I want to thank all of you for your support, encouragement, opportunities offered, and for a wonderful academic experience. While it was only two years ago, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was in my first college class in 25 years. That summer course (NOS110) with Michele Parrish was my testing ground. I felt that if I could get through that one class to get a feel for the return to academia, I could actually retrain myself for the 21st century and pursue a degree (or two!). Two years later, as you all know, I finished with two AAS degrees and five certificates.

The day after commencement, I interviewed for and was chosen to be part of a two-year program for EMC Corporation here in RTP. The first eight weeks is referred to as Bootcamp; the name is an understatement, I assure you. I finished the equivalent of two college semesters in eight weeks – one class, 40 hours every week plus a final exam each week for eight weeks. I gained a few certifications in that time as well.

In those eight weeks, there were terminology, theories, concepts, and practical applications from every class I took with each of you. This trend still continues during my training. I really feel that Durham Tech provided me with a solid foundation to enter the IT field.

While I have so much more to learn, I could not have done it without each of you and your classes. Thank you.