Monthly Archives: November 2017

Durham Tech aims to ‘close the gap’ in community healthcare

Instructor Erica Hall shares a quick laugh with her students as they learn about stress management. The course is aimed at teaching the future community health workers to help their clients–and the community itself–navigate issues related to healthcare. Students (left to right) include: Jasmine Myers, Charlita Jones and Kim Surles.

SOURCE: Allison Tate, The Durham Voice

How many of the students here are in this for the money, asks instructor Erica Hall. No hands rise. Hall looks out at the class, about a dozen faces, and tells them that what they’re learning to do won’t be about the fame either.

Becoming a community health worker is all about helping your neighbors and, while the return won’t come in the form of fame or fortune, the students will find that their service pays off.

Students have come from as close as East Durham and as far as Moore County for the Community Health Worker Basic Training course held twice a week on Durham Tech’s main campus.

After the course ends in December, Hall said they’ll be out bridging the gap that exists between the community, schools and healthcare centers and agencies.

Until then, they’re learning how to support their future clients during the time between appointments and meetings, while helping with issues that an under-served community might face along the way.

Hall said that those roles are necessary.

“There’s still an issue with all these resources we have here where people aren’t aware of their resources that are here,” said Hall. “I think having a community health worker right in your neighborhood, right at your fingertips, helps bring that awareness and kind of helps close the gap for those disadvantages that are happening.”

Hall kicks off this class with a scenario similar to what the students might face out in the field, asking them how they’d help their client. The group is going over stress management. Later, they’ll learn about conflict resolution.

The lesson and the group’s discussion is seamless. The students know what they’re talking about. Most have backgrounds in public health or service in their communities as social workers, community health ambassadors and violence interrupters, to name a few.

Still, the students say that they’ve had a lot to learn—much of it from each other.

“Basically, the class has given me a different perspective from different people that work community work,” said Convellius Parker, a resident of South Durham. “Just hearing other people’s opinions, and how I can add that to my work in the field that I do.”

Perry Tankard Sr., a doctor of theology from East Durham, said that he and his classmates have also been able to connect with community organizations through the course.

“It has helped us broaden our perspective on different aspects of different groups and organizations reaching out in the community to help better the community,” said Tankard.

Pamela Krakow, director of the college’s Nurse Aide program, oversees the Community Health Worker Basic Training course and works closely with Duke Medical School and the Durham Health Department on content. The medical school and the health department originally came to DTCC about starting the course.

Krakow said that North Carolina is working toward creating a Community Health Worker certification. Once in place, she said that the college is prepared to adapt the course so that students can earn the state-recognized credential.

For now, Krakow said that the course is about honoring an age-old practice, and the people who have carried it forward.

“It’s fascinating, and I think it’s been going on for centuries,” said Krakow. “That’s how people got care done, and it’s always been sort of happening behind the scenes, but now we’re bringing it to the forefront saying, ‘These people should be recognized for the work they do for their community.’”

For more information on taking the course in the spring, visit or call the Allied Health Continuing Education department at 919-536-7222 x4313.


Durham Tech leads community effort to benefit campus food pantry

More than 500 students benefit from the food pantry at Durham Tech every year, which provides nearly 30,000 pounds of food to students in need. On Nov. 20, the Center for College and Community Service will unveil its newest initiative – the Campus Harvest Food Pantry Cookbook.

The goal of the cookbook is to provide easy-to-prepare, healthy recipes that use ingredients most commonly donated to the pantry for students facing food security challenges. Nearly 60 recipes from Durham Tech students, faculty and staff fill the pages of the cookbook, including White Chicken Chili from President Bill Ingram and Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts from Spanish instructor, Lance Lee.

“We hope to inspire our students to cook more at home and also encourage them to make healthier eating choices,” said Erin Riney, Director of the Center for College and Community Service. “That’s not easy to do when you’re juggling school, family, and work. We’ve chosen simple recipes that use items most commonly found in the pantry and have hopefully provided enough variety and opportunities for variation that students can make these recipes their own.”

A 10-member cookbook committee started the project in February 2017, which included Brandi Crosson, a current student at Durham Tech and owner of Porchetta Food Truck along with her husband. Crosson played an integral role in developing the cookbook and testing the recipes.

“My career plan is to become a dietitian,” Crosson said. “So healthy eating and food insecurity are two important subjects for me. This project allowed me to begin working in a field I love and give back to my community.”

The cookbook will be unveiled at a release party November 20 at 2 p.m. in the food pantry where light samples of featured recipes will be served and food demonstrations will be conducted. The cookbook is free for frequent pantry shoppers. Copies of the cookbook will be available for pick up and donations are requested.

The cookbook was a community effort between volunteers from Durham Tech, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University, Durham County Master Gardeners, RSVP of Durham County, Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, Carolina Arbors Community, and Briggs Avenue Community Garden.

“So many people had a role in bringing this cookbook into existence and we’re excited to bring them all together for our cookbook release party,” Riney said. “It’s been a truly collaborative, community effort, and I hope our students feel the support from not only Durham Tech, but also their Durham community as well.”

The production of the cookbook was made possible by a grant from the Burt’s Bees Foundation, which also included the production of tote bags for frequent pantry shoppers to use.

“One of the inspirations for the cookbook was helping students understand how to utilize the fresh produce that’s donated to the pantry,” Riney said. “Connecting students to fresh foods locally grown by their fellow students and Durham volunteers at the community garden is incredibly fulfilling. We’d love for the cookbooks to inspire students to learn more about food and nutrition and to feel empowered to make educated eating choices that make sense for them and their families.”

If you are interested in attending the Cookbook Release Party on November 20, please RSVP.


Durham Tech Foundation receives more than $16,000 in scholarships for students of Mexican heritage

File photo from 2016.

The General Consulate of Mexico in Raleigh awarded $16,669 in grant scholarships to the Durham Technical Community College Foundation last week for Mexican students and students of Mexican descent. The grant will fund scholarships for the 2018 and 2019 academic terms.

Scholarships will be available through applications to the Center for the Global Learner (CGL) to help top-performing students with demonstrated financial need attend college and achieve their academic and career goals.

The Center for the Global Learner supports academic programs, including: English as a Second Language (ESL); Translation/Interpretation Programs; English for Academic Purposes (EFL); Study Abroad; Latino and Political Refugee Student Outreach, Support, and Transitions; and Student Services for undocumented students, DACA students, and students on visas. Scholarship funding will be disbursed each semester to students’ financial aid accounts to support the cost of tuition and books.

The General Consulate of Mexico in Raleigh has partnered with Durham Tech over the last several years to support students’ educational goals and dreams. This is the third award the Consulate has recently granted the College.

Dr. Constanza Gómez-Joines, Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of the Center for the Global Learner, said Durham Tech is honored to continue to partner with the Mexican Consulate to serve students in Durham and Orange counties.

“We are so grateful for the continued support from the Mexican Consulate. Their dedication to supporting our students is paramount to their success,” said Gómez-Joines. “These scholarships provide life-changing opportunities to students who have to overcome so many obstacles in order to get an education. We value their partnership and commitment to Durham Tech and our students.”

For more information about Durham Technical Community College and the programs available, visit

To learn about the work and charitable endeavors of the General Consulate of Mexico in Raleigh, visit The Durham Tech Foundation is a charitable organization that promote the current and long-term success of Durham Tech by inspiring charitable investment in its students, faculty, and staff.

To the edge of space and back, Durham Tech NASA mission a success

One year after Durham Tech students embarked on their first NASA mission, they found themselves sitting in the grass at 7 a.m. Labor Day morning anxiously awaiting the launch of the 2017 High Altitude Balloon Platform at the Columbia Scientific Ballooning Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

“It was a huge relief to watch it take off,” said North Carolina Central University student Jimmy Acevedo, a Durham Tech alumnus and team lead of ‘The Unacceptable Risks.’ “It represented over a year of work and hundreds and hundreds of man hours. To watch it soar up into the air was a pretty good feeling.”

The group is comprised of 10 current and former Durham Tech students and three students from neighboring Triangle universities. They participated in the High Altitude Student Platform flight program – or HASP as it’s commonly referred to – which is designed to foster excitement in aerospace careers and to boost student excitement in the industry.

The Durham Tech team’s contribution to the platform was the Greenhouse, Ozone and Atmospheric Trace Gas – or GOAT – project, which collected sulfur dioxide and atmospheric gas in the stratosphere.

“The launch itself was incredible and overwhelming,” said Julie Hoover, a geology instructor in the Arts, Sciences, and University Transfer department at Durham Tech and faculty sponsor of HASP. “I had to remind myself that we had done this. We had put together something that was now going to be cruising around near space for the next 18 hours. Being able to see GOAT a part of that and a part of such an official NASA mission was really incredible in an overwhelmingly emotional way that I was not prepared for.”

In partnership with the NASA Balloon Program Office and the Louisiana Space Consortium, HASP carried 12 student payloads via the platform using an 11.8 million cubic foot high altitude balloon. The massive 2,000 pound platform included projects from 11 other schools around the country and ascended to an altitude of more than 22 miles.

“It’s been incredible to see the students come together as a team throughout this process,” Hoover said. “To start off with just a rough idea of what we were doing and really research, seek out answers and bear down until they were all experts on components of the project – it’s been really exciting to watch them blossom.”

In addition to full-time course loads and part-time jobs, the students worked 20 to 30 hours per week on the project for the past year. It was difficult, but all the more rewarding, Acevedo said.

“Projects like this provide a huge amount of hands-on experience that you don’t normally get inside the classroom,” Acevedo said. “It provides purpose toward the things you’re actually learning, like why am I actually going through hours and hours of calculus – it’s because we do things like this. At the end of the day, students banging wood, plastic, and metal together and learning how things are built is a very valuable thing that translates to all walks of life.”

Students describe the takeaway from this project as significant.

“To watch live video of something I helped build, program and essentially make work, fly around in near space – it was life changing,” said Dan Koris, software and electrical team lead for HASP and current Durham Tech student. “I now have more meaning to the future of my career. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for almost anything.”

The Unacceptable Risks are currently in the application process to participate in HASP again next year. Their project will involve robotic arms with computer vision that will mimic what robotic arms do through satellite servicing. The team will be notified in mid-January if their application is approved.

Durham Tech students embrace the heart of dentistry

When most college students were sleeping in last Saturday morning, dental lab technology students at Durham Tech were giving back through the heart of dentistry. They left Durham at 3:30 a.m. to arrive in New Bern before the start of their 6 a.m. volunteer shift at North Carolina Missions of Mercy, a free dental program that operates two-day clinics throughout the state.

More than 700 individuals that cannot otherwise afford dental care were served by volunteer dental professionals at The Epiphany School in New Bern. The gymnasium was bustling. Nearly 80 dental chairs were filled with patients in need of cleanings, fillings, extractions, x-rays and prostheses.

“It’s important for students to come here because they’re volunteering their time, giving back, and the patients appreciate it,” said Greg Walton, Director of the Dental Lab Technology Program at Durham Tech. “Students have a chance to see how difficult dentistry can be at times and what the role of being a technician looks like. They get to see how important their profession is and what’s ahead for them.”

Across the hall from the gymnasium were two rooms of dental lab technicians from various schools and businesses, repairing partials, bridges, crowns and dentures.

“I feel honored to play a role in impacting the lives of the patients,” said Anthonia Busuyi, 27, first-year dental lab technology student. “I feel like I’m a part of the team here. Everyone is in grind mode, helping as many patients as we can. I also get to be around a lot of experienced individuals in the field and it gives me some insight on what I’ll be working on in the future.”

The volunteer experience provides students with a unique opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom.

“This hands-on portion is so invaluable to our education,” said Rachel Smoot, 25. “There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom. The real life setting really puts our education over the edge.”

Though excited about the career experience, students never lost sight of the impact they were making on patient’s lives.

“It’s really cool to know that this is going to impact someone’s life,” Smoot said. “It’s almost unreal because you don’t think about it while you’re in school, but when you’re volunteering and seeing it happen, it’s great to know you’re improving someone’s life.”

Two students volunteered on Friday while four students and Walton volunteered Saturday. Durham Tech students have been volunteering at NC Missions of Mercy since 2010.

“People that can’t afford dental care and come here to get work done – it changes their whole life,” Walton said. “They’re able to feel confident about themselves and go out and get jobs with their new smiles. It runs joy through you to be able to help someone like that.”

North Carolina Missions of Mercy is an outreach program of the North Carolina Dental Society and sponsored by the North Carolina Dental Health Fund, which is on a mission to improve access to dental care for those in need.

If you are a student in the Dental Lab Technology program at Durham Tech and interested in volunteering at Missions of Mercy, please contact Erin Popov at

November Farewells

Durham Tech bids farewell and best wishes to the following employees:

Tony Shipman – Motor Pool Tech and Courier; Campus Police and Security
Jayne Davis – Instructor, ACA; Student Engagement and Transitions
Cari Borresen – Instructor, Developmental English and Reading; Student Engagement and Transitions
Sandra Young – Clinical Coordinator; Continuing Education

Let’s celebrate November anniversaries and birthdays!

November Anniversaries (Years)

Matthew Williams (21); Gregory Bellamy (17); Jill Roofner (12); Jacequeline Mitchell (10); Linda Chalmers (9); Melissa Chappell (7); Tony Shipman (6); Vega Swepson (4); Justin Gray (2); Rasha Dumarieh (2); Amy Netzel (1)

November Birthdays (Day)

Andy Kleitsch (1); Jason Moldoff (2); Audrey Muhammad (4); Suchitra Dutta (4); Dawn Brittain (6); Gregory Bellamy (9); Erin Riney (9); Jesse Greenhill (9); Helen McCrimmon (9); Kevin Hinton (10); Cara Potter (14); Jessica Dormady (14); Johnnie Bratton (14); Angela Breault (15); Tiffany Collins (18); Julie Hoover (18); Traci Moore (18); Tyesha Arnold (19); Susan Paris (20); Liz Filipowski (20); Keyma Clark (21); Leslie Scott (23); Lynn Unsworth (26); Kimberly Boyce (27); Audrey Newman (28); Kieran Gunnigle (28); Ralph Thomas (29); Marie Fogarty (29); Lori Heiger (30); Bill Gluck (30)