Adult Learner Finds Purpose in WCC’s Project AIM Program
Submitted by Jill Ross, development services coordinator, Wytheville Community College
When Jessica Phillips decided she would like to go to college, she was both excited and terrified. “I knew I wanted to go to college,” she said, “but I was 39 years old and had been out of high school for 21 years. I didn’t know if I could succeed, and I didn’t know where to start.”
Jessica forged ahead of her fears and applied to Wytheville Community College’s (WCC) Project AIM Program, a federally funded initiative that helps first-generation students succeed in college. “Project AIM was terrific,” said Jessica. “Charlotte Mowery, the program manager, and the other staff members went out of their way to help me. They believed in me when I didn’t have the strength to believe in myself. They wouldn’t let me fail!”
Jessica’s experience as a student and a work-study student for Project AIM inspired her to seek a career at WCC. After graduating in 2012 with a degree in Administrative Support Technology, Jessica accepted a full-time Administrative Office Specialist position with WCC’s Project AIM and enjoys encouraging new students as they begin their own college careers.
“WCC and Project AIM gave me confidence in myself that I had never had before, and for that I am most grateful. WCC truly changed my life. I didn’t just get a degree at WCC,” Jessica added. “I learned a lot outside the classroom and developed soft skills and networking skills. Those skills have been just as important as the knowledge that I learned.”
Today, while working full-time at WCC, Jessica is continuing her education through WCC’s Human Services Program and plans to transfer to Old Dominion University to earn a Bachelor’s degree in counseling.
CAPTION: WCC graduate, Jessica Phillips, now works at the college.
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