Pathways to VCU | VCU, John Tyler, Reynolds

Pathways Program


Pathways logoThe Mellon Pathways Program is a partnership between Brightpoint Community College (Brightpoint), J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (Reynolds), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The program offers pathways, resources, and support for students who are completing their associate degree at Brightpoint or Reynolds and planning to transfer to VCU to complete their bachelor’s degree in the arts or humanities.

Participants receive:

  • Enhanced advising at the community college
  • Connections and peer mentorship with current VCU students
  • Career and academic exploration and development
  • Opportunities to earn stipends for participating in the e-Portfolio component

Students participating in the Mellon Pathways Program also have the opportunity to apply to become a Mellon Research Fellow, where they will receive a stipend to support conducting a research project in the humanities or arts with a faculty member and presenting their work at a year-end colloquium. Being a part of the Mellon Pathways Program provides students with access to resources and a support system to enhance their academic success. It also gives them an opportunity to save money on tuition by taking classes at the community college that count: count towards their degree, count in their future, and count for transfer.

Program requirements

Students are ReynoldsThe Pathways Program is open to students who plan to complete their associate degree at Brightpoint or Reynolds and are considering transfer to VCU for a bachelor’s degree and:

  • are interested in one of the Pathways majors (African American Studies, Anthropology, Art History, English, Foreign Language, Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, International Studies, Mass Communication, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, or Theatre, or who are undecided with interest in arts or humanities.)
  • have at least one full academic year of study left at the community college or have permission from the program director
  • are able to attend an online orientation in summer, fall or spring

Apply Now

Log in to your VCCS email account (MyBrightpoint or MyReynolds) and fill in the online declaration form to be considered for Mellon Pathways. Declarations are accepted year-round. Apply now!

Research Fellows

Pathways/Mellon Research Fellows logo

Mellon Research Fellows are motivated Pathways Program students who work with a faculty member on their own research project in the arts or humanities, participate in a mentorship program, and present their work at an end-of-year banquet.

Students who have completed one semester in the Pathways Program are eligible to apply to be Mellon Research Fellows. Through an application process, students are selected as Mellon Research Fellows in spring, and matched with faculty mentors.

Mellon Research Fellows receive:

  • preparation for upper-level university work, graduate school, and different career paths
  • enhanced mentorship and advising
  • a $5000 stipend for the school year

Featured Student Projects

In August 2021, a group of Pathways Program students from Brightpoint and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Colleges were invited to participate in the Mellon Research Fellows program. Over the next eight months, these students undertook research projects in the humanities and arts under the mentorship of a community college faculty member and a VCU faculty connection. Through weekly meetings with their mentors and peers, attendance at bimonthly symposia, and hours of reading, interviewing, reflection, writing and learning, our amazing Mellon Research Fellows have produced fifteen thoughtful, unique and creative final projects, which can be explored on this webpage.

Below are photos from our May 13 Mellon Research Fellows Year-End Celebration honoring our hardworking students and their wonderful mentors at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Sculpture Garden.

We have completed our application process for the 2022-2023 academic year. Applications for the 2023-2024 year will open in Spring of 2023.

Mellon research fellows and their projects
Mellon students
Mellon students
Mellon student


Pathways logoInformation about current course requirements can be found on our Canvas page.

Find details of the requirements in our CANVAS course – login to your MyBrightpoint or MyReynolds account to access

Students not receiving a stipend meet with their transfer coach or coordinator and attend six events over the course of the semester.

Students spelling VCS with pool noodles


Most of our Pathways Program students participate in the e-Portfolio element of the program. Through the e-Portfolio assignment, students focus on reflective writing and documentation, undertake individual pursuits, create a personal website to use in interviews and applications, practice presentation skills, and receive a stipend. Check out the e-Portfolios of four of our current students here:

  1. Noberto Garcia
  2. Katia McCleaf
  3. Hayley Elder
  4. Cruz Walden

Fall e-Portfolios focus on reflection, while spring e-Portfolios incorporate reflection to create a public-facing web presence. The summer session is a time to explore.

Folio Cafes

Folio Cafés are an opportunity for students to discuss the e-Portfolio prompts and their reflections, and to talk about other aspects of the e-Portfolios. Folio Cafés are held multiple times per week. Check out our calendar for the schedule.

Information about current course requirements can be found on our Canvas page.

Instructions for creating an e-Portfolio

Current students can access their e-Portfolio accounts through the Taskstream platform.

Current students can confirm their completion of program requirements on the Pathways Program Canvas site.

Upcoming events

Pathways logoIn Fall of 2022 the majority of our events will be virtual but will also include some in-person events. They will include performances by our students, discussions of documentaries and art events, and guest speakers. Stay tuned for descriptions, and check the calendar for the schedule and links.

In addition to Folio Cafés and panels, the Pathways Program hosts virtual events each week. These events are about different aspects of the arts and humanities, and are aligned with student interests. We have been very impressed by the student engagement in our virtual event discussions.  Descriptions of upcoming events, as well as links to all current and previous events, can be accessed in our newsletter. Join our mailing list to stay up to date with the Pathways program. You can find current and past newsletters in the Pathways Program newsletter archive

Book Group

Many of our students participate in the student-organized book group, which meets virtually twice a semester. (Check the calendar for upcoming meeting dates.) We talk informally about the reading and related topics. Book selections are nominated and selected by our students. Information about upcoming book groups can be found in the newsletter.

So far, the book group has read John Carryrou’s Bad Blood, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer, Tommy Orange’s There There, and Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy.

Previous events

Our weekly events cover a range of interests and experiences. Check out a couple of our recent events here:

large art mural on building

We invited our Pathways members to walk (virtually, of course) through the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Malmo, Sweden, and dozens of other far-flung cities to admire their street murals. Lively discussions followed the viewing of the vibrant stories by the local artists. Students were encouraged to compare and contrast different communities’ creative output, the intentions behind them, and the benefits the murals gave to the city. We also took time to talk about the history of Richmond’s street art culture, and invited local artists to the conversation to discuss their personal style and how it connects to the place they call home.

art project of various colored vasesEver wonder where your trash goes after you dispose of it? Sometimes it flows into the ocean, sometimes to floats into the air, and other times it finds itself in an art gallery. Pathways Program participants watched a short video about an artist-in-residence program located at the city dump in Portland, Oregon. We were joined by artist and professor, Cathy Lu, an alum of the Recology: GLEAN program. We had a fascinating discussion about the application process, the hard work while being at the dump, both physical and artistic, and the inspiration that one can get when asked to use just trash as their materials.

Now What Is The Survivor To Do? Hip Hop’s response to Hurricane Katrina
Please join us in discussing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as represented in song and action by artists Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne and many others. We will cover topics of representation, alienation, and activism. If you are interested in listening to some of the songs written about this natural and political disaster a playlist can be found here.

Glitching and Hacking with Mario and Friends – The video games and animations of Cory Arcangel and Paper Rad
Please join us in investigating the myriad works by Cory Arcangel and Paper Rad. Their colorful reinterpretations on cartoon and video game culture reframes preconceived notions of narrative, winning and losing, and authorship in the postmodern hacking era. As always, all voices are welcome, as they help grow the conversation!

Let us hear from you

Pathways logoDo you have a question or comment?

Contact us.

Janelle MarshallJanelle Marshall (Director):; 804-819-4934

Ian CoyleIan Coyle (VCU):

Kirstin PantazisKirstin Pantazis (Brightpoint):

Paul WilliamsPaul Williams (Reynolds):

La'Tifha WhiteLa’Tifha White (VCU):


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