WINTERVILLE, N.C. — Students from a pair of Pitt County elementary schools visited the Pitt Community College campus this month to participate in “Crayons to College,” an event designed to introduce them to STEM-related career fields.

   Held April 22 in the Walter & Marie Williams Building, “Crayons to College” featured PCC science instructors leading fifth-graders from Falkland and Northwest elementary schools through a series of hands-on STEM activities. PCC, Pitt County Schools and the N.C. BioNetwork collaborated on the program, which was part of AVID’s (Advancement Via Individual Determination) efforts to foster educational equity and improve college graduation rates “among diverse and underrepresented” demographic groups.

   “This event was a great way to showcase Pitt Community College to a group of students who may have previously thought college wouldn’t be an option for them,” said PCC Biotechnology Department Chair Christina Weeks. “They all seemed so impressed with the campus, the building, the classes—and that was before we even started doing activities.”

   Weeks said the students rotated through five activities during their visit, each with an Earth Day theme. In addition to learning about photosynthesis, bioplastics, the water cycle, and how physical and chemical sunscreens protect against UV radiation, she said they made preparations to participate in the Tomatosphere program.

   “It was an opportunity for them to learn some cool science and see how science can be fun,” she said. “It was a great event, and the kids went home tired and happy with lots of stories to tell their parents about science and Pitt Community College.”

   Started in 2001, more than three million students have taken part in the Tomatosphere program, an award-winning initiative that has helped scientists investigate the effects of outer space on food needed to support long-term human space travel.

   For the next several months, the students who visited PCC will be comparing tomato seeds that spent six weeks on the International Space Station to a “control” set that never left Earth. Their teachers can submit data from their classes online until January 2023.

PCC Symphony Orchestra to Perform in Winterville Tuesday Evening

   The PCC Symphony Orchestra will be performing at Faith Assembly Church in Winterville on May 3.

   The family-friendly concert, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations to support the PCC music program will be accepted.

   According to PCC Music & Drama Coordinator R. Michael Stephenson, the orchestra will perform music from Ukraine and nearby countries supporting Ukrainian immigrants. The concert will also include “Hungarian Rhapsodies” 5 & 6 by Johannes Brahms, “Waltz” by Finnish composer Ilari Hylkilia, and selections from “West Side Story” in tribute to American composer Stephen Sondheim, who died in November.

   For more information, contact Stephenson at rstephenson@email.pittcc.edu or (252) 493-7493.

PCC students and alumni spoke with representatives from 16 area employers Wednesday about job and internship opportunities. (PCC photo)

PCC Career Services Holds Hiring Event on Campus for Students and Alumni

   For the first time in nearly three years, PCC Career Services was able to hold a hiring event on campus to give students and alumni an opportunity to meet with local employers about potential careers.

   Held on April 27, the “Spring Hiring Event” drew 83 attendees to the college’s Davenport Multipurpose Room. There, they met with 16 area employers wanting to fill a variety of full- and part-time positions and internships.

   PCC Career Services Coordinator Arwen Parris said due to health safety concerns stemming from the pandemic, Wednesday’s program was the first on-campus employer recruitment event her department has hosted since January 2020. The last hiring event hosted by PCC Career Services, she said, was the Community Career Fair in June 2019.

   “We’re delighted to have employers back on campus, meeting our students where they are,” Parris said. “We want our students to connect with employers to learn about the career paths their education and training leads to, so that they have a clearer vision of their future.”

   PCC Employer Relations Specialist Reggie Baker said the employers in attendance were just as eager to meet with students. “They have a variety of open positions that PCC can help fill, because of the scope of our academic and short-term training programs,” he said.

   Along with representatives from PCC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program and Tutorial & Academic Success Center, the following businesses took part in the hiring event: Bayada Home Health Care, East Carolina University, Food Lion, Grady-White Boats, Greenville Utilities, Grover Gaming, Morgan Corp., Novant Health, Pitt County Juvenile Detention Center, Smithfield Foods, Thermo Fisher, VICTRA, Vidant Medical Center, and the Wilson County Department of Social Services.

   To further help students with the job search process, Parris said PCC Career Services hired photographer Rob Taylor to take portraits they can use in their professional portfolios. She said a total of 72 students, faculty and staff took advantage of the service.

   “It’s a treat to have the opportunity for a free professional portrait, whether it’s used to enhance an online image or for personal enjoyment,” Parris said.