Alexandra Cox has been named recipient of Durham Tech's 2014 Academic Excellence Award. She will be entered into consideration for the NC Community College System's (NCCCS) statewide award, which will be announced in June. Sarah Pohlig has been selected as the college's nominee for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award this year. This award was established by the NCCCS in 2010 to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring, one of the state's earliest advocates of community colleges. Emily Mae Hamrick has been chosen as Durham Tech's 2013 recipient of the Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. This award was established in 2004 to honor the former governor who served from 1969 to 1973. Governor Scott served as president of the NCCCS from 1983 to 1995. Sarah Pohlig and Emily Mae Hamrick will also compete for statewide honors in their respective award categories; results will be announced later this spring.
Alexandra Cox Receives Durham Tech’s 2014 Academic Excellence Award
Alexandra (Ali) Cox has been selected as Durham Technical Community College’s Academic Excellence Award recipient for 2014. Cox is planning to graduate in May with an Associate in Arts degree and is on track to graduate Summa Cum Laude with honors. An active student at Durham Tech, Cox has been the student representative on Durham Tech’s Viva/Vive the Arts committee, as well as a guiding force for The Final Draft literary journal and Phi Theta Kappa.
Cox was nominated for the award by five different faculty members, a testament to the impact she has made in her various courses. According to one of her instructors, “Ali is every instructor's dream. She is smart, attentive, and active in extra/co-curricular activities on campus. She is intellectually mature beyond her years, emotionally courageous, and academically confident. These qualities could manifest with arrogance in some students, but Ali's humility is what defines her. She seems to have a profound respect for education and learning, but is also grounded in the reality that knowledge is useless without the ability to apply it to making the world a better place. I am confident that Ali will ensure her generation's world will continue advocating for equality.”
Another instructor was impressed with Cox’s ability to bring creativity to scientific research: “In my meetings with Ali to discuss her project, it was clear that she was very intelligent. But what impressed me the most was Ali's ability to integrate scientific information with creativity, something that is not easy to do. Ali's honors project included not only research on her topic, but also a level of creativity, which made it fun to read and discuss with her.”
After graduation, Cox plans to transfer to a four-year university in the fall to study anthropology.
Sarah Pohlig Nominated for Dallas Herring Achievement Award
Durham Technical Community College is honored to nominate Sarah Pohlig for the 2014 Dallas Herring Achievement Award. Throughout Pohlig’s academic career, she has demonstrated Dr. Herring's belief of “taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go.” Pohlig has worked hard to overcome challenges that have kept many students from completing their studies.
Pohlig grew up in West Africa, the daughter of missionaries. She moved to North Carolina at age 11 and graduated valedictorian from Parkwood High School in Monroe with a full scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill. After her freshman year, Pohlig lost her mother to cancer, and, as she states, "I derailed. I lost my scholarship and learned to live thinly on rice in chilly rentals in Chapel Hill. I worked at a department store to pay my tuition." Yet, in spite of her challenges, Pohlig completed her bachelor’s degree in English.
Over the next few years, Pohlig’s challenges continued to mount. She had her daughter, Annie, and struggled to survive, all while working several jobs to save money.
Pohlig realized that there weren't many job opportunities with a BA in English, so she decided to learn something completely different. She searched the Internet for “best paying, mobile jobs,” and “computer programming” was the top result of her search. Pohlig discovered that Durham Tech offered an associate’s degree, so she enrolled for Fall Semester 2013. She had missed the deadline to apply for financial aid, but her savings allowed her to get by for the first six months. Her degree from UNC-CH will shorten her time at Durham Tech by fulfilling non-major requirements, allowing Pohlig to graduate in December 2014.
Pohlig sums up after her first semester at Durham Tech, "So many people have helped me and my daughter get where we are: some housed us, some taught me trade skills, others cared for Annie so I could work, and countless people have simply cooked us dinner. North Carolina is home to a lot of generous people. Annie and I have come a long way, with a lot of help, and I know we’ll go far.”
Emily Mae Hamrick Nominated for Governor Scott Leadership Award
Durham Tech student Emily Mae Hamrick has been nominated for the 2014 Governor Robert W. Scott Leadership Award. Hamrick is pursuing her Associate in Arts degree in the University Transfer program at Durham Tech and will graduate this spring. Hamrick plans to continue her education at North Carolina Central University with a double major in political science and Spanish, with the hope of one day becoming a judge advocate general.
As governor of North Carolina and president of the North Carolina Community College System, Robert Scott worked tirelessly to meet the needs of his constituents. Similarly, Hamrick is continuously looking for ways to better serve her fellow students. As vice president of the Student Senate, Hamrick helped organize a community service project – in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – that filled 50 bags with nonperishable food items and distributed them to students in need. In 2012-2013, she served as president of the Student Senate. In addition to her other duties, Hamrick organized a campus-wide food drive that contributed more than 800 pounds of food to stock the shelves of the Durham Tech Campus Harvest Food Pantry in time for its grand opening in January 2013.
This spring, Hamrick is coordinating a visit to the NC General Assembly so that community college students can speak with their legislators to voice their concerns.
Hamrick's contributions to campus and community activities while at Durham Tech are too numerous to list fully. She has participated in a study-abroad trip to the Dominican Republic; volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, the Durham Literacy Center, and Meals on Wheels; and been a member of the Debate Club, Gamer's Club, Spanish Club, and Spectrum. Hamrick also serves as Local Interactions Chair for the North Carolina Community College Comprehensive Student Government Association.