|Enrolling in Durham Tech Courses Was the Turning Point for Student
At age 29, Solomon Burnette can look back on a young life full of challenges and triumphs. He is grateful that his path led to Durham Tech and to people who helped him along the way.
Burnette, who grew up in Durham, was always bright. He had many “smart nerd friends,” he says. But he also had friends who stayed in trouble. Eventually Burnette stopped caring about school.
“I failed my freshman year three times,” he recalls. Instead of studying, he hung out in the streets of Walltown. At 17, still classified as a high school freshman, he dropped out of school.
“My mother did everything she could, but I wouldn’t listen,” Burnette said. He began dealing drugs, which led him into a lifestyle of crime. Eventually he was sentenced to serve time at Sandhills Youth Center. One highlight there, however, was completing his GED through Sandhills Community College. He was later transferred to a correctional facility in Caswell County. In addition to his prison duties, he had time to read and study. He studied Arabic and history and spent time writing music. All told, he was in the corrections system for a year and a half. His first job after being released was laying carpet, a job he was happy to have.
In 2003, Burnette enrolled at Durham Tech. That’s when mentors began to appear in his life. One such person was Dr. Phail Wynn, Jr., former president of Durham Tech. Dorothy Brower and Tracy Francis were also instrumental. Burnette thrived in the college’s small classes and discovered that he was a very good student. “I was very focused. I wanted to succeed. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I did not want to be a career criminal,” he said.
Burnette completed his studies at Durham Tech and enrolled in N.C. Central University, where he recently earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He is currently working as a community organizer in Durham. His plans include traveling to the Middle East to study Arabic and enrolling in law school to study international criminal law.
Second Brownfields Class Graduates
The second graduating class of the Brownfields Environmental Technology Jobs Training program received their diplomas on July 1. The Brownfields program trains students in the technology of turning land damaged by pollutants into safe properties that can be reused. Mary Moore oversees the program at DTCC as coordinator of Human Resources Development. The program consists of eight weeks of training, including field testing as well as equipment and soil and water management. Durham is one of 13 cities in the nation to receive the federal Brownfields grant. This program, created in partnership with the City of Durham and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), enables participants to gain the skills and training needed to competitively seek employment in the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of the Brownfields sites. The work here supports the city's efforts in the redevelopment and revitalization of Durham’s Pettigrew Street.
The graduation ceremony, held in the ERC Auditorium, included several guest speakers who praised the 18 graduates. Zachary Marshall, a graduate of the first Brownfields class, talked about the camaraderie and teamwork he saw in this class. Ken Berger, program director of Corporate Education, noted the class’ hard work. Kelly King, the Brownfields coordinator at Durham Tech, referred to the students as “champions of change, who are building a better tomorrow.” Kevin Dick, director of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, noted that the marketable skills the students had acquired would not only help them support their families but their communities as well. “Your training here is a stepping stone that will open doors,” he said. Nicholas McCoy, interim senior Workforce Development manager for the City of Durham, also attended.
Durham Tech’s HRD Now Number Three in the State
Durham Tech's Human Resources Development (HRD) program is number three in the state for Spring Semester 2009. Throughout the state’s community colleges, the HRD full-time equivalent enrollment (FTE) numbers for Spring Semester 2009 were up 32 percent and enrollment numbers were up 24 percent over Spring Semester 2008.
Durham Tech Offers More Green Courses
Durham Tech is expanding its green course offerings this fall. The newest Corporate and Continuing Education green courses are the LEED Exam Prep and Solar Air Heater. LEED Prep is an examination preparation course for the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System®. Through the Solar Air Heater course, students learn how to reduce utility bills by 50 to 75 percent through using solar thermal energy to warm their homes or businesses.
DTCC also offers Design with Nature to Live Sustainably, a 10-week course that teaches principles and practices that can help students make sustainable choices. The course includes guest lectures and field trips to demonstration sites exploring edible landscaping, composting, water catchment and reuse systems. Green Building Overview provides basic information about designing and building sustainable homes or small buildings. In the Green Building Materials course, students learn how the use of green building products is an important strategy in the design of sustainable buildings.
In addition, Durham Tech will soon offer training in green landscape design and solar energy technology through the N.C. Community College System’s JobsNOW initiative. Durham Tech and community colleges throughout the state have developed short-term training, including these offerings, through JobsNOW.
According to Nate Smith, program director of Automotive Systems Technology, a new elective course called AUT 285 debuts soon in the Automotive plan of study. This is a collaborative effort between several program directors and instructors. It will focus on alternative fuels such as hydrogen, bio-fuels, and flex-fuel, as well as hybrids and electric cars. “We are still very much in the planning stages with the re-wiring and adaptation of the Newton Building, room 457,” says Smith. Those involved in the course collaboration include John Crutchfield, Electrical/Electronics program director; Greg Mimmack, Electronics Engineering Technology program director; Joe Armstrong, Industrial Systems Technology program director; and Roy Stallings, Machining Technology program director.
Small Business Center Serves as Host for Transportation Symposium
The N.C. Military Business Center, Durham Tech’s Small Business Center, and the Small Business and Technology Development Center’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center will host a Transportation Symposium on Aug. 18 in the Wynn Center.
This symposium, intended for members of the transportation and logistics industries, will provide information on doing business with the U.S. Government Freight Management Systems. Participants will receive information about obtaining contracts with the U.S. Government as well as resource information to assist with tracking and successfully receiving awards.
The keynote speaker for the Symposium is Robbin Watlington, CFO, Horizon Logistics Consulting, who is a certified General Services Administration scheduling agent.
Mike Dellerman has taught photography at Durham Tech for six years.
Longtime Photography Instructor’s Courses Draw Students of All Ages
Mike Dellerman may have fallen in love with photography during a class trip to Washington, D.C. He watched intently as a teacher set up a panoramic camera on a tripod to photograph the class. He previously had thought taking photos meant the “instant” kind from his family’s Polaroid.
Dellerman grew up to graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a major in photography. He also took courses in Ball State University's graduate program in Journalism and Public Relations. Dellerman has been teaching photography for more than 15 years and has been a popular instructor in Durham Tech’s Corporate and Continuing Education Division for six years.
His Orange County Campus courses are usually filled with students of all ages.
During his years as a commercial photographer, Dellerman has shot photographs for organizations and businesses such as the Indianapolis 500, the state of Indiana, General Motors, the American Cancer Society, BlueCross/BlueShield, Duke University, and the Durham Arts Council. He has won many photography awards, including Indianapolis Life and Science Photography Competition, the Dayton Art Show, and the Hilton Head Art Show. He has also taught for the Durham Arts Council, George Rogers Clark College, and Photo Stop Labs.
Students in his Durham Tech courses know they will have the opportunity to get out and about. They practice their skills at the N.C. Zoo, N.C. State Fair, N.C. Museum of Art, and Eno State Park, for example. Recently, Dellerman’s Photo Outings class had a special opportunity to shoot at the Duke Lemur Center. “The students were allowed to actually go into three natural habitats and two cages. They were so close, they could touch the lemurs, if they had the guts,” he says
Dellerman has had his photography business, CMDPHOTOS, for more than 20 years. He will teach five courses this fall at the Orange County Campus. "I'd like to see Durham Tech offering the best photography program in the state," he says.
Oral History Event a Success
Last month, Durham Tech’s Social Sciences/Humanities program invited three members of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Southern Oral History program for a visit. Acting Director Dr. David Cline, Outreach Coordinator Beth Millwood, and Coordinator of Digital Resources Dr. Seth Kotch spoke with faculty and staff members about some of the issues involved in gathering, managing, and using oral histories. The three talked about everything from interviewee consent forms to equipment and interviewing techniques. Those attending from Durham Tech included both permanent and adjunct instructors of history, English, psychology, sociology, religion, drama, film, and philosophy.
According to Dr. David Long, chairman of Social Sciences/Humanities, the event was part of a larger effort to incorporate oral histories into relevant DTCC courses and create a larger oral history project at the college.
Our condolences to Jamie Glass who lost her grandmother and Deborah Hummer on the loss of her father-in-law. Jacequeline Mitchell expresses heartfelt thanks for the generous donations, kind words, and support given to her extended family, who lost everything in a fire in their home. Michelle Terry sends her thanks for all the words of comfort and the kindness shown to her after the passing of her father.
Prospective students visited the Wynn Center on July 14 to learn about Paralegal Technology, Machining Technology, Information Systems Technologies, and many other programs.
1 – Dora Bailey; 3 – Darlene Bullock; 6 – Audrey Kern; 7 – Janice Stuart; 8 - Perry Cumbie; 9 – Tom Gould, Mark Matthews, Marilyn Slaughter; 10 – Thelma Thomas; 11 –
Dorothy Brower; 12 – John Martin, Sheryl McCloud; 13 – Gail Knuckles; 16 - Danielle Williams; 17 – J. Martin Nichols; 19 – Pamela Sonney, Don Wheeler; 20 – Ricky Glasgow, Janel Mays, Tom Murphy, Matt Thacker, Peter Wooldridge; 21 – Rodney Norman; 25 – Judy Roberts; 26 – Melissa Oakley Ockert; 28 – Lee Toomer; 29 – Emerenciana Alejo, Lillie Hill, Everette Pendergraft; 30 – Joy Hansen; 31 – Megan Nicholson
28 – Dora Bailey; 27 – Joseph Wooten; 24 – Sue Jackson; 22 – Bill Ingram; 20 – Catherine Nelson; 19 – Hussein Islami, María Fraser-Molina, John Hurlburt; 18 – Marianne Williams, Charles Slappy, Irene Laube, Marcia Daniell, Vernon Bridges; 17 – Denise Ward; 16 – Aaron Dark, Perry Cumbie, Gwen Barclay-Toy, Gene Sharpe; 14 – Ricky Glasgow; 13 – Lillie Hill, Sherry Wilson, Patrick Coin, Elizabeth Penton, Ilene Britt; 12 – Gregory Walton, Tom Gould; 11 – Josie Williams, Michele Parrish, Constanza Gomez-Joines, Roy Stallings, John Butkowsky; 10- Michael Szczerbiak; 9 – Willie Mae Johnson, Hugo Castillo, Joan Brown; 8 – Robert Wilson; 7 – Moazzem Hossain; 6 – Avilamar Castillo, Jamia McIver-Eshiet, Thomas Beveridge, John Crutchfield, Brenda East, Julie Hoover, Suzanne Laudadio, Micara Lewis, Lyndsay Al-Shibli, Susan Sutton; 5 – Mark Anderson, Emma Borynksi, Kerry Cantwell, Tracy Francis, Robert Matthews, Janel Mays, Gabrielle McCutchen, Robbi Muckenfuss, Tony Warren, Dorothy Wood, James Weeks, Svetlana Yokum, Erica Sessoms, Amy Burtch , Elecia Ridley, David Rigsbee; 4 – Kara Battle, Angela Fipps, Shannon Hahn, Sheza Healey, Sheryl McCloud, JoAnn Molnar; Erik Townsend, Naomi Feaste, Jacqueline Futrell; 3 – Lea Bingham, Cari Borrenson, Lesley Chaffin, Bijoy Patnaik, Brent McCardle, Ingrid Charles, Marianela Mañana, Cheri Mitchiner, Becky Roehrs; 2 – Christine Husketh, Theresa Fine-Pawsey, Gary Snyder; 1- Valarie Evans, Donna Littleton, Tracy Bennett, Mary Kennery, Erin Riney, Isaac Thomas, Marye Avery, Jamie Darnell
An error was made in the July edition of the Dossier. Here are Don Wheeler’s correct responses.
Most Memorable Vacation: Blowing Rock, Cherokee, Grandfather Mountain, Tweetsie Railroad as a child in 1966 (My brother and I actually played with Darby Hinton in between his acting duties in Ghost Town. Darby was Little Arliss on the Daniel Boone show.)
Vacation You Would Most Like to Take: Hawaii, China, or Japan
Name: Tony Warren
Present Position: Chemistry instructor
First Job Ever Held: Paperboy. I was saving up for a new aluminum baseball bat and a bright yellow Case pocket knife that I had on layaway at the local ACE hardware store.
Proudest Accomplishment: Returning to college to finish my undergraduate degree after taking way too many detours along the higher education highway. I might still be delivering papers (or pizzas) had I not made that commitment.
Your Secret Vice: Sometimes, when I’m home alone, or when my kids are in the other room I drink milk straight from the carton without even using a glass. I also pretend that objects in the mirror are actually farther than they appear, even when my kids are with me.
Most Memorable Vacation: Not necessarily in a good way, but a trip to the Philippines a few years back was truly an eye-opening experience for me because it provided a personal glimpse into what it is like to live in a third-world country struggling with poverty on a daily basis. I came back with a renewed appreciation for what this country offers and what we too often take for granted. Then there was that trip to Vegas . . .
Vacation You Would Most Like to Take: Oh, some usual stuff: Europe, New Zealand, the Galapagos, Machu Picchu. Anything with a little adventure involved!
Items Most Likely to Be Found in Your Refrigerator or Pantry: My cat (pantry, not refrigerator, unless my two year old is involved; then she might end up in the fridge). Other than that, nothing particularly interesting, except maybe some ingredients I put in my bread machine bread like raw wheat germ and flaxseed meal.
Favorite Book: I was most recently floored by The Kite Runner. I like Dean Koontz novels and read a lot of mysteries along the lines of Agatha Christie as a child. Cannery Row is also one of my classic faves.
Favorite Movie: Being a Gemini, I always have more than one answer for these questions. Casablanca, the Die Hard flicks, Indiana Jones movies, Star Wars, even The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the sheer fun factor of witnessing audience participation.
Person You'd Like to Have Dinner with (Not
Counting Your Significant Other): Someone interested in becoming my significant other! Otherwise, maybe David Letterman, Tom Brokaw, George Clooney, or Jennifer Aniston
Something You'd Like to Do When You Have the Time: Hike the Appalachian Trail (with Jennifer Aniston, of course), catch up on writing in my journal, go back in time.
Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About You: I was once the proud owner/operator of a failing pizzeria business. I’ve owned two motorcycles and once rode from Michigan to Florida on a Honda Interceptor sport bike to camp out for Bike Week in Daytona Beach. I really love my job here at Durham Tech!