The word ‘Excellence’ is used to describe what Sampson Community College strives for every day with helping students navigate to their chosen career path and become a success. The root word ‘Excel’ means, by definition, to be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject.
Therefore, the college aptly named its annual award, the Excel Awards. To recognize outstanding employees, both instructional and non-instructional, the SCC Foundation sponsors a special award of merit for colleagues who go beyond expectations in the workplace and in the community. To participate in the program as a nominator or a nominee, one must have been employed on a full-time basis for at least three years. All nominated candidates will be reviewed by an anonymous EXCEL Selection Committee.
“There were so many great nominations this year,” notes Lisa Turlington, Executive Director of the Sampson Community College Foundation. “We wanted to recognize four additional finalists who stood out as exceptional at work and in our community.” This year, the college recognized Excel Winners, Math Instructor, Jennifer Eavenson and Computer Lab Coordinator, Wanda Kenny.
Excel winners (top L-R) Eavenson and Kenny and finalists (bottom L-R) West, Gillespie, Lloyd and Raynor
“Jen is the math instructor students never know how much they appreciate until they move on and realized how well prepared they are,” added Turlington. “Many of her students who transfer to university come back to thank her for the lessons she taught in math and in life. She is clear in her expectations and holds students (and friends) to a very high standard! In addition to being an exceptional faculty member, Jen’s colleagues repeated mentioned her skill in advising. She is the go-to person for preparing students for the next step, and if she does not have an answer, she will find it! Jen is a big part of why our students can begin here and go anywhere.”
Dr. Bill Starling, President of SCC, agrees. “In addition to teaching algebra, statistics, and now the full sequence of transfer calculus, Ms. Eavenson serves as one of our most informed faculty counselors and advocates for students transitioning to senior institutions,” he says. “When we were fortunate to enter the NCSU C3 agreement last spring, she agreed to serve as our faculty liaison with the program, embracing the additional role and duties the program brings to our campus. Ms. Eavenson’s recognition is well-deserved.”
Wanda Kenny shared the honor with Eavenson. “Wanda is a friendly face for students receiving services in the College’s Academic Success Center,” added Starling. “Her duties cross a range of responsibilities. She proctors test, assist with tutoring, and assists online students with their recurring support needs. Always student-centered, Wanda continues to be an important link between our faculty, our distance learning staff, and the eve- changing profile of students she has worked with during her career. When I reflect upon the original goal of the EXCEL award, Wanda’s service to our students is an example of the outstanding commitment to SCC the Foundation wanted to celebrate.”
Turlington’s estimation was the same. “Wanda Kenny was lauded for her patience, kindness, efficiency, and professionalism in working with students in the Academic Success Center,” she says. “She quietly assists students and faculty in staying organized and navigating technical issues that can truly make all the difference in achievement. She has an amazing talent for diffusing stress and helping students see a path to success. Everyone at the college knows they can depend on Wanda, and faculty call her ‘the face of the academic success center’.”
Finalists for this year’s award also included Amanda Raynor who serves as the college’s Student Engagement Coordinator as well as Perry Gillespie, Director of SCC’s Career and College Promise (CCP) program. Raynor helped organize the college’s new intramurals program, while Gillespie has engineered an increased enrollment in CCP.
“Perry’s dedication to students in our high schools is the driving force behind our increased enrollment through CCP,” Turlington points out. He takes student success personally will find a way to help them achieve goals.” Regarding Raynor, she says, “Amanda is fearless in taking on new projects like the intramural program and the Viking Fuel food bank. She keeps students engaged and on the right track.”
Also recognized as finalists were Sharon West, who now serves as TITLE after spending years bolstering the college’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program. Additionally, Betsy Lloyd, Registrar at SCC who has had an impact on the college’s overall increase in enrollment this fall.
“Sharon works across so many boundaries to help students succeed,” adds Turlington. “She’s especially creative in finding resources for students in need. When BLET students did not have a physician or insurance to get a physical to enroll, she engaged a doctor on the foundation board to give them free of charge!” Of Lloyd, Turlington notes, “Betsy’s hard work and expertise is the backbone of the student experience. She never leaves a job undone and kindly responds to multiple demands on her time.”
The Excel awards are presented in front of peers at the SCC Foundation’s annual campus drive event. The theme for this year’s event was the 70’s. Sampson Community College is the only college whose employees donate to student college scholarships at a 100% rate and have for more than 30 years. For more information the SCC Foundation, contact Turlington at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 910.900.4072.