Viking Spotlight: Ria Westphal

Written by Olivia Gillespie – Foundation Intern, Fall 2020 

(CLINTON, N.C.) – Ria Westphal grew up in the country of Germany until the age of twenty-one before moving to the United States. Westphal received a Bachelor’s in Graphics from Fayetteville State University and a Master’s in Humanities from California State University. Before coming to Sampson Community College (SCC), Westphal worked as an adjunct for Fayetteville Technical Community College for ten years. 

While attending college, Westphal stayed home with her daughter, who is now twenty-eight years old. Westphal’s main areas of expertise are Art, Humanities, and Physical Education. Now at SCC, Westphal works as an Art and Humanities instructor. Her journey has taken her from Germany to the small area of Sampson County.  

From coming to a larger community college, Westphal has noticed how local SCC is and how easy it is to befriend others. She feels like the people at SCC have always been patient and friendly.   

“I love the family-type atmosphere, SCC is a smaller environment. SCC does not have the big-city environment, so the people are little more patient, more friendly, and more outgoing,” Westphal stated.   

Westphal joined SCC as an adjunct but then become a full-time instructor for Art and Humanities when the position became open. Her love for art started as a child since her dad was a designer for the Mercedes-Benz company. As a child, she could always remember having artsy things in her life and home. Her love for the Humanities came as a result of her interest in anything different or foreign. 

In her free time, Westphal loves to read, do art, and participate in martial arts. While at SCC, Westphal has given martial arts workshops through the Psychology Club. Her students and fellow instructors find her a joy to work with and learn from.   

Lew Gravis, Division Chair of Arts and Sciences, shared, “Ms. Westphal is one of the most creative faculty members in the Division of Arts & Sciences. She constantly challenges her students to think outside the box which subsequently allows them to channel their creativity in interesting and unusual ways through their art.”  

Ria Westphal truly wants to be back into the classroom again where she can see her students face-to-face. However, currently, she is teaching all her classes online due to the ongoing pandemic. Westphal has created an excellent path for herself at Sampson Community College.   

About Sampson Community College:  Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education. 

Ria Westphal on the Sampson Community College while following COIVD-19 mask protocol. (Courtesy Photo)