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Alumni Share How Surry Community College Prepared Them for University STEM Programs

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Three Surry Community College graduates recently returned to the college to meet with current science students about their positive experiences transferring from SCC to four-year colleges and universities.

As part of a series of science seminars, the SCC Sciences Division hosted the talk to provide current students an opportunity to hear contemporary perspectives and ask questions about transferring into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs at higher institutions.


Three alumni presented their transfer experiences at the seminar: Alex Moss of Pulaski, Va., Megan Stanley of Elkin, and Giseline Martinez of Dobson.


Moss graduated from SCC in 2019 with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees and transferred to Radford University where he majored in Wildlife Biology. He is currently employed as a ranger at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, Va.


Stanley graduated from SCC in 2012 with an Associate in Applied Science and was employed as a medical assistant. Four years later, she returned to SCC, graduating in 2018 with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, and then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Florida in the Medical Physiology and Pharmacology Program and is employed at SCC as a tutor for Anatomy and Physiology.

Martinez graduated from SCC with an Associate in Science degree in 2015 and transferred to Salem College in Winston-Salem where she majored in Biology. She is a Hamilton-Carter Scholarship recipient at Duke University, where she has been accepted into the Duke Physician Assistant Program for Fall 2024.

All three of the alumni expressed opinions that Surry Community College had well-prepared them for transferring into academically challenging science programs in four-year institutions, noting that their instructors and the level of instruction at SCC made the most positive difference in their experiences. All reported that they felt they were at the same academic level or even higher than their counterparts who had attended the four-year institution from their freshman years.

Martinez, who is the first in her mostly Spanish-speaking family to attend college in the United States, said, “My instructors at Surry knew me as a person, and not just as a student. My advisor came to me to help me find scholarships and a program at Salem College. I transferred there as a junior, and the only classes I still needed to take for my four-year degree were their upper-level science courses.”

Moss, also a first-generation college student, said that he initially came to SCC because his parents made him come, but while taking General Biology with SCC Biology Instructor Grayson Patton, he realized he loved biology and wound up staying at SCC for three years.

“The learning tools I got here at Surry got me through the pandemic and all the online learning I had to do at Radford,” Moss said. “Radford University would have been a lot harder without Surry. I actually felt head and shoulders above others in my classes there.”

Stanley, who admits to loving to learn in many subject areas, said she loved her SCC math and science courses. She worked in various areas including urgent care, pediatrics, and as a medical assistant, but after stints in each field, she felt she needed something more.

“I liked the idea of going further,” she said. “Once I met my advisor, who was also my biology instructor, Ms. Amanda Atwood, I felt she got to know me as a person. We were very much alike. She had attended UNCG and felt it would be a good match for me. She helped me apply for the Armfield Scholarship, and even went with me to UNCG to help me decide if that was the school for me. She made a difference for me.”

Also the first in her family to attend college, Stanley commented, “I didn't know anything about FAFSA or loans, college applications, or how to appropriately plan and register for classes each semester. Without the mentorship and advice from SCC instructors and the opportunities available to students at SCC, I wouldn't be where I am today. My mentors were approachable and available if I needed to ask questions about anything. They often went out of their way to encourage my success as a college student and cared about my overall well-being. Starting off in an environment like SCC is advantageous to future success at the university level. I want students to know that if I could do it, so can they.”


For more information about STEM programs at SCC, contact Jeff Jones, Sciences Division Chair, at (336) 386-3391 or jonesjr@surry.edu.

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