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Alumni Spotlight - Michaela Larson


Surry Community College alumni Michaela Larson plans to use her community college experience as a stepping stone to transfer to a four-year college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a minor in Psychology. She eventually hopes to earn a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and work for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and then ultimately get a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Forensic Psychology.

Larson recommends Surry Community College for its student support system for students.

“The teachers and staff truly make you feel welcomed. They care and treat you like family,” she said.

Larson graduated from SCC in May 2019 with an associate degree and a certificate in Criminal Justice Technology. She graduated from West Carteret High School in Morehead City, N.C., in 2012. While she has been figuring out her career goals and taking college classes, she has worked in the hospitality industry as the dining services manager/food and beverage assistant manager for McConnell Golf in Greenville, N.C., before coming to Old North State Winery in Mount Airy where she has worked for 2.5 years as a bartender.

While Larson was at SCC, she stayed highly engaged in campus activities.

“My experience at Surry was one for the ages and one that I hope many people have. I got involved in a lot. Being LEO Club President and spreading awareness about the criminal justice system was something I was extremely passionate about,” Larson said. “I also got to lead the student body as SGA (Student Government Association) President and that is something I hold dear to my heart.”

LEO stands for Lambda Epsilon Omega; Surry’s club is a chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association, Lambda Epsilon, a nonprofit dedicated to the support and promotion of law enforcement as a profession and criminal justice as a field of academic study. SCC’s LEO Club coordinates and participates in various campus, community, and fundraising events focused on educating the public about law enforcement and strengthening the relationship between local law enforcement and the community.

Being involved in campus activities gave Larson excellent leadership opportunities that will boost her resume and university admission applications.

“I got to experience leadership and guidance from many incredible people. From conferences to storming our states capital with the N.C. Association of Community College Trustees and other SGA members was a moving moment. To see everyone come together and support community colleges was something I hope continues in the future,” Larson said. “I joined NSLS (National Society of Leadership and Success) and got to watch very young leaders take charge and make a difference in our community. My experience at Surry would be nothing without Mary Burton (Lead Instructor – Criminal Justice/Latent Evidence), Kasey Martin (past Student Services Coordinator) and Sabrina Terry (Dean of Student Services). They guided me and made me a better leader. They gave me many responsibilities, and I hope that I lived up to their expectations.”

NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership honor society. Students are selected by their college for membership based on academic standing or leadership potential. NSLS provides a step-by-step program for members to build their leadership skills through participation at their campus or online. Upon completion of the program, members receive their leadership certificate and take their place among the top student leaders at their campus and across the country. Membership is for life and provides access to benefits including scholarships and awards, exclusive on-campus events, employer recruitment through an online job bank, and discounts on computers, textbooks, grad school prep courses, insurance and much more.

Sabrina Terry, SCC Dean of Student Services worked closely with Larson while she was a student leader.

“Michaela was a strong and impactful leader on the SCC campus during her tenure as SGA President. She helped cultivate other student leaders on campus and always brought a high level of excitement to each planning event and meeting,” Terry said. “She was always eager to assist in any capacity to meet the needs of the college, which illustrated her commitment to the betterment of SCC. My hope for Michaela is that she is able to use her experiences and education from SCC throughout her life journey.”

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