Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations

STUDENT SUCCESS SPOTLIGHT - November/December 2009
Janelle P. Sampson
Science/College Transfer

Janelle Sampson

There is a lot in store in 2010 for Janelle P. Sampson of Danville. The 22-year-old will complete her studies for an Associate of Arts and Science Degree in Science in December 2009, and then she's headed off to either American University in Washington, DC or James Madison University to pursue a bachelor's degree in communications. In fact, we might just see Sampson on our television newscasts soon.

"I actually decided to major in Science after the summer of my 11th grade year," Sampson says. "At the time, my mother had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis; one of my sisters was suffering from headaches associated with meningitis, and my other sister, who had back problems. I wanted to do something that ensured that they would have whatever they may have needed. I wanted to actually make the medicine."

She enrolled in DCC in August 2005 after considering her options of leaving the area.

"I wanted to get a quality education without leaving the life I knew, here in Danville. I wanted to spend my time focusing on my studies instead of worrying about employment, housing, how I would communicate with family, or transportation in/from a new/different city," she explains.

Now she's trying to decide how to combine her love of science with a newfound interest in communications and public relations. Sampson, the daughter of Alan and Valinda Sampson of Danville, was a student worker in DCC's Public Relations Office last spring. She enjoyed the diversity of responsibilities in the office, as well as the opportunity to host the April 2009 edition of the community college's television program, "DCC Today", which is broadcast monthly on WGSR TV.

"That was when I really learned about communications and public relations," she says. "I enjoyed writing the news releases, preparing the publications like the class schedules and brochures, and working with the media. It would be great if I could combine the two for a career in science and communications."

Sampson has also found time to get involved in a number of DCC organizations and activities. She currently serves as president of the Upsilon Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year college students, and most recently she received the Distinguished Chapter Officer award at the Virginia Region Phi Theta Kappa Convention. Through her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa, Sampson has worked with Habitat for Humanity and fundraising for DOVES. She has been named to the Vice President's Honors List and received scholarships and other awards for excelling in her studies. In January 2009, she participated in a visit to the Virginia General Assembly during "Community College Day."

Sampson says attending college was an easy choice for her, but it hasn't been without some obstacles along the way.

"Starting off, I was faced with the common issue of how to pay for college. Even though I could obtain financial assistance from my family, I was at a point where I wanted to prove my independence," Sampson says. "I dealt many times with the option of taking a break from my educational endeavors and working to pay bills and save money. I did indeed end up taking two separate breaks from DCC to work multiple jobs.

" I've always been surrounded by positive people who have only wanted the best for me," she continues. "My church family at High Street Baptist Church (and Pastor Rev. Jerome Morris) always taught me that my options would be endless with a proper education. Besides my church members, my family, in general has always pushed me. Growing up my family showed my sisters and me the power an educated woman can possess if she worked hard."

When Sampson transfers to a university in the fall semester 2010, she'll also have an addition to her family, as she is expecting her first child scheduled to arrive in late January.

"Many people still believe that having a child means you will be unable to pursue a quality education and continue your studies, but I plan to do so," she says.

Sampson also says the DCC family has been very supportive and encouraging, particularly the Phi Theta Kappa members. She says it's because of this supportive atmosphere that she encourages others to attend DCC.

"I encourage others to come here. First, I tell them about the affordability and financial assistance the college can provide. I tell them about DCC's variety of programs/organizations, and the vast schedule of school-sponsored activities and contests. DCC has small class sizes and students are able to build close personal relationships with the faculty and staff."

For more information about the Science/College Transfer program, contact Cathy Pulliam, Coordinator of Recruitment and Enrollment Management, 434.797.8538, 800.560.4291, ext. 8538, or click here.


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