Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations





Robert Ricketts

Even as a child Danville Community College student Robert Ricketts knew he wanted to be a nurse. But with a family background in military service, he had to find a way to combine the two interests.


The 20-year-old son of Teresa and Bryan Ricketts of Sutherlin came to DCC in fall 2009, after graduating two years earlier from Dayspring Baptist Christian School in Danville. He enrolled in the First Year Studies program to get the preparation he needed to enroll in the College’s Registered Nursing program.


“I want to be a pediatric nurse because I have a big heart for everybody. But, I really love children,? he says remembering the time when he needed the services of a pediatric nurse because he was born eight weeks prematurely at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington, DC. “Being a nurse is something I’ve always wanted to do. I want to help those who can’t help themselves.?


In addition to being a pediatric nurse, his goal is to focus on medical research where he hopes to one day find a cure for childhood cancers. He explains that his cousin at age four was thought to have had cancer. Instead, the tumor was benign, but Ricketts remembers the stress it placed on his concerned family.


“I want to be able to research the early warning signs in children so we can identify the disease quicker,? he says.


Ricketts grew up in a military family, having lived in Japan, Quantico, VA, and Virginia Beach. His father was a U.S. Marine and his grandfather was in the U.S. Army Airborne. It was only natural that he would seek an opportunity to serve his country. Prior to finishing high school, he had a conversation with a Virginia Army National Guard recruiter and began plans to join that branch of service. He completed nine weeks of Basic Training at Fort Knox, KY, and seven weeks of advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Since 2007, he has drilled with a unit based in Chatham.


After completing his studies at DCC, Ricketts plans to transfer to Radford University, where he can pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. He expects to later obtain his masters and doctorate in medical research.


“DCC was an easy choice for me,? he says explaining why he chose the community college. “There’s flexibility with classes that work around your schedule – night (evenings) or on line.


“I dreaded school. My family and friends supported me. They pushed me to do it,? he continues noting that he is a first generation college student. “But DCC offers a different type of learning style. It’s been easier than I thought it would be.?


Since enrolling at DCC, Ricketts has become involved in several student organizations, including the Student Leadership Program, in which he was one 11 students selected to visit the Virginia General Assembly in February for “Everyday is Community College Day?. He also attended a statewide student leadership conference in November 2009. He adds that he is currently interested in establishing a chapter of Virginia 21 on campus.


“Virginia 21 is a non-partisan group. It’s a political education group for students to provide information and encourage voter registration,? Ricketts says. “This is something we need.?


Ricketts also encourages others to attend DCC.


“I tell them about my experience here, how the College really works for me and how flexible DCC is. You can work and go to school.? Ricketts says.


For more information about the First Year Studies Program, please contact Cathy Pulliam, Coordinator of Recruitment and Enrollment Management, 434.797.8538, 800.560.4291, ext. 8538, or click here.


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