TNCC Student Earns Prestigious Valley Proteins Fellowship


Published: June 17, 2013

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) student Albert Kates has been selected as part of the third class of the Valley Proteins Fellows Program, administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. Out of the more than 400,000 students Virginia’s Community Colleges serve across the state, only 10 are selected for the Valley Proteins Fellows Program. The approximate value of the scholarship, accompanied with professional development, travel, and cultural opportunities, is $15,000. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet so many important people and opening a lot of doors for myself,” Kates said.

The core mission of the Valley Proteins Fellows Program is to help promising, second-year students at Virginia’s Community Colleges pursue their academic goals and strengthen their leadership skills. In addition to receiving full tuition, book expenses and fees, the Fellows participate in a unique curriculum of intellectual and cultural activities. The Fellows also volunteer 80 hours of community service during the academic year to hone their leadership abilities and develop a strong foundation for future success.

Kates, a Social Science major at TNCC, will satisfy the volunteerism requirement at Trinity United Methodist Church in Poquoson where he sings in the praise band and helps the youth pastor with various programs. He also serves as a mentor to his peers outside of the church.

He said he’s never too busy to help someone with a problem or answer a question about his faith. It is his way of giving as much of himself as he can to everyone including strangers. “I try to make friends with everyone,” he said.

The 2012 Poquoson High School graduate enrolled at Thomas Nelson during the fall 2012 semester. After completing an Associate Degree, he plans to transfer to Old Dominion University and pursue a career as a physical education teacher. “I want to take what I learned and pass it on to the kids,” he said. “I want to touch everyone.”

The fellows program is made possible through a generous donation of Valley Proteins, Inc. The Winchester-based company has been in the rendering business for more than 50 years and currently operates 13 plants in five states. The management of Valley Proteins is committed to outstanding corporate citizenship, excellent customer service, technological innovation and support for the community college mission.

“My brother and I are pleased to support the Valley Proteins Fellows program because it provides us with the opportunity to support communities where our business has operations,” said Michael A. Smith, vice president of Valley Proteins, Inc.

“The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education is dedicated to expanding opportunities by leveraging partnerships,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “This program is a great example of the synergy that comes from joining together employers that are vested in the quality of tomorrow’s Virginia workforce and the community colleges that elevate it every day.”

 



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