By starting my degree here at Thomas Nelson, it allowed me to not only save money, but it also took away the burden of being away from my family and the financial issues.
For Deanna Caldwell, Thomas Nelson Community College was the logical choice for starting a higher education journey. Inspired by her mother, a 1987 Thomas Nelson graduate, Caldwell received an Associate of Science degree in Science in May and started classes at Virginia Tech this fall.
“I decided to follow in her footsteps … By starting my degree here at Thomas Nelson, it allowed me to not only save money, but it also took away the burden of being away from my family and the financial issues, as well,” said Caldwell,
An advanced studies graduate of Denbigh Baptist Christian School, Caldwell completed math classes at Thomas Nelson as a dual-enrolled student during her junior year. She enrolled full time in summer 2015 three days after high school graduation, and strict adherence to her education plan is paying off.
Majoring in biochemistry and microbiology at the prestigious Blacksburg university, Caldwell has her sights squarely on a future in medicine. “I plan on graduating from Virginia Tech within the next three years with two bachelor’s degrees and then going to [Eastern Virginia Medical School] for their physician assistant program. Once graduating, I hope to be able to work at a children’s hospital such as [Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters].”
Caldwell is grateful for the experiences Thomas Nelson afforded. While enrolled, she honed leadership skills as a Student Government Association (SGA) senator, American Red Cross Club president and National Society of Leadership and Success president. “One of my favorite memories is going on a Leadership Retreat to the Founders Inn with fellow presidents of student clubs and the SGA. I would recommend Thomas Nelson to students who are not sure which field they are interested in, trying to save money, or are wishing to live local,” said Caldwell.
The flexible schedule she enjoyed as a full-time Thomas Nelson student also allowed her to volunteer at the Gloucester- Mathews Humane Society and work part time as a student advisor.
Caldwell said numerous Thomas Nelson faculty and staff members had a positive impact. She expressed special thanks to Retention Coach Monette Dutch, Biology Professor Ann Evans, Professional Advisor Melissa Gray, Chemistry Professor Olufunke Olagunju and Biology Professor Jacqueline Spencer for their extraordinary contributions to her education.