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President's Newsletter

  Frederick Community College
November 2020
A Message From the President

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Every year, I am grateful for our incredible students, faculty, and staff who work hard to ensure FCC is a center of excellence for our community. Their dedication to our College has never been more apparent than this past year.

The pandemic has caused challenges for us all. We are grateful that our students, faculty, and staff have stepped up in every sense of the word.

Anyone who knows our students, knows how hardworking and resilient they are. They have academic and career goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them. This year, they have adapted to remote learning while dealing with other challenges in their personal lives. Their motivation to succeed and ability to overcome obstacles is inspiring.

Our faculty and staff have had to be flexible and make changes to serve our students. Every step of the way they have prioritized the needs of our students. They go above and beyond each day to ensure our students have the tools and support they need to succeed. We are grateful for their innovative nature and their passion for helping students.

It has been said that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react. We have seen countless examples of our students, faculty, and staff succeeding in new and exciting ways, defining what it means to make the best of every situation.

We thank our entire FCC community for maintaining public safety and supporting our students in the midst of this pandemic. Together, we have risen to the challenge and together, we will continue to do so.

We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving season.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Burmaster
President, Frederick Community College

New Army Credentialing Assistance Program Comes to FCC

FCC will soon offer the new Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) program, which allows soldiers to earn professional and technical credentials, in both credit and non-credit bearing programs.  
“The staff members of Frederick Community College Veteran and Military Services are looking forward to helping active duty soldiers expand their skill sets to support their current military responsibilities,” said Rachel Nachlas, Director for Veteran and Military Services. “This program will also be instrumental for soldiers as they prepare for a transition to the civilian workforce.”
Prior to the CA program, soldiers were only eligible to use tuition assistance for credit-bearing programs. 
FCC Veteran and Military Services will work closely with the Ft. Detrick Education Center to assist eligible soldiers. 
We thank all those at FCC who helped in the approval process for this program, including:
Rachel Nachlas
Jane Beatty
Dr. Molly Carlson
Dr. Amy Coldren
Pamela Dubitsky
Patricia Meyer
Tricia Morris
Stephanie Roth
Deirdre Weilminster
For more information, soldiers can contact the FCC Veteran and Military Services Office at or 301-624-2836.

Visit Day for FCC Foundation Goes Virtual

The FCC Foundation continued its annual Visit Day event last month, where Foundation volunteers, faculty, administrators, and students meet with local individuals, business owners, and alumni to talk about scholarships and program support needs at FCC.

This year, all visits were done virtually from October 23 to October 30.

We thank our community partners, students, FCC Foundation board members, and faculty and staff for coming together to make Visit Day a success.

From the community:

  • Dr. Vincent Brown (FCC alumnus), assistant professor-research who specializes in climatology at Louisiana State University
  • Dave Fairburn, cyber expert and owner of CyberPro
  • Jeff Griffin, general manager of DCM BioServices and president of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek
  • Joanne McCoy, president of McCoy Media Group, Inc and president of the Rotary Club of Frederick
  • Mary Nagle, former president of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek
  • Andi Overton, director of business development at Mount St. Mary’s University – Frederick campus 
  • Niccole Rolls (FCC alumna), partnership development director at the Frederick Rescue Mission
  • Denise Sparks (FCC alumna), American Association of University Women (AAUW) 

FCC students:

  • Jazlynn Renae Aguon
  • Andrea Fernandez
  • Logan Gordon
  • Ariana Johnson
  • Cristina Sherwood
  • Emma Wachter, SGA president
  • Kaitlyn Wachter

From the FCC Foundation:

  • Elizabeth Burmaster, FCC president and board director
  • Chris Clemons, secretary and assistant treasurer
  • Wil Graham, board director
  • Tracey McPherson, board director
  • Justin Ramsburg, treasurer
  • Phil Sewell, chair
  • Myrna Whitworth, board director

FCC Faculty and Staff:

  • Janice Brown, director for the Office of Adult Services
  • James Hatch, director of the cybersecurity program
  • Corwin Parker, associate professor of history
  • Debbie Powell, executive director for the Office of Institutional Advancement and the FCC Foundation
  • Dr. Brian Stipelman, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of Liberal Arts

FCC and SNHU Sign New Agreement with Transfer Pathways and Tuition Discount

FCC and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) have signed an agreement that will ease the transfer process and provide a tuition discount for FCC graduates transferring to SNHU.
“We are proud of our many students who earn an associate degree at FCC and continue on to a four-year college or university for a bachelor’s degree,” said FCC President Elizabeth Burmaster. “We continually work with other higher education institutions to ensure our graduates have a variety of options when it comes to transferring. We are grateful to work with Southern New Hampshire University to offer new opportunities at a discounted rate for FCC students in a variety of our programs.”
The new agreement allows FCC graduates to transfer up to 90 credits toward an online bachelor’s degree program at SNHU. In addition, FCC alumni, employees, and family members (spouses, domestic partners, children, siblings and parents) will receive a 10% tuition discount as well as a waiver of the application fee.

The agreement offers pathways in business administration, general studies, respiratory care, social sciences, STEM technology, surgical technology, and the medical assistant program. 

All credits from courses where a C- or higher is earned will be transferrable.
For more information about transfer opportunities for FCC students, click here

FCC Alumni Spotlight - Anne Strotz

Each month, we highlight an FCC alumna or alumnus in this e-news. This month, we are featuring FCC alumna Anne Strotz.

Anne Strotz graduated from FCC in May 2015.  She began taking classes at FCC in 2012 as a dual enrollment student because it provided access to accredited classes that counted as homeschool high school credits while allowing her to work toward an associate degree.  

After graduating from FCC, Anne continued on to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications from Regent University, specializing in advertising and public relations,.

What did you enjoy most about FCC and how did your time there impact your career?
I appreciated the amount of resources offered to FCC students such as the library, different community type festivals, on-campus daycare, free tutoring, and co-curricular social groups. The classes that impacted me the most were macroeconomics and career communications. Both of those classes prepared me for real-world scenarios I would face as a working adult. I highly recommend career communications for anyone who needs an elective credit.

What do you enjoy about your work now? 
I work as an event coordinator now and completely adore the job. Working in the administrative/hospitality industry matches my exact skillset. I'm grateful that FCC offered me the opportunity to hone in on what I'm passionate about. After studying under professor Dr. Kathy Brooks, I knew being a communications major was meant for me.

Why do you think it is important that Frederick has a strong community college like FCC?
Frederick has a very unique opportunity due to the fact that we are a geographical mixing bowl. Within an hour you can be in Washington, DC; Gettysburg, PA; Harpers Ferry, WV; or Leesburg, VA. By having a "home base" in Frederick, students share in the opportunity to apply what they've been taught through a vast career or college field that reaches through the four-state area. FCC allows students to work at the pace they need - full-time, part-time, at night – while being extremely accommodating to transfer students.  

If you know of an FCC alum who should be featured here, email Caroline Cole at

FCC Announces New Head Coach for Men's Basketball

FCC has named Jeff Chambers as its new head coach for the men’s basketball program. Chambers comes to the position with a lot of FCC experience, having spent the last nine years as an assistant coach for the program. He replaces Chris Lewis, who left FCC to coach at UMBC as the assistant coach with the women's program. 

“Coach Chambers has been an integral part of our men’s basketball program for almost a decade now, and we are thrilled to announce him as the new head coach,” said Dr. Nora Clark, vice president for Learning Support at FCC. “He is known for the strong relationships he builds with his players and for helping them succeed in all areas of their lives.”

Chambers was part of the coaching staff that led the team to a Maryland Junior College (JUCO) Athletic Conference championship during the 2014-2015 season, and a Region XX championship during the 2015-2016 season, earning them a trip to the NJCAA DII National Tournament. Both accomplishments were the first in program history.   

The team is scheduled to start competition play in January 2021.

Maryland Department of Health Stresses Importance of Flu Shot

The Maryland Department of Health is stressing the importance of getting a flu shot to all Marylanders who are able to take the shot. Flu shots are more important than ever this year. Ask your health care provider for a shot, or find a free public flu clinic at For more information about seasonal flu, visit

Marking 20 Years and $1 Million in Shields Music Scholarships

The FCC Music Program recently held its Shields Winner Showcase to highlight the musical abilities of students who have benefitted from Shields Music Scholarship Awards.

For the last 20 years, the Shields Music Scholarship Awards, offered through the George L. Shields Foundation, have provided funding for school-aged children and college students to take music classes at FCC taught by faculty members from the FCC Music Department.

The Shields Foundation has now given more than $1 million to FCC through scholarships, faculty stipends, and other program support of the Music Department. We thank the Shields Foundation for its longtime, generous support of FCC that has allowed many students the opportunity to learn and improve their skills in piano, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, and voice.

This year, the showcase was done virtually, with students submitting performance videos from their homes. To view the performances, click here.

To celebrate the 20th year of the Shields Music Scholarship program, we reached out to a former recipient to see how the music scholarships and lessons she received provided the foundation for her career.

Kayla Lyles first heard about the Shields Music Scholarship program through her mom, Trudy Lyles, who works at FCC. Kayla started taking voice lessons through the program when she was in 6th grade and continued all the way through her senior year of high school.

She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2012 with her Bachelor of Music in voice performance. Knowing she wanted to utilize music to help people, she continued on to Shenandoah University, where she earned her graduate equivalency certification in music therapy. She has been board certified in the field for five years now and has previously worked in private practice serving older adults and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as at Kennedy Krieger with children on the autism spectrum. Currently, she uses music therapy to serve individuals with mental illness.

She is working on her master’s degree in music therapy at Shenandoah and hopes to conduct research as it relates to music therapy practices and mental health.

Kayla answered some questions about what she gained from the music scholarships that allowed her to study at FCC as a child, and what impact they have had on her career. 

What did you enjoy most about these lessons?
I loved that in the midst of learning music, I was also learning life lessons – time management, responsibility, discipline. Things I didn’t realize until years later, but am forever grateful for. That’s the beauty of music.

How have these lessons had an impact on you as you grew up?
As I grew, these lessons provided me with structure and an outlet to express myself. As someone who used to be incredibly shy, being able to perform, attend competitions, and meet all types of people allowed me to grow more comfortable with who I was as a person.

Is there anything else you want to add?
I’m so thankful for the strong musical foundation I received during my time at FCC and my studies with Dr. Paula Chipman and working closely with John Wickelgren who accompanied me for so many years. They always believed in me and encouraged me and their students to pursue music beyond the walls of FCC, because it is possible to make this your livelihood.

For information on the FCC Music Department, click here.

FCC HCTI Program Manager Wins DoGood-er Award

Elizabeth DeRose, program manager of the FCC Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism Institute (HCTI), was one of eight people selected for a 2020 DoGood-er Award. These awards recognize individuals in Frederick County who “do good” by serving their communities and the people in it.

DeRose won the “Education DoGood-er” award, which is given each year to someone who has impacted students or classrooms to improve education in our community and who have gone above and beyond to move people forward in their lives by providing necessary skills and concepts to achieve greatness.

“Elizabeth was chosen by our judges for her breadth of service in the culinary arts, bringing jobs and passion to the industry,” said Caressa Flannery, founder and coordinator for the DoGood-er Awards. “[She was also chosen] for the service she has contributed to with the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek and Oktoberfest and many other civic organizations. Her tireless efforts have helped many.”

DeRose was nominated for the award by members of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, including Mary Barry, vice president, business development officer for Woodsboro Bank.

“Elizabeth is the epitome of a DoGood-er,” Mary Barry said. “The impact she has made with HCTI has been instrumental to the community. Her passion for education, teaching, and connecting others is very evident."

FCC Restaurant Offering To-Go Gourmet Dinner Service 

The FCC restaurant, 200 Monroe, is offering gourmet to-go dinners to members of the public on Thursdays from now until December 3, 2020. The meals are prepared by students in the FCC Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism Institute (HCTI) under the guidance of the executive chef and FCC instructors and must be ordered at least one day in advance.

Members of the public can order the meals online, which come with a first-course, entrée, and a sweet treat. Patrons can choose between a soup or salad option for their first course, and cheese and Swiss chard cannelloni, roast chicken, flank steak, or shrimp crab cake for their entrée. Drinks are also included.

Orders must be placed at least 3 hours in advance, but can be placed starting the Friday before for a Thursday pick up. There are a limited number of orders available each week, so patrons are encouraged to order early. You can order online by clicking this link.

For more information on 200 Monroe, click here

Bestselling Author Wes Moore Holds Q&A With FCC as Part of Frederick Reads

Bestselling author Wes Moore participated in two virtual events for the Frederick community last month, one of which was hosted by FCC.

Moore’s virtual visits were part of the annual Frederick Reads event, a collaborative effort between FCC, Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL), and the Weinberg Center for the Arts.

We thank event sponsors The C. Burr Artz Trust, Ausherman Family Foundation, Frederick Arts Council, Delaplaine Foundation, Curious Iguana, and Plamondon Hospitality.

Moore became well known after the success of his 2010 New York Times Bestseller, “The Other Wes Moore,” which chronicles the lives of two kids named Wes Moore who both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods. The author’s journey took him from being an inner city youth to decorated combat veteran, Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow, social entrepreneur, and business leader while the other Wes Moore ended up convicted of murder and serving a life sentence.

The first Frederick Reads event, hosted by the Weinberg Center, was held on Oct. 19 and moderated by Shemica Sheppard, FCC associate professor of English. The second event, hosted by FCC, was held the next day and moderated by Dr. Tony Hawkins, Provost/executive vice president for Academic Affairs, Continuing Education, and Workforce Development. President Burmaster provided the welcome remarks.

During the FCC question and answer session, Moore spoke about different forms of inequity, the need to be anti-racist in action and policies, the importance of using all our platforms to fight racism and inequity, and the need to support military members and veterans, especially when they return home.

Moore’s talk connected to work the College is doing to address racial injustice and strengthen the FCC commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and social justice. To read more, click here.

Spring Semester Scholarship Application Period Now Open 

Each year, the FCC Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships to new and returning students. These scholarships are made possible by generous donations from community groups, foundations, individuals, and local businesses.

The scholarship application period for spring semester scholarships is now open and runs until December 31, 2020. Students will write one essay that can be used to apply to as many scholarships as they want. Students are encouraged to personalize their essays as much as possible.

To view available scholarships for the spring semester, click here.

For more information, contact Michael Thornton, FCC scholarship program manager, at 

Student Spotlight - Jake Chewning

Jake Chewning is in his first semester as a college student at FCC, but his ties to the College go back much further than just a few months. He participated in the Kids on Campus program at FCC for much of his childhood, starting when he was just seven years old. He also took a Dual Enrollment class last year at his home high school, Urbana.

Jake said he has always loved the way the main campus feels, and has had a smooth transition to remote learning his first semester in college.

“It has been pretty easy and efficient,” Jake said. “I lay out a schedule at the beginning of each week to make sure I’m staying on track in my classes so I’m not overwhelmed.”

Jake’s favorite course so far is Intro to Acting with Tad Janes (THEA102).

Spring registration is now open.
Browse courses here >>
7932 Opossumtown Pike
Frederick, MD 21702
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7932 Opossumtown Pike • Frederick, MD 21702

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Frederick Community College makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities for College-sponsored events and programs. If you have accommodation needs or questions, please call 301-846-2408. To request a sign language interpreter, please visit If you have interpreting related questions, please email Sign language interpreters will not be automatically provided for College-sponsored events without a request for services. To guarantee accommodations, requests must be made at least five workdays in advance of a scheduled event. If your request pertains to accessible transportation for a College-sponsored trip, please submit your request at least 21 calendar days in advance. Requests made less than 21 calendar days in advance may not be able to be guaranteed.
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