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President's Newsletter

Frederick Community College
February 2020
A Message From the President

We recently kicked off our 62nd spring semester with our Spring Convocation and Celebration of Excellence. During the event, we celebrated outstanding service, introduced new employees, and honored new Emeritus and Distinguished Status recipients.

We also presented numerous awards that highlight the innovative and dynamic work that our students, faculty, and staff do at FCC every day.
Congratulations to all our deserving award recipients:

The President’s Award recognizes an individual or a collaborative group of employees who have contributed to the betterment of the College community.

This year, two outstanding faculty members received the President’s Award: Dr. Andrea Dardello and Dr. Bruce Thompson.

Dr. Dardello, a Center for Teaching and Learning Faculty Scholar, focuses on culturally responsive teaching through the lens of dignity. She leads a seminar that helps faculty address the needs of the whole student, ultimately contributing to retention and success.
Dr. Thompson leads our Honors College, which provides opportunities for our students to explore, grow, and push the boundaries of their higher education experience.
The Dr. Henry P. & M. Page Laughlin Distinguished Awards recognize excellence among administrators, faculty, adjunct faculty, and support personnel.

2020 recipients:

Distinguished Administrator:
Elizabeth Duffy
Distinguished Faculty:
Dr. Andrea Dardello

Distinguished Adjunct Faculty:
Darla German
Distinguished Support Personnel:
Brian Holt

The Rewards and Recognition Program  highlights exceptional employee performance through peer nomination and collaborative selection.

2020 recipients:
  • Administrators: Marsha Mason-Sowell, Jennifer Moxley, Greg Solberg, and Caroline Cole
  • Faculty: Frederick Cope, Dr. Perry Wood, Bryan Hiatt, and Magin LaSov Gregg
  • Support Personnel: Cameron Butler, Donna Gebhart, Brian Holt, and Cathy Summers

The President’s Diversity Advisory Council Award recognizes individuals who strengthen the diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and values of FCC.

Our student award recipient was Tamyka Waters, who restarted the Adult Student Union. Tamyka embodies inclusion in her everyday life and builds community among our adult students.

Our employee award recipient was Ivania Amador, FCC adult education and ESL transition specialist. Ivania is a role model and advocate for meeting the needs of our diverse students who hail from more than 75 countries. Her knowledge of best practices ensures that Adult Education students receive equitable services and feel included in our FCC community.

The Dr. Carol Eaton Innovation Award  recognizes an employee or group of employees who have introduced a new idea, process, service, or program that has resulted in positive change for FCC.

This award was given to the Parents Lead Program team. The Parents Lead Program provides opportunities and support for our students who are parents. We thank award recipients Anne Hofmann, Janice Brown, Dr. Molly Carlson, Britney Carter, Dr. Brian Stipelman, Michael Thornton, and Kristi Waters.

The Dr. Patricia Stanley Excellence and Leadership Award recognizes one student and one employee who have displayed outstanding service and leadership to the College community.

The student award was presented to Jassbeck Ramirez, who serves as the Student Government Association (SGA) president.

The employee award was presented to a group of faculty and staff who planned and managed a live Q&A video with astronaut Christina Koch who was aboard the International Space Station. Congratulations to Dr. Molly Carlson, Caroline Cole, Tiziana Cavinato, Dr. Marc Frankenberry, Michael Marshall, David Norman, Charles Pham, Michael Pritchard, Keith Rice, Dr. Brian Stipelman, Bryan Valko, and Joel Younkins.

We congratulate these employees and students for their excellence. We thank all our faculty and staff for their dedication to FCC and our students. We look forward to all that we will accomplish together in 2020.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Burmaster
President, Frederick Community College

FCC Alumni Spotlight - Keith Collins

Each month, we highlight an FCC alumna or alumnus in this e-news. This month, we are featuring FCC graduate Keith Collins. 

Keith Collins enrolled at FCC in 1987, after graduating from Linganore High School. Having already spent time helping his parents’ business, Collins Carpet Service, Inc., he knew business classes would be a good fit for him academically. Coming to FCC also allowed Collins to continue playing soccer, an opportunity he said provided him with lifelong friends. He graduated from FCC with his Associate Degree in Business Administration in 1989. Collins continued his academic and athletic career at Longwood College in Virginia, now Longwood University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in marketing, management, and finance.

Collins started working again for his family business just a week after graduating from Longwood. He now manages the company, based in Mt. Airy. Throughout the last few decades, soccer has continued to play an important role in his life. Collins coached the FCC men’s soccer team from 1993 to 2001, first as an assistant for two years, then as the head coach for seven years. He has coached youth soccer in Frederick County for 26 years, and has worked as a soccer referee for the last eight years, including refereeing FCC games.

His son also graduated from FCC, and is a current senior at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he is studying mathematics and computer science.

What did you gain from your time at FCC?
As I began my journey to acquire a business degree, my parents and I felt that FCC was a great place to start.  FCC laid the foundation for my learning and got me on a path to be successful. It was great to be able to apply what I learned in my business classes to my job. It helped me modernize my family’s business. The smaller class sizes at FCC were beneficial.  They created a great learning environment and my professors were fantastic. I still keep in touch with some of them to this day. I learned leadership skills that not only allowed me to be successful with my coaching career, but in business as well. 

You were a star member of the FCC men’s soccer team during your time here. How did that add to your college experience?
Playing soccer at FCC was such a positive experience for me. I always say I wish I could do it all over again because it was so much fun. There is a group of us who are still very close. We all went on to four-year schools and then came back to the area. It’s great to have those lifelong friends. I was named captain for both years I played on the team, and that was a big honor. Being a student athlete was great, but required a balance between school work, practices, and my job. I didn’t envision becoming the head coach after playing, but Dr. (Tom) Jandovitz, who had become a mentor to me while I was a student, encouraged me to apply. I’m grateful he did. It changed my life. As a player, I was given an opportunity to grow and shine. I wanted others to have the chance to share a great experience like I did. As a college soccer referee now, it’s clear that the soccer program at FCC has really blossomed and matured and I’m happy to see that.

You’ve been involved with FCC as a student, parent, and coach. How does FCC benefit our community?
FCC is one of the most sought after community colleges in the state, if not the region. It’s a wonderful stepping stone into the real world. At FCC, you can benefit from the small class size, you can save money, you can stay close to home, and you can find a career path that works for you. My son had a great experience, and is now doing well at UMBC. My wife went to Hagerstown Community College. We are big believers of the community college route. My daughter is still a sophomore in high school, but we’ve already talked to her about the benefits of going to FCC. 

If you know of an FCC alumna or alumnus who would be good to highlight, email Caroline Cole at 

Women's Basketball Player Earns National Player of the Week Honors

Nia Powell, a sophomore center on the FCC women’s basketball team, was named the NJCAA DII National Player of the Week for January 13-19. Powell had a dominant performance on Jan. 17 during a conference win over Howard Community College, pulling down 31 total rebounds and leading the team in scoring with 22 points.

Dr. Hawkins Delivers Keynote Address at 30th Annual AFACCT Conference

A group of FCC faculty and staff attended the 30th Annual Association of Faculties for the Advancement of Community College Teaching (AFACCT) Conference last month, hosted by the Community College of Baltimore County.

The theme of the two-day conference was “Global Learning: Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future.” It featured presentations from educators on successful global learning models.  

Dr. Tony D. Hawkins, FCC Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Continuing Education, and Workforce Development, gave the keynote address, titled, “Exploring the Global Learning Opportunities at Community Colleges.”

During his keynote, Dr. Hawkins explained the importance of global learning, saying:

“Global awareness has become a priority at colleges and universities.  Local problems have global connections and implications, and they cannot be solved by individuals in a single country. At the same time, employers have made a strong case for global learning.  According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Hart Research Associates, nearly 96% of employers agreed that students needed to be able to solve problems with people with different views from their own.  Seventy-eight percent felt students needed intercultural skills and understanding of societies and countries outside the United States.  Problem solving with people who are different and understanding societies and countries outside the U.S. are the types of skills that students learn from high-quality global learning experiences.” 

Dr. Hawkins described global learning initiatives at FCC, including globally responsive teaching and learning, and providing students, faculty, and staff opportunities to gain the knowledge, skills, and competency necessary in a globally connected world.

Lora Diaz, FCC assistant professor of English and the AFACCT representative for FCC, said of Dr. Hawkins’ keynote address: 
“Dr. Hawkins set the tone for the weekend theme of global education with his inspiring presentation that showed the significant role a community college can have in creating opportunities for global learning. All learning should offer inclusive opportunities for all its students. I’m so proud of what we are doing at FCC.”

Diaz and Jocelyn Hirai, also an FCC assistant professor of English, led a session to identify and debunk myths about global learning and examine assumptions that keep faculty members from creating a globally responsive learning experience for students.

Robin Shusko and Stephen Carter, both of the FCC Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management and Public Safety, presented on the importance of establishing global competence in public safety classrooms.

We thank these faculty and staff members who attended the conference to gain a deeper understanding of global learning to share with our students:
  • Michael Brazda 
  • Stephen Carter
  • Dr. Christine Chin Choy
  • Elizabeth DeRose
  • Lora Diaz
  • Jennifer DiSandro
  • Joann Doherty
  • Evan Evans
  • Mary Evans
  • Jocelyn Hirai
  • Magin LaSov Gregg
  • Dr. Sandy McCombe Waller
  • Mary Mogan-Vallon
  • Elizabeth Newdom
  • Frank Seidel
  • Robin Shusko
  • Emily Taylor
  • Dr. Kelly Trigger
  • Sarah Wagner
  • Donald Wharton
  • Jay Wilcox 
  • Marlena Wilson

Dr. Miller Appointed to the FCC Board of Trustees

Dr. April Miller has been appointed to the Frederick Community College Board of Trustees by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

Dr. Miller will fill the seat left vacant when former Trustee and past Board Chair Debra Borden’s term expired.

Dr. Miller served two consecutive terms on the Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) Board of Education, from 2010-2018. While on the Board, she served as vice president, chair of the Curriculum Committee, and chair of the Strategic Special Education Workgroup. 

“I am grateful to Governor Larry Hogan for appointing me to the FCC Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Miller. “FCC is a cornerstone of the educational landscape of Frederick County, and the partnerships it has built with other educational organizations have become a model in the State of Maryland. I am excited to work with FCC students, faculty, and staff.”

In her professional life, Dr. Miller is an optometrist in her 18th year of practice, currently at Dr. Nathan and Dr. Miller in Frederick.

Dr. Miller received a Bachelor’s of Arts in biology and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She received a Doctorate of Optometry from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, now Salus University.

A longtime Frederick County resident, Dr. Miller graduated from Middletown High School. She and her husband, Todd, live in Middletown with their three children.

Dr. Miller was officially sworn in as a member of the FCC Board of Trustees during the monthly Board meeting on January 22, 2020.

HCTI Earns Accreditation from the American Culinary Federation

The FCC Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism Institute (HCTI) recently earned accreditation and the highest possible evaluation result from The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) Accrediting Commission.

“Earning accreditation with such high marks is an honor for our Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism Institute,” FCC President Elizabeth Burmaster said. “We thank all our HCTI faculty and staff for providing such a strong program that ensures our College is creating the pipeline needed to help our local food service workforce thrive.”

The ACFEF Accrediting Commission is the national accrediting commission for culinary programs and is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Being accredited provides students assurance that the program meets or exceeds established industry standards and that all instructors teaching courses are highly qualified. It also helps students with employment opportunities after program completion.

As part of the accreditation process, a team of ACFEF Accrediting Commission-trained evaluators conducted a three-day site visit of HCTI in December and reviewed a comprehensive self-study submitted by HCTI earlier in the year.

During the site visit, evaluators observed classes and interviewed HCTI students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners. They also observed culinary students and staff as they served a three-course gourmet meal to members of the public at 200 Monroe, the FCC student-run restaurant. The team found zero areas of non-compliance.

“This entire review and accreditation process was an outstanding opportunity for us to share the many strengths of our program,” said Elizabeth DeRose, HCTI program manager. “The evaluation team highlighted many areas in which we don’t just meet the standards, but go above and beyond. This recognition proves to prospective students and employers what our current students and graduates know, that the HCTI program at FCC is a fantastic option for anyone looking to succeed in the food service industry.”

This is the first time HCTI was reviewed for accreditation. The accreditation covers both the Associate Degree in Culinary Arts and Supervision and the Culinary Skills Certificate. Students who complete either program will automatically be eligible to receive their professional certification from the American Culinary Federation.

For more information on HCTI, click here.

FCC & Shepherd University Sign New Agreement to Ease Transfer Process for Graphic Design Students

Frederick Community College (FCC) and Shepherd University have finalized an agreement that provides a smooth transition for FCC graphic design students when transferring into the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program at Shepherd.
The articulation agreement, which was signed earlier this month at Shepherd by officials from both institutions, allows FCC associate degree graduates to transfer all credits earned with a grade of C or better and grants them junior status at Shepherd if they transfer 60 credits.
“At FCC, we prioritize creating as many academic and career opportunities as possible for our students,” said FCC President Elizabeth Burmaster. “Shepherd University is a strong and innovative institution and we are thrilled to partner with them to provide this new pathway for our graphic design students.”
The agreement was signed by Dr. Scott Beard, Shepherd Provost, and Dr. Tony D. Hawkins, FCC Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Continuing Education, and Workforce Development.
“These agreements are so important as we help students take the next step in their career pathways and in their academic preparation and helping them achieve their potential both in their occupations and personally,” Dr. Beard said. “This is a great way for us to work together to make that happen.”
“Articulation agreements are critical in ensuring our students who wish to transfer after their time at FCC have valuable and varied options to continue their education while getting credit for all the hard work they have already completed,” Dr. Hawkins said. “We thank the many individuals at both FCC and Shepherd who have made this agreement possible so that our graphic design students can continue to succeed.”
For more information about transfer opportunities for FCC students, email or call (301) 846-2471.

String Faculty Showcase Musical Talents

Veteran string faculty Marjory Serrano, Adam Gonzalez, Lynn Fleming, and Alice Lee will join forces with new string faculty Jason Diggs and Rowell Jao to highlight the musical talents of FCC string faculty during “Strings Attached.”

The concert will take place Sunday, February 23 at 3 p.m. in the JBK Theater, located inside the Visual & Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.

This collaboration will feature a wide range of music, from the rich sonorities of Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E flat, op. 47 to the virtuosic gypsy violin music of Vittorio Monti’s Csardas.

Join us to meet the players and hear how these musical professionals are advancing the level of string playing in our community.

Next Moving Mountains Speaker Will Discuss Overcoming Challenges

Ryan Morse, owner of Crucible Performance, will speak at FCC at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 as part of the Moving Mountains Speaker Series.

Morse’s talk will focus on working through challenges in life, and viewing them through a positive lens.

“Challenges happen for us, not to us,” Morse said. “No matter what your goals are in life, you’re going to face challenges, and it’s all about how you react to them and move forward from them.”

Morse earned degrees in computer science and graphic design and spent time working for the government before finding his passion in the world of fitness. He eventually founded Crucible Performance, which helps people of all abilities reach their lifestyle goals and grow stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally.  

The monthly Moving Mountains Speaker Series features inspiring professionals who share their life experiences and encourage teens and young adults to set the bar high in all areas of their lives.

To learn more about the series, click here.

FCC Faculty Members Visit Ghana Ahead of Student Trip 

Four FCC faculty members from different academic disciplines have been awarded a state grant to lead a group of students on an immersive study abroad experience to Ghana next year.

Dr. Kathy Brooks (Communication), Sharon Garvey (Nursing), Corwin Parker (Social Science), and Shemica Sheppard (English) were selected by the Global Leadership Institute for the opportunity. The group recently returned from an exploratory trip to Ghana, where they mirrored the trip they are planning for students to work out potential challenges, ensure a seamless travel experience, and finalize appropriate curriculum.

The 12-day trip will bring students to three different regions in the country, and include numerous site visits each day.

Students in the communication, social science, and English courses will travel together in January 2021, while the nursing students will travel separately in spring 2021.

Coming from different disciplines, each faculty member will examine the same landscape through a different lens and perspective. For example, students in the communication course will study collectivist societies in action, while social science students might focus on the issue of human trafficking. English students will dive into the local literature and culture, while nursing students will gain clinical experience working in a hospital.

“This trip is open to any student who has an interest in an organic, authentic travel experience,” Brooks said. “This visit to Africa will dispel myths and stereotypes and allow students to get to know the people, the land, the politics, and the culture of Ghana. It will help them make global learning connections to open up their mind’s eye to other possibilities.”

Parker said the exploratory trip was life changing for him, and he hopes to extend the same intellectual and emotional opportunity to FCC students.

Sheppard agreed, saying, “This trip was filled with so many experiences that will remain with me for a lifetime as I was in a place that truly felt like home. Aside from the emotional tours of the Slave castles (dungeons) and the Last Bath, a highlight of the trip was our visit to Jamestown. This was an opportunity to spend time with the people and learn, first hand, the customs and traditions, as well as make new friends with the local children.”

The group will incorporate these lessons as they finalize plans for the student trip.

More information on the trip will be available in the coming months. If you have any questions or would like additional information, you can contact Kathy Brooks at

Nursing Students Participate in Health & Wellness Fair

Students in the FCC nursing program recently participated in a health and wellness fair held by Prospect Hall Apartments. The group provided participants with free blood pressure readings, as well as information on healthy body mass index (BMI) and nutritional facts. We thank our nursing students for getting involved with our community.
Spring classes are enrolling with various start dates throughout the semester.
Browse courses here >>
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Frederick, MD 21702
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Frederick Community College prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, creed, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, mental or physical disability, national origin, race, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its activities, admissions, educational programs, and employment.
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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