TCC Graduate Chef Karriem Featured on Channel 8

Chef Sultan KarriemTCC Southeast Culinary Arts graduate Sultan Karriem recently shared a quick easy recipe on WFAA. Check out his recipe for stuffed poblano pepper.

TCC and TCU Sign Articulation Agreement

In an ongoing commitment to student success, on July 20, Tarrant County College Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley and Texas Christian University Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. signed an articulation agreement, which will facilitate the transfer of TCC graduates to TCU.
Since 2000, almost 1,800 students from TCC have transferred to TCU.
View the Fort Worth Business article regarding the signing here.
View Channel 11 coverage of the event here.

All in the Family: TCC Grad Follows in Mom’s Footsteps, Joins College Staff

Stephanie with Mom, Lou

South Campus Student Activities Coordinator Stephanie Davenport, left, with her mother, Lourdes Davenport, an academic advisor and adjunct instructor at Northwest Campus.

Ask TCC graduate and current employee Stephanie Davenport who at the College has impacted her life, and you’ll get a long list of names. That comes with the territory when you’ve been part of the TCC family since age 1.
“Tarrant County College provided me stability and strength since my mother started working here when I was just a baby,” says Stephanie. “It taught me a sense of community and to value both diversity and unity. TCC has helped mold me into the person I am and will forever be.”
Stephanie’s mother, Lourdes Davenport, knew TCC would change their lives from the moment they stepped on campus more than 25 years ago.
“Stephanie attended TCC’s College for Kids as a child, hung out in the Student Services office, and helped answer phones and greet people. She knew everybody on campus,” recalls Lourdes, an academic advisor and adjunct instructor at Northwest Campus. “Those experiences strengthened the college-going philosophy I was instilling at home.”
It was natural for Stephanie to enroll at TCC after she graduated from Haltom High School in 2006. The College gave her many benefits: She could stay close to home to help care for her younger brother, work in the community where she grew up, save money before transferring to a university, explore different majors, and get a strong education. Stephanie immersed herself in campus life, taking part in theater productions and joining student clubs.
“There is a lot to be said for what can be learned outside the classroom,” she explains. “Student activities give you leadership skills, professional and personal development, networking opportunities, relationship building, and more.”
Stephanie’s time as a student gave her an even deeper respect for TCC faculty and staff.
“To tell you all the TCC employees who impacted my life would be impossible,” Stephanie says. “Of course, there’s my mom. She is my hero. Dr. Paula Vastine, the retired director of Student Development Services at Northeast Campus, means the world to me. History professor Peter Hacker taught me that every student should be held to the same high standards. Government instructor Nichole Horn taught me that as a woman, a woman of color, a young person, a student, and more that I have a responsibility to my community and the people in it. Spanish professor Janet Rodriguez never stopped encouraging me. Retired Northeast Campus president Dr. Larry Darlage treated everyone with the same level of respect, and I learned from that. Dr. Murray Fortner, professor and chair of sociology, has been and continues to be an integral part of my life.”
Dr. Fortner observed Stephanie’s empathy for others while she was a student.
“Steph has such a deep concern for humankind that it gives me hope about tomorrow’s leaders,” he says. “She is intelligent, caring, and destined for even greater success.”
Stephanie’s path to success continued when she completed her TCC studies, receiving an associate degree in 2009. Stephanie went on to the University of North Texas and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science.
Her career focused on public service and helping others. In 2013, she returned to TCC – this time, on the other side of the classroom. The College hired Stephanie as an adjunct instructor for Continuing Education’s ESL classes.
“I’ve had students from Africa, Russia, China, India, Ecuador, Korea, and Mexico, people who were doctors, lawyers, stay-at-home moms and dads, engineers, teachers, refugees, public officials, and business executives,” she notes. “They are some of the most interesting people, and they teach me a lot when they share their experiences with the class.”
A year after Stephanie began teaching, she chose to give back in another way, running for public office. Haltom City voters elected her as the first Latina to ever serve on their city council. At age 25, she also became one of Haltom City’s youngest representatives. In addition, Stephanie serves as the president of the executive board of directors for Proyecto Inmigrante, a nonprofit that provides immigration counseling services.
“Stephanie is successful because she cares about the impact she has on her family, friends, and society in general. She is successful because she is a servant leader,” says Lourdes.
Education remains extremely important to Stephanie. Next year, Amberton University in Garland will award her a master’s degree in human resources training and development. She also recently joined TCC full time as the coordinator of student activities for South Campus.
“Everything I’ve done in my education and career has led me to this position,” Stephanie smiles. “I always knew I’d come back to TCC.”

Stephanie on campus.

Stephanie Davenport, second from right, involved with South Campus students.

The Davenport feature is the latest in a year-long series celebrating TCC’s 50th anniversary through the lives of its students. Follow the links below to enjoy previous features:
Lee Graham, Sammie Sheppard, Sultan Karriem, and Erin Casey.


Extra, extra: Alum draws on lessons learned at TCC to craft career in journalism

Lee GrahamTarrant County College alumnus A. Lee Graham is marking 25 years as a professional journalist. His career has taken him from North Texas to the West Coast and back, reporting for both major and community newspapers. Graham’s beats have included business, government, education, the music scene and more. His interest in the written word, however, began long before he ever drew a paycheck.
“I always loved writing, beginning with fiction as a young boy,” Graham reflects. Still, “despite a lifetime of writing, journalism never occurred to me as a career until late high school. That’s where the seed was planted.”
When Graham joined his high school newspaper staff, everything changed. He became an avid consumer of local, national and international news.
“I saw the importance of an informed populace – and the responsibility that journalists have in keeping them informed and the ‘powers that be’ in check,” he explains.
Graham plunged into the study of journalism when he enrolled at TCC, then known as Tarrant County Junior College, in the mid-eighties. Graham refined the journalism basics he learned in high school and gained a foundation for his entire career, with Professor Diane Turner taking his talent and passion to the next level.
“She had the ability to be demanding and uncompromising when it came to what she expected from her students, yet she was fun and likable at the same time,” remembers Graham. “You wanted to do well. You didn’t want to disappoint her because you respected her both as an educator and as a person.”
Turner passed away in 2009, but her legacy lives on in students like Graham, according to Eddye Gallagher, director of TCC student publications and assistant professor of journalism.
“Diane had a tremendous impact on her students,” says Gallagher. “Occasionally, I’ll see a Facebook post where one of her former students will post a comment that Diane had made years ago that is still remembered or advice that is still followed.”
Graham worked under Turner as a reporter for The Reflector, then the newspaper for South Campus. He remembers Turner’s love for journalism as “palpable.” Her guidance helped keep Graham going as he juggled college with work and other parts of his life.
“Time management is the most critical challenge a college student faces,” Graham says. “If a student can come up with a schedule and stick to it, that’s half the battle.”

Graham sketch as columnist

Sketch of Graham when he was a music columnist for The Reflector.

During his time as a reporter for The Reflector, Graham experienced one of his most vivid news memories.
“As we were racing against deadline one day, we looked up to the newsroom television and saw the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion happen live,” recalls Graham. “I’ll never forget pulling my story out of the IBM Selectric typewriter and watching that awful cloud spread across an otherwise blue sky.”
That experience further cemented Graham’s desire to keep people informed about events that affect their lives. After completing two years at TCC, Graham transferred to Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) to continue his journalism studies. A few months before receiving his bachelor’s degree, he met with a recruiter at a job fair. Graham went on to speak to the editor of The Hemet News in Hemet, Calif., by phone and then interviewed with one of his colleagues in Texas. The Hemet News hired Graham as a reporter. He rented an apartment long distance, loaded up his car and made the trip to southern California.
After three years, Graham moved on to The Californian newspaper; his career later brought him back to Texas. Graham worked for the Las Colinas Business News, The Dallas Morning News, The Plano-Star Courier and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s suburban newspapers before joining Fort Worth Business Press in 2011.
Graham is part of a network of TCC alumni making their mark in journalism and related fields.
“We have photographers, designers, writers and editors working across Texas and the country for newspapers, television, magazines, businesses, hospitals, cities and organizations,” notes Gallagher. “Whether in design, photography or writing and whether in print, broadcast or public relations, all are using their TCC-gained knowledge and experiences.”
Graham credits his professional success to innate qualities reinforced by Professor Turner: “Discipline, focus and a willingness to work hard. Really hard.”
Read A. Lee Graham’s reports in the Fort Worth Business Press.


The Graham feature is the latest in a year-long series celebrating TCC’s 50th anniversary through the lives of its students. Follow the links below to enjoy previous features:
Sammie Sheppard, Sultan Karriem, and Erin Casey.


‘It’s just the right thing to do:’ TCC sign language grad volunteers for family in need

Erin CaseyFor Erin Casey, free time is hard to find. Since graduating from Tarrant County College in 2012 with her associate degree in American Sign Language interpreting, she has bridged the gap between hearing and deaf individuals in schools, emergency rooms, graduations, conferences and more. She also mentors TCC’s interpreting students and is preparing to return to the classroom as an adjunct instructor. But one mother’s wish prompted Erin to embrace a huge, new responsibility.
Tracey has a two-year-old son who has endured difficulties with his ears and hearing since birth. Samuel’s inability to hear properly led to speech problems, and Tracey became desperate to communicate with her son.
“Samuel gets so frustrated not being able to tell me what he wants or needs,” she says. “He just falls down and cries.”
Tracey taught Samuel a few signs from a book and realized the potential for sign language to change their lives. She wrote to the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show about her dream to learn sign language. Erin’s friend works for the radio program—and when Erin heard about Tracey and Samuel, she didn’t hesitate to volunteer.
“Tracey is so anxious to learn sign language, and that is just amazing,” Erin says. “Unfortunately, not all parents are like that. Samuel’s life will drastically change. He’ll be a different kid within a couple of months.”
Erin and Tracey arranged for three months of private lessons. As Tracey learns, she will teach Samuel.
“Sign language will give me the ability to communicate with Samuel and my son the ability to communicate with others,” says Tracey. “Erin has given my family a gift I will forever cherish.”
Erin’s generosity doesn’t surprise Sammie Sheppard, TCC’s Sign Language Interpreting Program coordinator.
“She is one of the hardest workers I know and one of the most caring people I know,” says Sheppard. “Erin has always been one to lift others up and give back.”
Erin maintained her positive attitude despite serious personal challenges that threatened to derail her education and career. During college, Erin shared one car with her mother and brother, and the family practically lived out of it. Money was very tight, and Erin didn’t see how she could finish the interpreting program.
“Erin was a very talented student with so much ahead of her. There was no way I was going to see her leave the program,” says Sheppard. “We started to work on ways to get her transportation and other assistance.”
Erin returned to class, but in her final semester, her hands began tingling and going numb—a serious concern for anyone and especially for a sign language interpreter. Shortly after graduation, Erin was hospitalized and diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Not only did she come back from this,” says Sheppard, “she roared back, determined she would not be defeated by MS.”
Erin took charge of her health, going on a diet and exercise program and losing more than 100 pounds. She also passed her state certification for sign language interpreting and took on a full-time job. Today she is an advanced-level interpreter. Sheppard believes Erin’s experiences will make her an excellent sign language instructor, for college students and for Tracey.
“Erin knows what it’s like to go through a very challenging program with additional personal challenges and come out on top,” says Sheppard. “We are proud to count her among TCC alumni.”
For Erin, volunteering her time for Tracey is a way to show gratitude for the blessings in her own life.
“I’d been looking for a way to give back, and Tracey’s story touched my heart,” says Erin. “I don’t need recognition for this. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Listen to Tracey and Erin’s story on the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.

Erin Casey, right, signs with Betty Goodridge.

Erin Casey, right, signs with
TCC’s Betty Goodridge.

Erin Casey











The first in a year-long series celebrating TCC’s 50th anniversary through the lives of its students.





First Class of Fire Fighters Complete TCC’s College Credit for Heroes Program

FORT WORTH, Texas (Aug. 13, 2014)
After many have survived tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, a special group of 22 veterans this week are completing requirements so they can put their lives on the line again as the first firefighter graduates from Tarrant County College’s College Credit for Heroes Program (CC4H).
Veterans have completed the Fire Academy, the majority of their requirements for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Technology and will complete their final AAS course requirements, including the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program this fall.
State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, chair of the Senate Military and Veteran Affairs Committee sponsored Senate Bill 1736 that initiated CC4H. The bill called for the creation of ways to expedite paths for veterans to earn degrees and certificates based on their previous military training. Grants totaling $4.4 million funded programs at 17 Texas colleges and universities. Grants for the third phase of the program may be submitted through Sept. 5.
Wednesday, Aug. 13
11 a.m. to noon
Interviews may also be conducted throughout the day by appointment by calling 817-515-1542
TCC Northwest Campus
Fire Service Training Center
4801 Marine Creek Parkway
Fort Worth, TX 76179
Veterans will be putting out their final fires as part of their two-year program. They will be available for interviews including:

  • Army Veteran Dustin Cain, whose mother died from cancer while he was in the Fire Academy,
  • Army Veteran Melissa Garrett, the only female student veteran in CCH who is completing the Fire Academy and
  • Army Veteran Devin Parks, whose father is a firefighter.

TCC South Campus Student Wins Prestigious National Scholarship

Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Recipient, Lori King-Nelson and South Campus President Peter Jordan

Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Recipient, Lori King-Nelson, and South Campus President Peter Jordan

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 25, 2014) Tarrant County College South Campus student Lori King-Nelson recently won the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. King-Nelson was one of 85 students selected nationwide to receive the scholarship, which pays up to $30,000 in tuition per year for three years as recipients complete their undergraduate degree.
Finalists were selected from 3,705 applications representing 737 community colleges from 48 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Selection criteria focused on exceptional academic ability and achievements, financial need, persistence, leadership and a desire to help others.
“This award means I will not need to work while I pursue my undergraduate degree, and I will be able to take more hours per semester,” King-Nelson said. She learned of the award when South Campus President Peter Jordan contacted her and requested she come up to the campus. “I cried,” she said. “I kept thinking it could be a mistake because the odds of receiving this scholarship were astronomical.”
King-Nelson started her college career at TCC in the fall of 2011 and will graduate in May with highest honors. She plans to transfer to Texas Wesleyan University in the fall where she will complete a dual major in religion and sociology. After completing her master and doctorate degrees in religion at Texas Christian University, she plans to teach at TCC and manage a non-profit organization to educate people on cultural and religious differences.
King-Nelson believes all students should complete their associate degree before transferring to four-year school because it is a confidence-builder. “I feel very fortunate that my campus offers so much support to students,” she said, crediting Jordan and associate professors Paul Benero and Armando Villarreal with providing her the support needed to go for this honor.
Jordan admires King-Nelson as well. “In the face of adversity, Lori has embraced her education and re-taken control of her life,” he said. “She has set a wonderful example for her family. She excels as a student and a leader on the South Campus and we are extremely proud of her achievements.”

Commencement Goes High Tech

DSC_1316How did you experience this year’s graduation? Were you there in person, receiving your certificate? Were you watching a friend or family member walking across the stage? Or maybe you were one of many who followed TCC’s livestream of the event.

Technology was out in full force at this year’s commencement ceremony in an effort by the Web Communications team to highlight TCC’s class of 2013. Students, families, and friends were encouraged to share their stories and pictures in real time with various social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr. As students were waiting backstage to line up, pictures of them in full regalia were posted; as students filed in, tweets were sent letting followers know the excitement had begun.

“It was exciting when the first submissions started coming in,” Barbara Prellwitz, one of the Web Communications team members, said. “Last year we were just trying it out to even see if it was possible and only received a few things from students. This year, we advertised it on the website and pushed it on social media and students listened and participated. It was great!”

Even family members or friends out of country could participate in the ceremony by watching it live via the official commencement site.   The livestream broadcast was watched by people in countries all over the world, including the US and Puerto Rico, Philippines, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Dominica, Guatemala, Canada, and New Zealand.

“It was a great year for our web presence during commencement,” Prellwitz added.  “We wanted to engage more people and make it more accessible, and I felt that’s exactly what we did.”

To see some of the student picture submissions, visit the TCC Flickr page.

TCC Graduates Share a High-Tech Commencement

TCC commencement 2012

A smartphone is also handy for straightening your cap.

Not only did this year’s commencement feature all of the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance,” but it was also full of Tweets, live streaming, status updates and picture uploads, as the ceremony went high-tech.

The scene outside of the  Tarrant County Convention Center was typical — friends and family posing for pictures; flowers and balloons being given as congratulatory gifts; kids squirming in their dress clothes.  Once inside, only graduates were allowed in the staging area, which caused many of them to turn to their smartphones to see if their family found good seats, or to advise their friends where to park.

Smartphone at commencement

Graduates were encouraged to share their real-time pictures and comments.

With the pressure of arriving on time and checking in behind them, the graduates found themselves with a little time to kill before the ceremony. So they also used their cell phones to comment on the event, take pictures of fellow graduates, and share them with the outside world.

This year, TCC jumped into the picture-sharing frenzy by offering everyone at the ceremony the opportunity to email their behind-the-scenes shots to TCC’s Flickr Photostream and to post their comments about the ceremony on TCC’s Facebook Page.

TCC Graduate John Humphrey

John Humphrey’s family in England watched him graduate via live streaming.

Graduates were also invited to follow TCC’s Twitter feed  and add their own comments throughout the ceremony. Tweets included bits of advice gleaned from Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley’s speech; friends issuing congratulations; and inspiring words from commencement speaker Danielle Miles, who was also graduating that night.

Those who were unable to attend the ceremony in person could see live video streaming of the commencement online — a TCC first. TCC graduate John Humphrey, who happens to be an English major from England, said he was grateful that his family back home was able to see him graduate.

Web Team at TCC commencement

The TCC web team manages the live social-media feeds during commencement.

So during the long-held graduation tradition of the past, we were able to use the tools of today to watch our graduates step into the future. We can only imagine what next year will look like.

Storify screen capture

Click image to see a compilation of updates and pictures on


Welcome to the latest segment  of “Hats off to,” a feature that runs periodically in TCC Buzz to recognize TCC faculty, staff and students and the outstanding things they are achieving in the TCC community and beyond. Keep us informed about what’s happening in your world by submitting a News Alert form. Now, we invite you to celebrate with your peers. [Read more…]