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JOURNEYS 2011-2012

photo by Ron Witherspoon

into the world of atlanta technical college

Ready for the World


NEARLY 5,000 STUDENTS REPRESENTING 60+ COUNTRIES IMPACTING 1 WORLD Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one. Marianne Williamson





a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia

JOURNEYS is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing at Atlanta Technical College. Vol. 3, Number 1



Editor & Writer: Terreta A. Rodgers Contributing Writer: Alonia Jernigan Graphic Designer: Shana Dezelle





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Contributing Photographers: Quinn Hood Adam Komich Tom Mileshko Ron Witherspoon The Office of Communications & Marketing Front cover photo by Ron Witherspoon Inspiration by the students & alumni of Atlanta Technical College Letters to the editor are welcome they may be edited for clarity and length. Unless otherwise noted, articles may be reprinted as long as credit is given. All inquiries and comments should be sent to:


Atlanta Technical College 1560 Metropolitan Parkway, SW Atlanta, GA 30310 404.225.4604 E-mail:

t n e d si

m o r F r e t

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arly in his career, Abraham Lincoln declared, “I will prepare

Atlanta Technical College provides opportunities for education and

and some day my chance will come.” For the students at Atlanta

career preparation in more than 100 programs of study in the areas of

Technical College, that day can possibly be every day. Their

business and public service technologies, health and public safety tech-

commitment to scholarship and comprehensive career preparation has

nologies, and industrial and transportation technologies. Rigorous aca-

made them Ready for the World. Atlanta Technical College is proud to

demic preparation is complemented by community and global awareness

accompany them on their journey to successful careers, and we appreci-

activities including our Halle Exchange Program with Felix Fechenbach

ate your joining us for this edition of JOURNEYS, our college magazine.

Berufskolleg in Detmold, Germany.

Keeping pace with our changing world requires a commitment that ben-

We are living in a time that encourages multiple forms of collaboration.

efits from connections that we make locally, throughout our state and na-

As globalization blurs the borders between countries, each of us deserves

tion, and with our neighbors abroad. As the technology that allows and

the tools and education to become a world-changing force. With the

maintains these connections becomes more accessible, we must ensure

resources and awareness that can be found at Atlanta Technical College,

that we meet our neighbors educated, aware, and prepared to participate

each of us can become the global citizen that we wish to be.

in a global society. According to Franklin Roosevelt, “A nation, like a person, has a mind— a mind that must be kept informed and alert, that must know itself, that understands the hopes and needs of its neighbors—all the other nations that live within the narrowing circle of the world.” To that end,



Alvetta Peterman Thomas, Ed. D. President, Atlanta Technical College

Michel Carment Haiti

Nayera Salam Egypt

Thi Tran Vietnam

John Beliu Sudan



WORLD VIEW At Atlanta Technical College we believe that the education process is not confined to a traditional classroom. Some of life’s most profound lessons are acquired through unconventional interactions. We encourage our students to broaden their basis for critical thought by seizing every opportunity to draw from the experiences of the men and women who are leading, innovating, and successfully navigating the marketplace. Over the past year, some of the most riveting and prolific national and international academicians, business vanguards, servant leaders and elected officials have shared insightful and thought-provoking commentary on domestic and global affairs with our students. Philip D. Murphy U.S. Ambassador to Germany

Tavis Smiley Noted author, radio and television host



Dennis Lockhart President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Ambassador Andrew Young Author, political ďŹ gure, civil and human rights activist

Elizabeth Omilami Actress, civil and human rights activist

David Johnston Sustainability expert and author of Green From the Ground Up



NEWS Atlanta Tech ranked as one of the nation’s best Washington Monthly recently released its rankings of America’s Best Community Colleges, and Atlanta Technical College has been named one of the best in the country. According to the Washington, D.C.-based magazine, Atlanta Tech is 48th among all U.S. community colleges and the top technical college in Georgia. The rankings were based on two sources: the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and graduation rate statistics, compiled by the US Department of Education. Unlike the typical guidebooks that rank four-year colleges, these findings were entirely based on measures with research-proven links to student success.

We are the third fastest growing community college in the nation! The numbers are in, and Community College Weekly has designated Atlanta Technical College as one of the top 10 fastest growing public community colleges in the nation. The college, which had an enrollment increase of 43 percent, ranked third in the 2,500-4,999 enrollment category.

Atlanta Technical College president Alvetta Peterman Thomas believes that the dramatic increase in enrollment can be attributed to a number of factors. “First, the economic downturn has compelled a great number of people to return to college to enhance their skills or make a major career change,” said Thomas. “Secondly, many high school graduates have found that community and technical colleges are affordable and viable options for sound career preparation.” Thomas went on to explain that many people enroll in Atlanta Technical College after close examination of the quality and scope of the course offerings. “We offer programs that prepare students to be competitive in emerging job markets. Many people are surprised to discover that Atlanta Tech offers the only ADA accredited dental lab tech program in the state, or that we offer a comprehensive supply chain and logistics management program. Once they take a fresh look at what the college has to offer, they discover that Atlanta Tech is the right fit for them.”

Atlanta Technical College hopes to see a continued rise in enrollment by casting a wider net. Later this year, administrators will launch an integrated marketing campaign targeting high school students. The college hopes that these students will take advantage of the dual enrollment programs that will allow them to take college courses and earn credit while completing their high school course work.

Atlanta Technical College makes the final four Atlanta Technical College may not be in the NCAA Final Four this upcoming season, but the college was selected as one of four finalists for the First Annual Sonny Perdue Award. The award was created by the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to recognize excellence in technical education.



Atlanta Technical College

Grads are Ready for the World of Work Our graduates come with highly-coveted skill sets and a 100 % guarantee

Contact the OfďŹ ce of Career Placement 404.225.4448 or and hire one today JOURNEYS


Atlanta Technical College Institute for Males (AIM)

Defeating the Odds, Helping Men to Soar




f the nation’s headlines and statistics were the gauge for the future of African American men, one might become discouraged or even frustrated. Recurring problems of illiteracy, poverty, incarceration, and high school dropout rates are among the common catalysts for the bleak outlook. But Atlanta Technical College (ATC) is pleased to be home to a program that instills hope for those who are looking to make a change. Since the school was experiencing a steady decrease in male enrollment and retention over the years, the need to create a life coach support team was quite apparent to President Alvetta Peterman Thomas. Thus, the Atlanta Technical College Institute for Males (AIM) was created to provide special support to minority men who desire to achieve a post secondary education. The program has served over 1,000 men during the past two years. Working with high school populations (juniors and seniors), the program kicks off in the summer with a 6-week leadership camp. “We generally have 100 young men who attend camp daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” says Henry Carter, AIM’s Project Director. “We expose them to everything from entrepreneurship to financial literacy to career choices. They also address the topics of interpersonal skills, violence, critical thinking, goal setting, and conflict resolution.” Additionally, there is a 120-question online assessment tool that helps create a career profile. AIM also works with an adult male population, wherein the focus is post secondary preparation in the areas of testing, financial aid, academic tutoring, personal and professional development, and college enrollment. Carter adds, “Sometimes all that is needed is a strong support system. AIM provides that and much more. There can be so many barriers...even the smallest things like transportation, books, etc., can be problematic. Each man is assigned to an outreach specialist who helps make sure that any barriers are minimized.” The program’s symbol is an eagle because “we encourage them to aim high, to shoot for lofty goals,” states Carter. “We sincerely believe that if you can break

down the barriers, the possibilities become limitless. Then you see a motivation that wasn’t there before because the veil has been lifted.” One avenue that helps lift the veil is that of exposing the students to a number of positive role models. “It’s alright to encourage students to go to school and make good grades. But what about discovering the things that happen behind the scenes? We are fortunate to have professionals and entrepreneurs who don’t mind coming to our program and sharing their real life experiences.” ATC is also committed to preparing AIM’s participants for the global marketplace. “We’ve taken a few of our students on international trips, and just to see the growth that they experienced is priceless. We probably won’t really see the full impact until later in their life, but it is still gratifying to see the immediate impact,” Carter says. He further applauds the leadership of Dr. Thomas, which, with the commitment of the teachers and his staff, creates the perfect combination for a wonderful program. And Carter brings his own unique blend of experience and interest in the program. A former YMCA executive who is totally committed to personal and professional development, Carter regularly avails himself to the program’s participants. “I try to make myself as accessible as possible. It’s important that they know that help is there when needed.” And borrowing from Dr. Robert Franklin’s and Morehouse College’s concept of Renaissance Men, he states, “There may be those who simply cannot afford a $40,000 education. For that population, we offer the same quality at a fraction of the cost. And I sincerely believe if the military can take a young man or woman who’s never dealt with machinery and in 8-12 weeks make them battle ready, surely we can take a young man in 12 months and make them life-ready!”







he exciting and captivating city of Atlanta has been dubbed by (a U.S. travel, tourism and relocation guide) as “The World’s Next Great International City.” With a colorful mixture of several nationalities that comprise the city’s demographic, statistics indicate that the city’s racial diversity is greater than that of the nation as a whole. For a city in the Deep South that welcomed international neighbors almost 15 years ago for the 1996 Summer Olympics, that growing diversity speaks volumes. Atlanta Technical College is an active change agent in the city’s life and landscape and reflects the city’s international spirit in its campus life and community. In 1997, while the city was still realizing the impact of the Olympic Games, the College began conversations with Felix-Fechenbach Berufskolleg in Detmold, Germany, that would ultimately lead to an international student exchange. A formal agreement between the two colleges was reached in 1998. Officially named the Halle Exchange in 2005, the Exchange is inspired by Mr. Claus Halle, one-time president of CocaCola Europe and native of Germany whose career was flanked by long standing support of international relations. To date, an estimated 200 students and faculty have participated as Atlanta Technical College delegates to Germany, and an estimated 170 students and faculty have participated as FelixFechenbach Berufskolleg (FFB) delegates to Atlanta, thus fortifying the program’s motto of “Living, Learning, and Working Together.” The establishment of the Halle Exchange is evidence of Atlanta Technical College’s commitment to prepare its students for the global marketplace. “We are honored to have the opportunity to continue Mr. Halle’s mission ‘to expand understanding and respect among the peoples and nations around the world,’” states Atlanta Technical College’s president, Dr. Alvetta P. Thomas. She further adds, “I am proud of the Halle Exchange and its role in the life of the college and the lives of our staff and students. The opportunity to immerse our students in German culture is an invaluable addition to their experiential backgrounds and to the contributions that they prepare to make in their communities.”

Halle Exchange delegates visited Germany in the fall of 2010. They enjoyed the traditional activities of the Exchange, including attending classes in their fields of study, participating in internships, living with German host families and participating in cultural activities. While in Germany, students and faculty discussed the impact that technical education has on international commerce with leaders of Industrie- und Handelskammer Lippe Zu Detmold (IHK), which is the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and discussed international affairs with Philip D. Murphy, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany. In January 2011, members of the Felix Fechenbach delegation visited Atlanta and lived with the Atlanta Tech students. The group spent time with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, City Councilman Michael Bond, and Dr. Alfred Schlicht, German Deputy Consul General in Atlanta, discussing the importance of preparing for the global marketplace. They visited the State Capitol where they met with Governor Nathan Deal, Senator Vincent Fort, Senator Nan Orrock, and Representative Sheila Jones. A key component of the Halle Exchange is workforce development. Halle Exchange participants traditionally participate in internship experiences in the program areas of mechanical engineering, carpentry, culinary arts, visual communications, medicine, childcare, cosmetology and electronics. In Germany, Atlanta Tech students worked for German corporations including AFV-Medien, Welle Möbel GmbH, Vital Hotel, Stiftung, S.O.S. Ausbildungstätte, Restaurant Lallmann, Klinikum and Digital Park. In Atlanta, the students from Detmold interned with the Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Sara Lee Corporation, Merritt Specialties and Construction, Habitat for Humanity, Dunbar Sheltering Arms Child Development Center, Harriet Tubman Elementary School, FIO 360, the Hyatt Regency, the Sheraton Airport, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and the Loews Hotel Atlanta. Accordingly, Dr. Thomas states, “The various experiences of the Halle Exchange provide exceptional opportunities for us to educate tomorrow’s workforce in a globalized world. The many students, faculty, and staff members who are members of the Halle delegations past and future are proof that, because of the Halle Exchange, communication is a little clearer, cultures are a little less in conflict, and the oceans that separate us are a little smaller.”



Ten Years of Building Bridges




hen Brenda Watts Jones, the fourth president of Atlanta Techni-

Bridge Builder Awards continue to raise funds for student support and scholar-

cal College (ATC), and members of the ATC Foundation Board

ships, equipment upgrades, and faculty development.

of Directors created the Bridge Builder Awards in 2001, they did

so to honor corporate and community leaders who were leveling the educational

Atlanta Technical College students are making strides not only on a national level,

playing field in Atlanta. They recognized the critical linkage between access to re-

but globally as well because they can participate in global initiatives like the Halle

sources and educational achievement. Simply put, students who were taught in an

Exchange Program, the International Student Sustainability Conference, and the

environment with computer technology, modernized labs and facilities, up-to-date

PLC project, none of which would be possible without the contributions gener-

textbooks, and aggressive support-for-learners programs were more likely to per-

ated through Bridge Builders and other partnership efforts.

form at higher levels academically than those who lacked access to these resources. Today, the Bridge Builder Awards celebration is still a vehicle for recognizing the Today, as the Foundation observes the 10th Anniversary of Bridge Builders,

corporate and community leaders who are making significant strides in the battle

there are more reasons than ever to celebrate. Atlanta Technical College is thriv-

against educational disparities. The 2011 recipients have each been instrumental

ing. Scores of Georgians have turned to Atlanta Technical College and her sister

in ensuring that children and young adults in metro Atlanta have access to educa-

schools to obtain the skills needed to be successful in their careers of choice.

tional tools and resources. We honor them and previous honorees for all that they

Thanks to the generous support of corporations and community partners, the

have done to prepare local students for the global marketplace.

2011 Bridge Builder Honorees

Dennis Boyden


Tad Hutcheson

AirTran Airways

Brenda Reid

Publix Super Markets

Michael Russell

HJ Russell & Company

r Recognizing 10 years of Bridge Builders Hank Aaron • Ann Cramer • Sallie Adams-Daniel • Leona Barr-Davenport • Curley Dossman • Evern Cooper Epps Mayor Shirley Franklin • Johnny Furr, Jr • Dr. Julie Gerberding • Sarah Gonzalez • John Grant, Jr. • Sheryl Riley-Gripper Dr. Beverly Hall • Phil Jacobs • Khalil Johnson • Ingrid Saunders Jones • Dr. Brenda Watts Jones (posthumously) Rev. Walter Kimbrough • Dr. Christopher J.W. Leggett • George Lottier (posthumously) • Russ Lucas • Vicki Palmer Monica Pearson • William “Bill” Rainwater • Ray Robinson • Suzanne Sitherwood • Michael Thurmond • Isaiah Tidwell Ambassador Andrew Young • Michael Young • David Yu
















The Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex For months, motorists traveling on interstate 75/85 just south of Atlanta wondered about the iconic structure taking shape on the right flank of the highway, just below the University Avenue Exit. Its strong lines, crisp design and glass façade caused passersby to do a double take and ponder its purpose. Finally on December 3, 2010, Atlanta Technical College introduced the new marvel to the world.

Opening the doors to opportunity The Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex spans more than 70,000 square feet. The two-story structure has four distinct wings and serves as the new hub for healthcare related programs at Atlanta Technical College. The complex cost $14.8 million and is designed to facilitate current and emerging trends in medical education.



• It will allow the College to recruit and train larger cohorts of students • Students will be able to learn in the same types of modern labs currently in use in today’s medical facilities • It will allow the College to expand program offerings and meet the demand in the marketplace for qualified healthcare professionals in a variety of fields


• 20 lecture and classroom spaces • 20 industry-equipped laboratory and clinical settings • 14 Dental hygiene clinic stations • 125 computer stations available for student use


Naming opportunities are available to honor donors who make unrestricted gifts to the college. For information on donor programs contact Elizabeth King at 404.225.4648 or



The Allied Health Programs of

Dental Assisting • Dental Hygiene* • Dental Laboratory Technology Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic Technology • Health Care Assisting Health Information Technology • Hemodialysis Patient Care Technician Medical Assisting • Associate Degree Nursing* • Patient Care Assisting Patient Care Technician • Pharmacy Technology • Phlebotomy Technician Physical Assisting* • Occupational Therapy Assisting* Radiology Technology* • Surgical Technology NOTE: Programs in BOLD type will be housed in the Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex. Programs marked with * are planned for the Brenda Watts Jones Allied Health and Technology Complex.



Constructive Conversation: Update on the New Library and Testing Center


enovation and repurposing of the old Georgia

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the construction and

Public Broadcasting building at the east end of

renovation of the Library and Testing Center is scheduled for

the Atlanta Technical College is well underway.

completion by the end of the fall semester.

Construction crews are busy transforming the structure into a state-of-the-art library and testing center. When the $5.45

Under the direction of Mrs. Teresa Brown, Vice President of

million project is complete, Atlanta Technical College will have

Administrative Services, the Facilities Department oversees

a 16,284 square foot facility that brings together all of the

all construction, renovation, and maintenance projects on the

campus’s library collections and services including the Law,

campus of Atlanta Technical College.

Health Sciences, and Campus Libraries. The new Library and Testing Center will have a significant technological presence, including a newly-created multi-media room, a film and editing suite, and a computer lab. The building is designed with flexibility in mind. Students and faculty alike will benefit from the wide variety of dynamic learning environments housed within the new the structure. Amenities, such as, individual study pods and workstations, group meeting rooms, and contemporary common areas are hallmarks of the new building.





PERFECT CHEMISTRY: ATC Senior Goes From Homeless to Hope, Gains Distinguished International Acclaim


he world is such a big place, especially in the eyes of

Pharmacy Technician program, quickly emerging as an out-

a five-year old. While most children are beginning

standing student.

to entertain the question, “What do you want to be

Chat with VP of Administrative Services when you grow up?” Anthony McDaniel was adjusting to life

Anthony’s positive thinking and proactive behavior ultimately

in the foster care system of Paterson, New Jersey.

landed him an internship at Germany’s Kunikum Lippe

He was placed with a loving foster family, with a father who

Hospital. Perhaps the most phenomenal aspect of Anthony’s

was a pastor and a mother who was a deaconess in the church.

Germany experience is the fact that he was given the oppor-

He was also under the tutelage of Joe Clark, principal of

tunity to combine compounds. “This is something that is not

Eastside High School from the real-life movie, “Lean on Me.”

taught in America to Pharmacy students. It’s generally some-

He actually was included in the film. Yet, the harsh reality of

thing that’s saved for conferences,” states Anthony. Thus, this

street life found him, nevertheless. “By the time I was a teen-

exposure gives Anthony a competitive edge over other students

ager, I had seen and done it all: drugs, alcohol, gangs,” Antho-

in America. He created his own lotions while in Germany, and

ny reflects. “After awhile, I began to see a lot of my friends

he also made cough syrup, suppositories, pills as well as TPN,

get killed at the ages of 18, 21, 22. I couldn’t stand the

which are Nutrition/IV bags for children with cancer.

thought of that being me.”

Anthony is now an ATC senior who will graduate with honors

With strong support from family members and mentors,

this spring. He has a 3.7 grade point average, and is a member

Anthony eventually landed in Atlanta. He lived with his

of the National Technical Honor Society. What’s more, Antho-

godmother, but because of the economy, she lost her home.

ny has amazingly earned a scholarship to attend South Caro-

Through this misfortune, he found shelter and refuge at the

lina State University this fall as a Chemistry/Pre-med major.

Jefferson Transition House. It was here that his life made a pivotal change. “I met so many professional men that took me

How does Anthony feel about the tremendous milestones he

under their wing. They told me that they would support me

has witnessed? He simply says, “I’m humbled by it. I’ve had a

in whatever I decided to do. I chose Atlanta Technical College

lot of help along the way, so I know I’m not here alone.” He

(ATC) and studied Certified Warehousing and Distribution

attributes the strong support of ATC’s President, as well as that

Specialist,” says Anthony. With money available for additional

of Mr. Henry Carter, the AIM Program, family and the staff at

schooling after completing the program, Anthony didn’t hesi-

the Jefferson Transition House for helping him along the way.

tate to pursue his interest in medicine by enrolling in ATC’s



Aleksandra Mora

Mamadou Bah

Yuliana Mircheva



The Power of Influence: ATC Makes Its Mark Across the Globe Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer and contemporary of Cicero, once stated that a good reputation is more valuable than money. Considering the attraction that international students have had to Atlanta Technical College, it’s no secret that the school’s good name has had a major impact worldwide. With a student body of nearly 5,000 per term, representing 60 plus nations, Atlanta Technical College has become a valued resource for international students, further meeting its goal of producing leaders on a global level. We had the opportunity to speak with three of the school’s international students: Yuliana Mircheva, Aleksandra Mora, and Mamadou Bah. Captured herein is a glimpse of the journeys that brought them to ATC. Yuliana Mircheva is a student in the Dental Laboratory Technician program.

A native of Bulgaria, Yuliana lived in the United States for eight years before deciding to pursue higher education. She has a strong affinity for the medical profession and wanted to select a college with accredited programs and academic rigor. Through personal interactions and in-depth research, the aspiring dental technician soon discovered that one of America’s best technical colleges was located right in her own backyard. After receiving glowing reports about the programs, people, and success of the college, Yuliana made Atlanta Technical College her first choice. “I was attracted to the school because it was the only school in Georgia that earned accreditation from the American Dental Association,” she reflects. Although the second year student describes the curriculum as being very intense, she credits her advisor, Ms. Becky Tolson, for providing her with a strong support system. Yuliana also emphasized that she has been impressed with the commitment shown by college administrators to provide students with exceptional customer service, stating, “I also appreciate the fact that the school’s online community is more conducive to dealing with administrative tasks. It’s good to not always have to wait in lines for certain things.” As a closing thought, she adds that she finds the college’s approach to diversity refreshing, explaining that people from all walks of life converge on the campus with one common mission: Self-improvement.

Aleksandra Mora is a Hotel Management major from Russia. When she moved to the United States, she originally called New York City home, but the warm weather and culturally rich atmosphere of Atlanta beckoned. This new Atlantan was determined to be successful and turned her sights to professional development. She recalled hearing that Washington Monthly Magazine had named Atlanta Technical College the Nation’s Best Community College, and decided to investigate ATC’s programs. “I didn’t know anyone from the school, but when I discovered that it was offering the courses I needed to pursue my dreams, I immediately seized the opportunity.”

Since arriving at ATC, Aleksandra has flourished academically and personally. “Even I am surprised at how well I am doing in college. My English and my confidence level have improved tremendously.” Aleksandra’s growth has been recognized by faculty and staff alike. She was one of only three students awarded the $2500 Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Student Scholarship for 2011. “This was truly a great honor for me.” She explains, “The selection process was very detailed and I had to write an essay. I also needed to have a high grade point average and a letter from my advisor.” Aleksandra will graduate from ATC in 2011 and plans to leverage the skills and poise she attained at ATC to begin her journey into the world of work. Five thousand miles away from ATC’s southwest Atlanta campus, a young man, Mamadou Bah, was growing up in Guinea, West Africa. Mamadou, a selfprofessed adventurer, always knew that he wanted to explore the world. When his cousin returned to West Africa after completing his studies at ATC, Mamadou was impressed with the breadth and scope of the knowledge his role model exhibited. Inspired by his cousin’s tales of the welcoming atmosphere, challenging programs and extraordinary staff, Mamadou enrolled in ATC. From October 2001 until June 2004 he attended the college, majoring in Marketing Management. Early on, Mamadou struggled with learning the English language, often refusing to participate in class. He contemplated quitting altogether because he was ashamed. But he remained steadfast and took advantage of the learning support programs offered on campus. As time went on, Mamadou was eligible to take courses in his major as a result of his high grades. “That is where everything turned around,” he states. “Mr. Clayton Carter was teaching Visual Merchandising. Even though I was making good grades, I still did not participate in class as I should have, because I was still ashamed of my English. After the first week, Mr. Carter boosted my confidence by asking me not to be afraid to speak in class. He told me that I should take my time and express myself. That really helped a lot.” From that point on Mamadou began to soar. He became involved in extracurricular activities, emerging as parliamentarian and vice president of the ATC chapter of Delta Epsilon Chi (DEX), an international association of students and teachers in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. During his matriculation at the college, he received top honors at local and state competitions for DEX and other organizations. Mamadou shared with us that his life has been forever changed by his immersive experience at ATC. He credits the college with offering him the most rewarding pathway to academic and professional success. Mamadou has returned to Africa. He is currently employed at Etisalat, a telephone company in Benin, where he manages a product development division. Although he is now 5,000 miles away from his alma mater, the impact of his ATC journey is stronger than ever. At Mamadou’s urging, both his childhood friend, Claude Zohoun, and his brother, Ibrahima Bah, have begun their own journeys into the world of ATC. Both are Marketing Management majors at the college, with 3.0 and 3.8 grade point averages, respectively.



Student of the Year, Rachel Young

Powering It Up


hen considering the path that Rachel Young has blazed, it’s no surprise that she has earned the honor of being this year’s Student of the Year; she is an extraordinary woman in more ways than one. She has a 4.0 GPA as an Electrical Construction and Maintenance major, and she’s the only female student in her class (although there are two females in the night class). Confident in her abilities, she states, “I had been working with electricity for about 12 years before joining the Atlanta Technical College (ATC) family. I said to myself, ‘I am an electrician. I’ve changed receptacles, mounted microwaves, put in garbage disposals, and put in electrical outlets all before I came to school. Since I realized that this is what I do, it made perfect sense to get formal training. While assisting my daughter, Leah, with getting enrolled at ATC, I saw the school to be an excellent structured environment to gain formal knowledge in a field that I had already come to know and love.” It didn’t take long for the Orlando, Florida, native to get acclimated. In addition to her honors, Rachel also became the first female member of the National Technical Honor Society from the Electrical Construction and Maintenance department. She was also elected an officer within the organization. Of her most recent accomplishment, she states, “It’s a little strange to be walking through the halls and hear, ‘Hi, Student of the Year.’ But at the same time, it feels good to know that they are happy for me.” Rachel’s ATC experience doesn’t mark the first time that she’s embarked upon nontraditional endeavors. The former real estate broker and flight attendant states, “Many people didn’t realize that flight attendant is a profession that used to be saturated by men. Even the electrical industry is only populated by 2% of women, but the tables are turning now. I want to be a part of that change.” Her ultimate goal is to own her own firm. And as she blazes the path on her journey, she looks forward to inspiring girls to explore nontraditional ventures. “I want them to see that women can do anything that we put our minds to.”



Teacher of the Year, Dreem Penn ned to Dre Desti

am, Drawn to

Draf t


first glance at Dreem Penn just might cause one to believe she’s a student. But only a few moments in her presence is more than enough time to see that she’s a competent, caring, and even challenging instructor at Atlanta Technical College (ATC). As such, Ms. Penn’s admirable attributes have earned her the honor of being named this year’s Teacher of the Year. She currently serves as Drafting Instructor. A native Atlantan, Ms. Penn always knew she would be in a field similar to that of her chosen profession. “My dad’s an architect, and my mom’s a teacher. As a student at Frederick Douglass High School, I was in the Engineering program. So drafting has always been a big part of me. In fact, it’s my passion. Even if I had not chosen to teach, I’d probably be mentoring someone in this arena,” she states. Upon completing her studies at Douglass, Ms. Penn enrolled in Clark Atlanta University’s Engineering Dual degree and started her hands-on experience at ATC in 1999. She chose to come on board with ATC in 2000, spending her first six years as a part time instructor. She has been a full time instructor for three years. Acknowledging that drafting architecture is a male-dominated industry, Ms. Penn is totally committed to ensuring that all her students are fully prepared, especially women. “I can remember working as the only black female in an architectural firm,” she reflects, “I was given more work just to see if I could handle the stress. Women have got to have the mindset for that. Even with the one female that I’m presently teaching, I make certain that I don’t present myself as a mother figure because I know the real world is not like that.” She adds, “Everything starts with a draft. So I don’t just focus on architecture. I include a cross mix with civil, mechanical, design.” This approach will also help prepare her students for ATC’s efforts to provide students with international exposure. “I’m excited about our projects in Germany, because the world is a great sketching and building ground for drafters. Our students need to know that the U.S. is not the only place that they can find meaningful work.”



International Faculty Broaden Students’ Horizons


tlanta Technical College is admirable for many reasons. But perhaps one of its most commendable attributes is its commitment to giving students exposure to faculty members with tremendous international experience. This is vitally essential, particularly when the student body has representation from more than 60

nations. We were delighted to catch up with several faculty members who have incredible backgrounds and international experiences: David Kirsch, Instructor in the Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department, and Queenston Thorpe, Program Chair for the proposed Physical Therapist Assistant program.

Global Educators Ernest Alema-Mensah • Graduated from the University of Ghana Lilya Connell • Graduated from the First Moscow State Institute of

Foreign Languages and the Grozny (Chechen) State Pedagogical Institute

Leslie Douglas-Jones • Studied in St. Kitts Serena Garcia • Taught classes on essay writing, editing and research in Brazil Jon Green • Served as an EFL instructor in Ecuador for a year Mary Howard • Studied in Japan for a year Mark Johnson • Taught in Jamaica for more than ten years 25


Queenston Thorpe

David Kirsch

To say that Queenston Thorpe has lived and worked all over the world may be an understatement. She was born in West Africa and attended school at England’s Coventry School of Physiotherapy. After traveling extensively, she worked in London at Newham Health Authority for 1011 years, rising to the position of Senior I Physiotherapist. In 1989 Thorpe moved to the United States and jubilantly shares, “I’m now on my third continent!”

David Kirsch has lived all over the world, as a result of growing up in a military family. Most of his time was spent in Germany, where he went to grade school. As an adult, he had an exchange scholarship that allowed him to teach English and Computer Information Systems (CIS) there. However, he has called Peachtree City his home for more than the past twenty years. He has been part of the ATC family since April of 1988. During his first 10 years, he was an electronics instructor, and he also served as chair for the department.

Her journey in the health care industry began after she graduated from high school in Sierra Leone, where she worked as a teacher’s assistant. While on a full scholarship to Coventry, she had the opportunity to guest teach Physical Therapy techniques in the nursing program. Years later her family moved to the U.S. and she began working in a large teaching hospital in Chicago. Soon her career took flight. Thorpe worked for a large national rehabilitation company as clinical director for physical therapy, and she also has experience owning and operating her own physical therapy company. In 2010, Thorpe joined the staff of Atlanta Technical College. As she works zealously to prepare the Physical Therapist Assistant program for accreditation and implementaion, she states, “Atlanta has a myriad of Asians, Latinos, Europeans, etc. As we are producing professionals that will be working with and treating people from all over the world, it is incumbent that we get our graduates to be culturally aware. I am proud to bring the techniques and knowledge that I have acquired to a college that so strongly emphasizes global awareness and preparation.”

Excited about ATC’s approach to exposing students to the importance of internationalism, he states, “I think the Halle Exchange is an incredible opportunity for some of our students who have never had the opportunity to travel, to see how things are done differently in other cultures. Having some international knowledge is a must because we’re too interconnected for us to not know what’s going on in other parts of the world. If what the student wants to study has an international impact, they need to know about it. I believe it’s paramount—giving them this exposure is essential.”



Exciting New Program Is Developing the World’s Best Supply Chain Talent I t’s no secret that success in the workplace is built upon training, discipline

ATC is the only technical college and the only 2-year institution that offers any

and hard work. As Atlanta Technical College (ATC) continues to produce

kind of degree in Procurement and Supply Chain. Accordingly, the program has

quality workers in today’s tough marketplace, its new Supply Chain Man-

drawn the attention and support of Atlanta’s corporate community. Each pro-

agement (SCM) program is set to be one of its most commendable initiatives yet.

gram has an advisory board that provides technical assistance, curriculum develop-

Headed by Kemith Thompson, a former executive in the Logistics industry, the

ment and job assistance. The advisory boards are comprised of several companies.

program stands as a fully accredited Distribution-Materials Management track

Among them are CH Robinson, UPS, Home Depot, as well Clayton County

that awards associate degrees and technical certificates of credit in critical SCM

Schools, Atlanta Regional Commission, BLJ Group, and Russell Sporting Goods.

fields of study such as Transportation Operations, Logistics Management, Pur-

Thompson continues, “Our advisory board membership reflects capable organiza-

chasing and Commercial Truck Driving.

tions that fully understand the importance of our efforts here.”

With Atlanta being among the nation’s top areas for opportunities in Transporta-

Alan Amling of UPS’s Global Logistics and Distribution Marketing department

tion and Logistics, the federally funded program presents a win-win situation for

shares his excitement about the corporation’s involvement in the program. “UPS

companies as well as the industries’ current workforce. According to Thompson,

has a vested interest in Supply Chain education. We wanted to be involved in the

“There are a number of people who have been employed in these industries for

program because of its important to the industry, Atlanta, and the community

years, yet have been unable to get formal training. As a result, opportunities for

that we serve.” Saddle Creek, a third party logistics company specializing in ware-

advancement have been limited. This can often create a bleak outlook as well as

housing, transportation, and contract packaging services, is also a part of ATC’s

feelings of frustration. But we see this program as a breath of fresh air and an awe-

SCM program. Robert Pericht, Advisory Board Co-Chair and Saddle Creek

some opportunity for such workers to see a brighter day.”

Senior Vice President of Warehouse Operations states, “Not everyone can afford or desires to go to a four-year college. ATC is one of the best in the country. Our

In addition to reaching out to professionals who are seeking to enhance their

involvement is a good fit because it allows us to give back and use an expertise that

careers, ATC is also hoping to create partnerships with Atlanta Public Schools,

runs into our sweet spot. We can provide guest lecturers, technical assistance and

Fulton County Schools, and Clayton County Schools. “One of our short-term

expertise, site location, industry curriculum, data, etc., that the school will need.”

goals is to create a partnership with local school systems so that high school students recognize early-on that the supply chain field is vast and profitable. We also

The salary outlook for those with formal training is an attractor for the program

want to collaborate with four-year universities so that our graduates have the op-

as well. The median entry level salary for jobs in Procurement and Supply Chain

tion of either entering the workforce after graduation or pursuing advance degrees

Management ranges from $38-$43K, and there are some CDL positions that start

in logistics and supply chain management,” Thompson adds.

in the $40K range. With ATC’s commitment and through the effectiveness of partnership, the SCM looks forward to developing the world’s best Supply Chain talent.






Customized Training • Corporate Testing Georgia Work Ready Job Profiles & Assessments WorkKeys©

The Technical College System of Georgia • Please contact us today at 404.225.4488 or



Campus Chat: New Online Courses Uploaded

ATC: Atlanta Technical College launched e-Campus, full online programs in Spring 2011. What led the college to delve into this area? Dr. Camp: Atlanta Technical College has built a strong global reputation, and students from around the world are looking for a way to benefit from the programs we provide. e-Campus allows us to serve students, both foreign and domestic, who are unable to physically participate in on-campus instruction due to geographic limitations or family obligations.

In this edition of JOURNEYS, we had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Gladys Hodges Camp, Vice President of Academic Affairs. Here is some of the enlightenment she had to offer on how our new e-Campus programs allow the college to meet the needs of a wider range of students:

Furthermore, it has long been our goal to make college affordable for all who desire an education. The new online programs will allow us to provide the same sought-after courses as the private universities but at a fraction of the cost. ATC: What programs are available through e-Campus? Dr. Camp: Students can now complete two-year associate degrees in paralegal studies, accounting, business administrative technology, marketing management, and management supervisory development programs of study, all online. ATC: How were these program selected for e-Campus? Dr. Camp: We looked for programs that were popular with students which did not include a significant lab or tool component. ATC: Is this the first time that ATC has offered online programs? Dr. Camp: For several years, Atlanta Tech has offered hybrid or web-enhanced courses. In a hybrid class, instruction for approximately half of the course is web-based, and the remainder is delivered face-to-face in a classroom or lab setting.

We realized, however, that we need to meet the needs of non-traditional students, which is why we are beginning to offer entire programs of study online. Busy executives and working adults who want to improve their employability can now get an education on their own time without worrying about how to get from work, in Buckhead or Fairburn, to campus before class starts. ATC: How will these programs help ATC reach a broader audience? Dr. Camp: The advantage of taking online programs is that they offer much greater academic flexibility for students as they try to balance their family lives and work schedules while furthering their educational opportunities. It is an ideal opportunity for students who can’t attend campus classes due to work or family obligations. ATC: What kinds of resources are available to online students? Dr. Camp: Prior to taking classes, students have an opportunity to complete an online orientation that provides answers to questions about using the online learning management system. Once enrolled, students have access to GALILEO, which is the Georgia Library Learning Online System. This library system offers access to thousands of magazine, newspaper, and journal articles covering a broad range of subject areas as well as access to an online tutoring service called SMARTTHINKING. This service uses the Internet to connect students with professional tutors for assistance with English and math. Technological support is available through the College’s computer labs and IT Department. ATC: How can potential students learn more about e-Campus? Dr. Camp: Information about e-Campus is available on the Atlanta Technical College website Potential students can also contact the Office of Admissions at 404.225.4461.



Global Retail Leader Gap Inc. Brings In-House Training Program to Atlanta Technical College

hen Gap Inc. was co-founded in 1969 by Doris and Don Fisher, the principle of “Do What’s Right” was at the forefront of its business model. Fast-forward 40 plus years. Gap Inc. is a global leader in the retail industry, and yes, “Do What’s Right” is still central to its mission.


leader in global commerce; they are respected and appreciated by consumers all over the world. Gap Inc. has a business model and commitment to a strong valuesystem that makes them an ideal partner for Atlanta Technical College as we strive to make our students global citizens.”

Nowhere is that mantra more evident than at Atlanta Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia. This winter, Gap Inc. launched Gap for Community Colleges, a partnership between the college and Gap Inc. as part of the White House Initiative ‘Skills for America’s Future.’ Through the program, Gap store managers provide students with the skills and knowledge to be successful and competitive in the global workforce.

Phase one of Gap for Community Colleges is delivered through a series of workshops. The sessions include modules on job search preparation, such as interview skills and resume writing; and practical workplace skills, such as managing people, setting priorities, and how to effectively communicate in the workplace. In phase two, students have the opportunity to receive on-the-job experience as they shadow Gap managers in store locations.

“We believe that by sharing Gap’s proven training curriculum, Atlanta Technical College students will gain valuable skills and experiences that will help them be better prepared for their career goals. This is exactly what is needed to develop a strong talent pool for our stores and the communities in which we operate,” said Sherrica Hill, General Manager of Gap Atlanta.

In addition to Atlanta Technical College, Gap for Community Colleges is offered at community colleges in seven U.S. cities including Atlanta, Metro Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The inaugural cohort will include an estimated 2000 students. Students will be eligible for sixty-five $1000 scholarships. Gap will also invite students to apply for jobs with the company. The retail giant expects to hire up to 1,200 students from community colleges in 2011.

Through the program, students have access to the same comprehensive training curriculum given to Gap store managers. This is the first time that Gap has offered this program outside of its own organization. The Gap for Community Colleges program is designed to help students get ahead in the career of their choice. “Gap Inc. is one of the largest employers in the United States. We hope that by providing our students with access to the same curriculum given to Gap store managers, they will be better prepared to join the workforce,” said Dr. Alvetta Peterman Thomas, president of Atlanta Technical College. “This corporation is a

“For more than 40 years, Gap Inc. has been committed to improving education in the communities where we live and work. We are proud to participate in this White House initiative and expand our job training programs to more cities to support efforts to improve the economy. Our hope is that Gap for Community Colleges can be part of the solution to improve workforce competitiveness here in the U.S.,” said Eva Sage-Gavin, Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources and Corporate Affairs.  

• Gap Inc. products are available for purchase in over 90 countries • Fiscal 2010 sales were $14.7 billion.



• There are an estimated 3,100 comp ny-owned stores worldwide

Helping Americans Retool I

n March 2011, W. W. Grainger, Inc., was named the “most admired” company among diversified wholesalers in FORTUNE magazine’s annual listing of the World’s Most Admired Companies. This was the second consecutive year that the company garnered the prestigious honor, due largely to its investment in its employees and the communities it serves. Grainger has been a staple in the metro Atlanta community for over 70 years, partnering with nonprofit organizations and civic groups to improve the quality of life for all Georgians. About two years ago, executives at Grainger recognized a precarious shift in the skilled trades industry. Veterans of the industry were quickly approaching the age of retirement and despite the fact that unemployment rates were sky-rocketing, younger workers were not considering manufacturing and construction jobs as viable options for employment. Grainger, a company that had woven “community service” into the fabric of its corporate culture for so many years, decided to tackle the issue head-on and support local technical colleges as a means to address these workforce issues.

In 2009, Grainger, Inc., brought The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program to Atlanta Technical College and provided students with the literal and figurative tools to succeed. Through the program, second-year students majoring in skilled trades can apply for financial assistance for tuition and books. In addition to a monetary prize, scholarship winners receive state-of-the-art tool kits provided by Grainger. Mitchell explains why sustaining technical education is critical to the survival of the U.S. workforce. “We’ve partnered with Atlanta Technical College because we understand that today’s technical education students will become tomorrow’s industrial skilled tradesmen, dedicated to keeping our communities working and growing. These students play a critical role in helping to close the growing skills gap in our country. We must support these students and our local technical and community colleges today for a solid infrastructure tomorrow.” Grainger execs have been so pleased with the progression of The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program that they are exploring ways to increase their involvement in the school and further assist students in their professional development.

“As a leading distributor of industrial supplies, Grainger is committed to helping stem the growing shortage of skilled workers while supporting the increasing technical demands of today’s manufacturing workplace,” said Matthew Mitchell, Manager of a Grainger facility in metro Atlanta. “We believe that the best way to address the rate of unemployment and the shortage of skilled workers is by supporting skilled trades programs such as HVAC, welding, automotive, and electrical, as well as the local technical schools and community colleges that train students to enter the workforce in high-demand fields.”




Partners for the Future

he Atlanta Technical College Scholarship Program is an excellent opportunity for businesses, community organizations, and individuals to have a positive and lasting impact on the economic vitality of Atlanta by helping a deserving student reach his or her educational and career goals. Our students aspire to succeed in the fields of business, healthcare, industrial technology, public services, science, construction, infor-

mation technology, hospitality, manufacturing, logistics, communications, and more. They are motivated and determined individuals who have come to college to gain the knowledge and resources to be successful in life.

Investing in Atlanta Technical College students is good business. Companies can fund a scholarship specifically for students enrolled in the program area which reflects their industry, or they can award scholarships based on financial need or overall academic merit. Corporate leaders can be involved in the selection process of the scholarship recipient, or Atlanta Technical College can manage the entire process. Awards can be granted once per year, or once per semester. However you choose, every dollar you designate for scholarships will go to the winning students’ education!

Contact Faye Evans at 404.225.4526 or

Alan J. Cobbs Hotel/Restaurant/ Tourism Management

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis Scholarship



Tahirah I. Mujahid

Malcolm Velasco

Dr. Hilliard A. Bowen Scholarship

Dr. Brenda Watts Jones Scholarship

Early Childhood Care & Education

Paramedic Technology

Three of our 2011 Atlanta Technical College Scholarship Winners. For a complete list visit

Atlanta Technical College is honored to have strong partners on this JOURNEY Collaboration and partnership can take many forms: ďŹ nancial contributions, in-kind donations, and/or sharing of professional expertise.

Hapeville Career Academy ‌and we would love to have you along for the ride Contact Elizabeth King, Director of Institutional Advancement at 404.225.4648 or



Journeys 2011 "Ready for the World"