Quarterly Publication | Fall 2021
Social Work Student Makes a Difference
Jessica Flores is busy. A student at Mary Baldwin University through the Roanoke Higher Education Center (RHEC), she will soon complete a Bachelor of Social Work degree. While completing the fieldwork component of her program, she works full time. She is a mother of three young children. On top of all that, she volunteers regularly as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor through her church.
“To me, she’s the epitome of what I would describe as a social worker,” explained Dianna Parrish, Flores’s instructor and advisor. Parrish serves as the Associate Director of Mary Baldwin University Online Social Work Program.

It’s clear that Flores lives to serve. Flores came to the RHEC two years ago after completing her associate’s degree in Human Services from Virginia Western Community College. In her day job as a disability analyst with the Social Security Office in Roanoke, she helps determine who is eligible to receive disability benefits.

For the past two years, Flores has volunteered as an ESL instructor through Franklin Heights Church in Rocky Mount. Restoring Hope Roanoke, a non-profit which connects local churches to community resources, helped get this program up and running.

Flores, who has family members who are immigrants, started as a teaching assistant right before the pandemic hit. The program took a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, and classes started up again in September. Flores has since become certified as an instructor and now leads an intermediate-level English class. She incorporates games, activities, and visual aids to keep it fun and engaging for her students.

“Learning English is a primary basic need that they have coming into the country,” she said, “and we just hope to show them that there are people that care about them. We can help them with so many other things.”

The majority of her students are from a Hispanic background. In addition to teaching language skills, Flores and her team link students to other resources, anything from legal advice, to medical care, to providing gently used clothes or furniture.

The need is great for these services for both immigrants and refugees. According to Parrish, Roanoke is a “sanctuary city” that has been seeing a lot of refugees from Afghanistan due to the humanitarian crisis. Flores shares that Restoring Hope Roanoke has already been supporting Afghan refugees.

Flores acknowledges the challenges of balancing it all. “I feel like it’s important for my kids to see me working hard at work and in school and then helping other people,” she said. “We try to get them involved in as much stuff as we can. It's going outside of myself and my problems and my busy schedule, and being able to have empathy and recognize needs of other people, I think, provides a lot of motivation to just balance it all.”

For more information, please visit www.franklinheights.org and www.restoringhoperoanoke.org.
Teaching with a Provisional License—
MBU wants you!
Due to the extreme teacher shortage in Virginia and across the United States, many teachers have gotten jobs without full licensure in the area in which they are teaching.  
Mary Baldwin University’s College of Education developed a certificate program specifically to serve teachers who hold a provisional license:

Provisional License Teacher Certificate
Graduate Level
Discounted rate of $325 per credit hour
May apply for financial aid
Take just courses required by VDOE for full licensure
Must take 12 semester hours to receive certificate
May take fewer, but would not receive the certificate

If interested in a master’s program later, any courses you
take for your certificate will transfer directly to a master’s program
if they are the same as the courses in the master’s program.

For more information, contact the Program Director,
Dr. Alice Waddell [email protected]

Dr. Waddell will serve as your advisor and will register you for your courses.
Note that Virginia has listed the following 10 endorsements as

 “Critical Shortage” areas:
Special Education
Elementary Education PreK-6
Middle Education Grades 6-8
Career and Technical Education
Mathematics Grades 6-12 (including Algebra 1)
Science (Secondary)
Foreign Language PreK-12
English (Secondary)
Library Media PreK-12
Health and Physical Education
Choose Non-degree seeking application
There’s no time like the present!

Help us reach our development goals by supporting current fundraising priorities. Together, we can make a difference in our community!

Foundation Funding Priorities:
  • Career and Workforce Center Establish a Career and Workforce Center to support students and workers, employees and employers in the region. Services include resume writing, interview preparation, portfolio development and presentation, career re-direction, internships and job referrals. 

  • Scholarship Fund Provide scholarship opportunities to deserving students. Funds will help offset the cost of tuition to attend classes and/or obtain workforce certificates at RHEC.

  • Innovation Workforce Fund Incentivize new program development in collaboration with partner institutions.

  • Support the RHEC Mission Provide unrestricted funds utilized for everyday use to address the needs of day-to-day operations.
Why Give?
Our Mission:    
The Roanoke Higher Education Center Foundation is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation dedicated to enhancing the mission of the Roanoke Higher Education Authority.

Our Impact:
The Roanoke Higher Education Center (RHEC) is a catalyst for positive change, and it is our goal to continue to expand our direct impact in this community. Programs at RHEC serve a variety of educational goals from adults needing job training and lifelong learning opportunities to undergraduate and graduate instruction. With your support, we will issue scholarships, create new programming, and establish a Career and Workforce Center connecting adult learners with local businesses and industries. Your gift will change lives and help create educated and skilled leaders, who will contribute to the economic vitality of our region. Thank you for your support.
Meet Kaitlyn Van Buskirk
Development Officer, RHEC Foundation

The Roanoke Higher Education Center Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Kaitlyn Van Buskirk as our new development officer.
Learn More:
To learn more about the many ways to support the RHEC Foundation, please contact Kaitlyn Van Buskirk, Development Officer, at [email protected] or (540) 767-6292. You may also visit our website at www.education.edu/foundation/ for additional information.
As interim president, Lepre steps forward to guide Radford’s future
Carolyn “Lyn” Ringer Lepre, Ph.D. first stepped foot on the Radford University campus in the fall of 2019 as a candidate for the open provost and vice president for Academic Affairs position.
Students, faculty, and the entire Radford family made a lasting impact on the native New Yorker. “I was so impressed with the talented campus community and the positive energy and commitment I witnessed,” she recalled. “I was so warmly welcomed that I immediately felt at home.”

Lepre impressed Radford as well and was offered the position of the university’s chief academic leader. She began working with the Radford community in July 2020 following more than a decade of successful and compassionate leadership at Marist College. There, she served in multiple academic and administrative positions, including Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts.

A year after coming to Radford, Lepre’s leadership roles and responsibilities grew immensely as she transitioned from provost to Radford University’s interim president following the departure of President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. Serving as provost, Lepre was already heavily involved in many facets of the university. Helping lead its response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic was chief among those.

“This administration is committed to moving our university forward and doing what is best for our students, faculty, staff, and community,” Lepre said in September during her first report to the Radford Board of Visitors as interim president.

In doing so, Lepre believes the continued success and well-being of the Radford University family is fundamentally tied to enrollment growth and retention of students.

“We will accomplish these goals,” Lepre said, “by moving forward with current initiatives and by strategically investing in new projects designed to create pathways to build upon our traditional student base; cultivate partnerships that build advocacy and financial support; advance and celebrate academic excellence; provide access and opportunity so that all who wish to be a part of our university have the chance to do so; address the critical needs of our students and ultimately their success; and foster a community that promotes a sense of belonging for all Highlanders.”

Speaking with faculty and staff at the annual State of the University address in October, Lepre touched on many of the plans and initiatives aimed at guiding Radford toward its mission of being the premier, innovative, student-centered university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond with a keen focus on teaching, research, and service.

She reflected on the year past, noting the challenges of COVID-19 and the tremendous, heartwarming response from the Radford family, who diligently worked to maintain the health and safety of the community and deliver high-quality learning to students. She spoke of the numerous national accolades and recognitions bestowed upon the university from groups outside of campus, including efforts in “creating pathways for the men and women who have served this great country,” Lepre said.

The university’s six-year plan is a bold initiative designed to strategically guide Radford toward the goals of serving its students and community. It includes, to list just one of Radford’s ambitious strategic plans, the construction of the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, which broke ground in the summer, and, Lepre said, “will bring together students from health sciences, visual and performing arts, and other disciplines across the university in a dynamic multi-story building that will include instructional space, health sciences clinical lab space, and painting, drawing, music, and dance studios.”

Academically, Radford will continue under Lepre’s leadership to develop programs that ensure students’ needs are met. Those will include nursing resilience training and the expansion of allied health offerings, particularly an Occupational Therapy Assistant to Master of Occupational Therapy weekend program and an online degree program in respiratory therapy.

Moving forward, Lepre’s focus for Radford is “simple,” she said. It is to “promote the well-being of this community and cultivate a sense of belonging,” increase student enrollment, and “retain our students and workforce.”
Lepre is poised to guide Radford into its future with plans to renovate residence halls and McConnell Library, construct a new convocation center, expand the campus experience along the New River, and improve facilities at Radford University Carilion.
“Radford University is creating opportunities to contribute to the overall well-being of our students, staff, and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the interim president said.
Lepre’s skills as a strategic, innovative, and compassionate leader certainly have been honed by her years of experience serving in multiple capacities within higher education, going back to her days as a faculty member and respected scholar at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and California State University, Chico and to her professional experiences in the communication industry with various national publications and media outlets.

However, it is her “experience as a mother,” she said, that has helped shape “who I am as an academic and as interim president.”

Lepre gains purpose and meaning each day from her husband Todd and twin daughters, Sarah and Ainsley, who this year began their own academic journeys in higher education.

“They have given me a new appreciation for the college experience and how critical it is to help students get connected and feel like they belong,” Lepre said. “Seeing a university through their eyes is a source of strength and foundation.”
At the State of the University address, Lepre spoke of the word “family” and its importance to her within her own home and within the Radford family.

“I hope that you have, as I do, a positive caring or comforting connotation when you think of family,” Lepre said. “It is something that holds you up, has your back, and fiercely loves you.Your family is your harbor in the storm.
“Like any family,” she continued, “we have the most important thing in common—we care about the well-being, potential, and future of our students, institution, and community.”
VWCC chef named to ACF Culinary Team USA
As featured on the Virginia Western website

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) recently announced that Virginia Western’s Ted Polfelt, CEC, CCA, AAC, will be a member of the ACF Culinary Team USA 2024. After three rigorous rounds of tryouts, Polfelt was chosen to compete with the team at the 2022 Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg, Germany and at the 2024 IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany.
“I’m truly honored, humbled, and excited on being part of this team. An opportunity to represent my country, the American Culinary Federation, Virginia Western, and my community is immeasurable,” Polfelt said. “We have a lot of work to do, but we can’t wait to get started!”

Polfelt and the team will start practicing their entries together in August. Chef Kevin Storm, CEC, AAC, serves as team manager, and the following chefs will be joining Polfelt on the team.
  • Chef Logan Christensen, CEC, St. Louis Country Club, St. Louis
  • Chef Troman Avenido Felizmenio, Waldorf Astoria, Palm Desert, California
  • Chef Dan Holtgrave, CEC, Old Warson Country Club, O’Fallon, St. Louis
  • Chef Timothy Recher, CEC, AAC, Quail West Golf & Country Club, Naples, Florida
  • Chef James K. Storm, St. Louis Country Club, St. Louis

These chefs exemplify the best of the best,” Chef Storm said. “Over the next four years, team members will devote their time and energy to represent the United States on the world stage. We give great thanks to their employers for supporting the chefs on their journey. Also, thank you to Jones Dairy Farm for their sponsorship of the team.”
Join us in congratulating Chef Polfelt and cheering him on as he represents the United States.
The Art of Public Speaking & Presentation Skills

It's the night before a presentation at work or a job interview. You're feeling anxious; you have butterflies in your stomach, and you're worried your performance will suffer because of it.
What would you do if you had techniques in your back pocket that could help calm your nerves, engage your audience, and communicate a clear message? If
you were a little less on edge before having to speak in public, what could you accomplish?
The Art of Public Speaking & Presentation Skills will equip you with tools to:
  • rein in stage fright
  • gain the attention of an audience
  • keep your audience focused on what you are saying
  • make your words memorable
Anyone who speaks in front of an audience in any situation and wants to learn how to do so with confidence while leaving a lasting impression needs to be a part of this workshop.
Our instructor Greg Justice is both a professor and a professional actor. He has been offering workshops in the industry for over 25 years and is excited to help you overcome your fears. But—while you can expect to be participatory, there's no need to worry about being put on the spot in this workshop!
This workshop is $269 per person and will be held in-person at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center on Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with an hour for lunch). Register today.
Contact: David Conners, [email protected] or (540) 767-6145.
Business of Brewing
How do you turn a passion for brewing into a successful business? Learn how from regional experts at the Business of Brewing workshop Jan. 17-21, 2022. 

Management Essentials Workshops

Identify and leverage the strengths of your diverse teams to help your organization succeed. Learn how with our virtual team management workshops.
February 15
Contact: David Conners, [email protected] or (540) 767-6145.
Lean Foundations
What is Lean? Is it the same thing as Six Sigma, 5S, continuous improvement, or operational excellence? What’s the difference or is there a difference? If you’re interested in improving the systems within your organization, then you may know a little bit about Lean already and want to know more about its ins and outs.

Our Lean expert John Dyer will guide you through the fundamental principles of Lean thinking and an overview of Lean tools and methods in order to get a more developed understanding of all that Lean has to offer you and your organization. Course content will examine Lean as a philosophy and a system as well as identify the benefits and challenges of creating a continuous improvement culture. You will explore ways to get started and to establish new behaviors and capabilities.

This workshop will be held at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center on Feb. 16, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is $289 per person. Register today.

Contact: David Conners, [email protected] or (540) 767-6145.
Women Impact Virginia
Top women entrepreneurs will take the spotlight for the last session of our Women Impact Virginia series on Nov. 17. This free virtual series aimed at engaging and inspiring women who want to make an impact in their communities includes networking and discussions that dive deep into best practices and tools for success. Register today for this free professional development experience!
OSHA Compliance Training

These courses are comprehensive safety trainings designed for anyone involved in
construction and general industry. The programs provide complete information on OSHA compliance issues and cover hazard identification, avoidance, control, and prevention.

Stay on top of job safety and health; it’s the law!
Upcoming OSHA classes held at the Roanoke Higher Education Center:

  • December 6-9, 2021 • OSHA 510
  • Occupational Safety And Health Standards For The Construction Industry$845.00

Registration material can be found online at Chesapeakesc.org or call (800875-4770. For more information, contact Carla Jackson at (540) 767-6010 or via email at [email protected].
Please note: Onsite classes will follow the CDC COVID Safety Guidelines:
  •    Face masks are mandatory upon entry and in class.
  •    6-foot safe distancing on campus will be enforced.
  •    Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry.
  •    Avoid coming if you have a fever or are experiencing any symptoms.
Roanoke Higher Education Center
108 N. Jefferson St. | Roanoke, VA 24016
www.education.edu | (540) 767-6161