Presidential Ambassador gives speech.

PTC Announces Presidential Ambassadors for 2020-21

Each year, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) chooses some of its best and brightest students to serve as Presidential Ambassadors. These students represent the college at campus events, provide campus tours and speak about their experiences to various audiences, including potential students and civic organizations. This year’s 14 ambassadors hail from a variety of backgrounds and represent many program areas, but they all have one thing in common ― they share a deep gratitude for the impact Piedmont Tech has had on their lives.

Here’s a brief introduction to our latest class of Presidential Ambassadors:

Cici Corley of Newberry likes the challenge of stimulating interest in what could be mundane business activities such as making a routine benefits presentation or drafting an economic report. It’s one reason the 19-year-old chose to study business management at PTC.

“I like to help, motivate and give people advice that will benefit them,” she said. “In addition, this major helps me show my creativity.”

Corley is inspired by her mother, who has been a positive role model and keeps Cici focused on her goals and ambitions. After graduation, Corley plans to transfer to a four-year university and obtain a bachelor’s degree so she may one day land the perfect business job for her.

Youthful at age 34, Patrick Craven hardly looks like the hardened military and law enforcement veteran he is. He is at PTC pursuing an initial nursing degree because his ultimate goal is to be a nurse practitioner for the Veterans Administration. The Greenwood resident dotes on his two dogs, Dixie and Daisy, and enjoys sports and outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, and swimming. He is serving as a Presidential Ambassador to give back to the college he holds in high esteem.

“Piedmont Tech has given me so much while I have been a student,” he said. “The people I have met while at PTC have affected my life so much, and I want to give back as much as I can. Being a Presidential Ambassador allows me to say thank you for everything that has been done for me.”

Enoch Fellows of Edgefield County is majoring in building construction technology (BCT). He chose BCT as a major after spending years assisting his father, who flips houses as a profession.

“I would like to go into flipping houses for a living, and I felt that BCT was right in line with that,” he said. “My dad helped me flip a house already. He loaned me the money, and I got the profit from it.”

Coming into the program with that experience is an advantage, and Fellows hopes to refine his skill set, specifically with electrical and plumbing. “I like flipping because you do a little bit of everything, and you are self-employed.”

Greenwood resident Kirkland Gilliard grew up in the Atlanta area, where he attended a performing arts school and played tuba in the school band. After earning his associate in arts degree, he hopes to return to Atlanta and attend Georgia State University to continue his education.

“I believe the associate in arts degree path will help me discover more about myself and what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

The 19-year-old says he loves to spoil his cat, Harpo, is passionate about volunteering, and used to help out at the Greenwood Soup Kitchen before COVID-19 changed everything. “I met a lot of good people there who I miss dearly,” he said, adding that his grandmother, who passed away early this year, was one of his most avid supporters and someone he has long admired for her strength and zeal for life.

Natasha Gresham is a practiced entrepreneur who already owns Parakaleo Management, a consulting and administrative services firm in Greenwood. Her love for and commitment to helping people now has expanded into funeral services and embalming.

“This will be my second degree from PTC, and I love it here,” she said. “There is so much to gain from what PTC has to offer, and I want to let the community and the world know about it.”

Gresham earned an associate of applied science in business administration with a concentration in accounting from PTC in 2008. She is grateful to her mother for instilling in her the drive to be successful. “She raised my brother and me as a single parent,” Gresham explained, “and I know it was because of her love, sacrifice and determination that we are who we are today.”

Noah Guire of Abbeville says his parents are the most influential people in his life. Their values and guidance have instilled in Noah a desire to help people via the health care field. Guire is working toward an associate degree in nursing and plans to earn a bachelor’s as well.

“I chose nursing because I want to help people. I enjoy health science and learning about how the body works,” he said. “Every time I see my grandmother, a stroke survivor, I want to be able to help her more than what I am currently able to do. I feel like nursing is my calling and will allow me to give to those who cannot give anything back to me.”

A medical condition that required heart surgery when she was just in the 8th grade led to Madalyn Harris’s interest in the heart and PTC’s Cardiovascular Technology (CVT) Program. The 17-year-old is participating in the college’s Career Quick Start Program, which has several career field options. Harris chose the health care concentration.

“The Health Care Quick Start Program is the perfect major for dual enrollment students who want to get their prerequisites out of the way and be program-ready. I chose this major so I can apply for the CVT Program as soon as I graduate from high school.”

At Ninety Six High School, Harris is a cheerleader, a member of the National Honor Society, involved in school government and serves on the Prom Committee. She is also a VBS Leader in her church and serves on the Praise and Worship Team. Her interest in CVT was reinforced when she shadowed a former PTC Presidential Ambassador who also was a CVT major. Ideally, Harris hopes to see herself one day working as a CVT at Self Regional Healthcare while pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health care administration.

While working toward her Patient Care Technician Certificate at PTC, received this past spring, Abigail Jacquet realized that she loved doing the clinical components of the curriculum and wanted more. Recognized with the program’s Distinguished Student Award, it is evident she is moving in the right direction. Now she’s on track ultimately to become a nurse. She is serving as a Presidential Ambassador to bring attention to opportunities available at the college.

“I want other students to transfer and realize that this is the place to start your career path,” she said. “The professors care about your success, and I want to help freshmen transition smoothly.” In her limited spare time, Jacquet volunteers at the Greater Greenwood Medical Clinic. She also enjoys dancing, watching anime, playing video games, watching WWE wrestling and hanging out with her friends.

Seeking health care can spark anxiety in just about anyone, especially when one’s provider looks nothing like them and does not appear familiar with their culture. This is one reason Daniela Jimenez-Leon is pursuing an associate in applied science degree and desires a career in health care.

“I would like to increase the representation of Latinos in the medical field,” she said. “When I am finished with college, I hope to be working in a dentist’s office.”

Jimenez-Leon wanted to serve as a Presidential Ambassador to provide support to other students as well as contribute to the college’s growth.

Tasha Lancaster gives all the glory to God. Her strong faith has helped her overcome two of the most difficult years in her life. Now she is hoping for a fresh start with an anticipated degree in administrative office technology/medical coding and billing.

“During this time, He has provided for me, protected me, lifted my spirits when I have been low and been the best friend I desperately needed,” she said. “I want to be more like Him and hope to do this in my new field of employment.”

This creative Presidential Ambassador likes to paint, cross-stich, crochet and cuddle with her “fur babies.” When she had the opportunity to serve the college, she didn’t hesitate to accept. “I thought it would be a nice way to give back to the school for all it has given me,” Lancaster explained. “I also hope to show others that, if you really want something and work hard, you can achieve your goal.”

It should come as no surprise that William McClellan of Ware Shoals is a Legos® toy afficionado, especially the large sets like Millennium Falcon. McClellan enjoys putting things together, making the pieces fit precisely. That’s one reason he chose to major in Machine Tool Technology.

“I am hands-on and creative. I like fixing things and making things,” he said. “I’m also a lot like my grandpa, because he originally wanted to be a machinist and do the things that I am currently doing. He did not have that opportunity, as I have, but he ended up teaching himself a lot of it and passed that knowledge down to me.”

McKenna Scott of Greenwood is majoring in Respiratory Care at PTC. She chose her major because she would like to make a difference in people’s lives. The 22-year-old Aiken native also teaches at Emerald City Dance Explosion and enjoys helping others have fun and get an aerobic workout.

“I have always had an interest in the medical field, and with respiratory care, I get to be up close with two of the most important systems in the body: the cardiovascular system and the pulmonary system,” she explained. “I always enjoy learning new things, which is perfect because there are always new things to be discovered in the health care field.”

It takes a good eye and solid confidence to pursue an art-focused career, and Brentley Sims of Greenwood has both. It’s not enough to be an accomplished photographer and dance teacher. She wanted an even greater challenge.

“I chose this major because I find digital art very fascinating,” she explained. “It takes art to a new level. With this major, I have different options for where I can apply my art.”

Sims, who would like to one day own a graphic design studio, says her grandmother is the most influential person in her life. “She has always been such a strong, smart woman, and I have always wanted to grow up and be just like her while also making her proud.”

The mother of 19-year-old, sports-loving twins, Shandrea Williams has spent many an hour cheering her kids on from the sidelines of various sporting events. She’s also seen her children get their fair share of related bumps and bruises.

“I became interested in x-rays because I spent a lot of time seeing them when I took my children to the orthopedic doctor because of their injuries playing sports,” she said. Now she is majoring in radiologic technology at PTC. She would like to continue her education by transferring to a four-year college and obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a health-related specialty.

Associate Dean of Students David Rosenbaum advises the Presidential Ambassadors program at PTC.

“Every year, I watch our Presidential Ambassadors step out of their comfort zone and learn new skills like public speaking and professional networking,” Rosenbaum said. “They represent Piedmont Technical College at the highest level and are using their stories to make the college experience relatable. I am proud to be working with this fine group of students.”

The Presidential Ambassadors are a select group of second-year students who are chosen to represent the president, the college and their program of study. These students are selected on the basis of their academic achievement, college and community involvement, work ethic, leadership skills and willingness to serve the college.