Archive for March, 2018

CFCC LPN Program Ranked #1 in North Carolina

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

CFCC PN StudentsWilmington, North Carolina – The Cape Fear Community College Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program, for the second consecutive year, has been named best in North Carolina.

In a recent study conducted by Practical, the CFCC LPN program ranked first among 36 other LPN programs offered by community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools in the state. The scores and rankings for each school were determined based on a historical analysis of National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) exam pass rates and test scores.

“It is an honor for the College to receive this recognition and I am extremely proud of our Health Sciences faculty and staff,” said President, Jim Morton. “This is a well-deserved acknowledgment of their efforts and their commitment to making our healthcare programs the best in the state.”

“The success of this program is shared by all of the faculty and staff who dedicate their time and expertise to support the students and the program,” said Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Angela Ballentine. “CFCC provides exceptional healthcare programs that are making a vital contribution to healthcare delivery in our community and throughout the state.”

“Our students are diligent, hardworking, and tenacious in their endeavor to become LPNs,” said Practical Nursing Program Director Carolyn McCormick. “They are representing our college in a positive way with each clinical rotation. The program faculty has tremendous experience as nurses in their practice areas with nearly 100 years of combined nursing experience. Additionally, we are fortunate to have the outstanding technology in our learning labs and simulated hospital which augments the student experience and creates realistic teaching and clinical scenarios upon which our students can learn.”

The CFCC Practical Nursing program prepares individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide nursing care to clients and groups of clients throughout the lifespan in a variety of settings. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination, which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Employment opportunities include healthcare settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, physician’s offices, industry, and community health agencies.

For more information about Cape Fear Community College’s LPN program, please visit .

From CFCC to Chapel Hill: A C-STEP Student Story

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Tyler Balderson

“I found out about C-STEP against all odds,” said Tyler Balderson, a former Cape Fear Community College student who now attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

C-STEP, also known as the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, is a program that mentors students through an associate degree program and onto a baccalaureate degree program as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Balderson discovered C-STEP three days short of the deadline during his final semester of high school. With his SAT/ACT scores, he didn’t think he stood a chance of getting in. Despite his doubt, he decided to apply. A few months later, Balderson received an envelope from UNC-Chapel Hill in the mail. “Half expecting it to be a rejection letter, I ripped it open, tearing the envelope and the acceptance letter in two. I had been accepted!”

Balderson’s admittance to the program shifted his mindset — he felt like he belonged and like he was working toward a goal. “I worked 30-70-hour weeks while I was a student and because of my relationships with the students, staff, and faculty, I felt both supported and confident.”

“Not only has C-STEP given me peace of mind knowing that I will transfer on to UNC-Chapel Hill, but it has given me a community of people to lean on and friends that are like family,” Balderson noted. C-STEP affected Balderson in such a positive way that he wanted to give back. In his second year of the program, he dedicated his time to helping others who felt “alone or incompetent with no way out of it.” He reached out to new members, welcomed them, and made them feel at home in what he calls the “C-STEP family.”

“If you’re thinking about applying, stop thinking and apply!” said Balderson. “Don’t let the past or present define your future. If you want anything to happen for you in the future, you have to make it happen for yourself.”

Tyler Balderson is now in his third year of college at UNC-Chapel Hill with hopes to continue his C-STEP journey as a board member on the C-STEP Student Leadership Committee.

A Student’s Take: Marine Technology at CFCC

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Marine technology student

My name is Michelle Wiegert and I’m a marine technology student at Cape Fear Community College. My journey at CFCC began as a means to fulfill graduate school prerequisite requirements. I decided it would be less expensive and offer more flexibility if I took math and physics — the classes I would need to begin my graduate studies in marine science — at the community college.

I was so pleased with my first class at CFCC — an advanced trigonometry class — that I decided to see what else the college had to offer. I discovered the associate of applied science in marine technology program and quickly learned it would afford me the tangible skills I was lacking from my bachelor’s degree.

After weighing the pros and cons (most of which dealt with financial burden and career opportunities that would offset those costs) I set up a meeting with the department chair of the marine technology program. I registered for the program that same day. Needless to say, it was an easy sell.

While at CFCC, I have learned new skills that include, but are in no way limited to marlin spike seamanship (splicing, knot tying, and net mending); how to change the spark plugs and the oil in an outboard engine; how to drive, dock, and trailer a boat; a working knowledge of important computer software programs like GIS and AutoCAD and other programs unique to marine careers such as Hypack; how to identify roughly 400 southeastern U.S. marine species; and how to use a variety of instrumentation deployed off a ship and into the ocean.

There is one skill I have learned that ties each of these together: how to live on a ship. Moreover, I know how to live on a ship for numerous days at a time while employing the aforementioned skills. In the marine technology program, we are fortunate to have a moving classroom, the R/V Cape Hatteras.

Every semester, the students take the ship into the open ocean, deploying their classroom-learned tactics and techniques, while living on a moving vessel. Let me tell you, the ocean is kinder and gentler on some days than on others, and during these times, a person learns how to live with other people in close quarters.

The support system at CFCC has inspired me to take part in other marine-technology related opportunities. I became a board member of the Marine Technology Club, which allowed me to lead events of particular importance to me like once-a-month beach clean-ups with other CFCC students and their friends.

These clean-ups are our way of giving back to the community. We have found ways to not only clean the beaches but to enter data of trash we find into worldwide databases with programs such as Rosalia Project and Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell.

We are also involved with the worldwide drifter program registered with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. The marine technology program has partnered with the boat building and manufacturing program to build miniature sailboats that we then deploy on our cruises. Monitoring the movement of the sailboats has enabled us to determine the status of currents and winds.

Not only has the program met my academic needs and provided me the tangible skills I need at an affordable price, but it has allowed me to pursue my passions with the utmost support and care from both faculty and classmates.

From Part-Time Event Coordinator to WFD Firefighter

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

“I knew I wanted a career change,” said Laura Leigh Bransford, recent Cape Fear Community College First Responder Academy graduate and newly-hired firefighter at the Wilmington Fire Department. “And I knew I always wanted to help people.”

Bransford, a military wife and mother of a seven-year-old boy, was focused on her husband’s military career. After moving from Wilmington to Austin, Texas and back again, Bransford stayed at home with her little boy and worked as a part-time assistant and event coordinator for Poplar Grove Plantation. With growing passions for athletic training, teamwork, and helping others, she was naturally drawn to firefighting. “I realized it was never too late go after my dreams,” said Bransford.

In the summer of 2017, Bransford tried out for the Wilmington Fire Department. She did not make the cut, but Bransford persisted: “I knew I was not giving up. Then I found the First Responder Academy at Cape Fear Community College.”

Bransford described her experience with the First Responder Academy, “It was a key point in changing my career. The instructors and the classmates were great mentors and friends. It was a huge growing and learning experience. It was a big family and a great environment for learning. And I really came out of the program a different person…for good.”

Upon her First Responder Academy graduation, Bransford was hired by the Kure Beach Fire Department. Shortly thereafter, she went through the application process with the Wilmington Fire Department. Four hundred applications were taken, with just 24 spots to fill. After a series of written, physical, and oral tests and a panel interview by firefighters of all ranks, the Wilmington Fire Department offered Bransford a position.

Now, Bransford continues to work part time for Kure Beach Fire Department as she goes through her six months of training as a recruit with the Wilmington Fire Department.

Bransford offers advice to parents who have children and a family to support seeking a career change, “Going through school is temporary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I would often call my friends and ask my parents, who lived two hours away, to help with my son. A support system is essential. Put in the time and I promise you, you will be rewarded.”

And to others dreaming of a career change, “change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts.” Bransford continued, “Put one foot in front of the other. Suck it up and do it; put that hard work in. As you start to accomplish small things, your confidence will build and you will begin to see those small accomplishments grow and grow.”

As a firefighter and mother, Bransford has learned that sweat and hard work are essential to growth. “That’s what you have to do to grow — you have to make sacrifices.”