MECC participates in the United Way of SWVA Careers Expo for Youth

Mountain Empire Community College recently participated in the United Way of SWVA Careers Expo for Youth held at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Abingdon on September 25 and 26. More than 4,000 students participated in the event. The college was represented by Health Science Recruiter and Retention Specialist Sarah Clarkston, CTE Recruiter Vicki Pearcy, and MECC Recruiter Todd Clendenon and EMS Instructor Michael Cross. Pictured is Cross with two student attendees.

MECC to Hold Inauguration of College’s Seventh President

Mountain Empire Community College will host the Inauguration of the college’s seventh president, Dr. Kristen Westover, on Friday, October 19 at 10:30 a.m.
The ceremony will take place in MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center. A reception will immediately follow the inauguration in the Slemp Commons. Invited guests, students, and members of the public are asked to RSVP their attendance at
Those that cannot attend are encouraged to view a live stream of the inauguration from MECC’s Facebook page, @mountainempirecollege. The ceremony will also be broadcast on Wise County’s Public Access Channel 6 on Comcast Cable.
The inauguration event will be held in coordination with the college’s annual Home Craft Days Festival. A free concert celebrating the festival and inauguration will be held Friday, October 19 at 6 p.m. in the Goodloe Center featuring Wayne Henderson & Helen White, John McCutcheon, and Joe Newberry & Mike Compton. 
As a high school dropout who obtained her GED and held numerous labor-intensive positions before finding the courage to seek education, Dr. Kristen Westover first gained a love and appreciation for the community college mission through her own life-changing experience at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. There she experienced an education delivered through support, encouragement and high expectations, quickly recognizing her passion and purpose are grounded in creating those same experiences for others, particularly those who may not have a history of positive educational opportunities.
Dr. Westover began her educational career over 25 years ago, serving as a high school math and computer science teacher and middle school coach. After 10 years in the high school setting, she seized the opportunity to serve as a faculty member at Colby Community College, her alma matter. After teaching at the college level for a few years, she shifted into administrative work, serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the same college. Dr. Westover also served at the Kansas Board of Regents, where she was the Director of Technical Programs and Curriculum, and as the Program Coordinator for the national initiatives leadership team for the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
Having spent most of her life in a rural setting, Dr. Westover felt a connection to the people of Southwest Virginia during her first visit to the region in 2013. She made the connection official when she agreed to serve as Mountain Empire Community College’s seventh president in July of 2017. She came to Mountain Empire from Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia where she served for six years as the Vice President for Academic and Student Development Services.
Dr. Westover holds an A.S. from Colby Community College, a B.S. in mathematics and a M.S. in instructional technology from Fort Hays State University, and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Westover and her husband Mark live in Lee County Virginia. They both love animals and enjoy everything Southwest Virginia has to offer, including motorcycling, golf, hiking, music and art.
For more information on Mountain Empire Community College, or the inauguration ceremony, visit the college’s website at or or call 276.523.2400.

Mountain Empire Community College to Offer Quick Start to College Program

Big Stone Gap, VA – Students who did not meet the deadline for enrolling in fall classes have a second chance to enroll at Mountain Empire Community College for the semester.
MECC will offer a free Quick Start to College class designed for individuals who have considered college, but have not yet enrolled.
The course allows students the opportunity to obtain three college credits without having to enroll for a full semester at no cost. To qualify, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
Quick Start includes an orientation to the basics of college life. Students will be able to learn how to find offices and classes on campus, use Blackboard, and MECC email. Career counseling sessions will also be included so that students can learn more about MECC program offerings that best fit their interests.
The course will cover computer basics including using Word and saving documents to flash drives. Students will also focus on math and English. Students will be able to freshen up on important basics that will help them take or retake the Math and English placement tests.
The Fall Quick Start program will be offered Tuesday & Thursday afternoons, 9:40 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. from September 4 through October 11. The schedule is as follows:

  • September 4 & 6  – Orientation and Campus Information
  • September 11 & 13 – Career exploration & College Success Skills
  • September 18 & 20- Computer Skills
  • September 25 & 27  – Computer Skills
  • October 2 & 4  – Math Skills
  • October 9 & 11  – English Skills

For more information, or to enroll, please contact Beth Boggs, MECC Career & Transfer Counselor, at 276.523.2400 ext. 324 or by email at

MECC Important Announcement: Class Registration Deadline

Students who have not yet enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an advisor and register for classes by Tuesday, August 21. Classes begin Wednesday, August 22. New students who enroll after Tuesday, August 21 will only be enrolled in late-starting classes and MECC’s Quick Start program. To schedule an appointment with an advisor, call 276.523.2400. Students may call today until 4:30 p.m. MECC offices will be closed all day Friday, August 16 for faculty/staff in-service. The college will be open Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to serve students.

MECC Foundation and Ballad Health Partner to Host Golf Tournament  for the Lee County Endowed Scholarship

Jonesville — The MECC Foundation, in partnership with Ballad Health, will host the MECC Foundation — Ballad Health Golf Classic at the Cedar Hill Country Club in Jonesville on Friday, August 10.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lee County Endowed Scholarship at MECC. Because the scholarship is endowed, it will be a permanent source of scholarship assistance and will support students from Lee County throughout the years to come. All proceeds raised during the tournament will be matched by an anonymous donor up to $30,000.

Registration for the Captain’s Choice tournament will begin at 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. The tournament will feature two flights, putting and chipping contests, as well as “Most Accurate Drive” and “Closest to the Pin” prizes. Players who hit a hole-in-one on Hole # 5 will win a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, sponsored by Freedom Chevrolet of Big Stone Gap.

The entry fee is $75 per person, or $300 per 4-person team. The entry fee includes breakfast, mulligan package, gift for every golfer, goodie bag, range balls, cart fees, green fees, and lunch.

Three levels of corporate sponsorships are available:  Bronze – $500; Silver – $1,000, and Gold – $1,500 and up. Corporate sponsors receive a team(s), a hole sign, and recognition at the tournament.

Hole sponsorships are available for a fully tax-deductible gift of $50 to the MECC Foundation. Signs will be placed on the golf course recognizing all hole sponsors. Businesses or individuals needing information or wishing to be a sponsor, enter a team, or provide a prize may call Jeri Bledsoe, Tournament Coordinator, at (276) 523-2400, extension 287, or e-mail at

Financial gifts to the Lee County Endowed Scholarship are fully tax-deductible and are always welcome and appreciated. Gifts of any amount may be sent to MECC Foundation, Attn:  Lee County Endowed Scholarship, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA, 24219.

For more information on the MECC Foundation, visit


MECC Offers First-Ever Literacy Institute for Teachers

Lift Institute

Lift Institute

Big Stone Gap — Wise County K-8 teachers recently participated in Mountain Empire Community College’s first-ever Literacy Institute for Teachers (LIFT).

LIFT, or EDU 295: Literacy Institute for Teachers, is designed to allow teachers to earn recertification points for professional license renewal. The course focused on effective teaching strategies using literacy skills and storytelling, utilizing active engagement and modeling strategies.

Fourteen teachers were trained in integrating the elements of storytelling and literacy to motivate student learning and retention of critical concepts across content areas. Although literacy was the focus, teachers learned how to incorporate literacy education across disciplines.

MECC Dean of Arts & Sciences Harriette Arrington said the college developed the program as a way to meet two needs – improving the literacy skills of youth in the region while providing quality professional development and required re-certification credits for local educators.

“It was an absolute privilege to work with these outstanding teachers in grades Pre-K through sixth from across Wise County,” said Dr. Arrington, a who is also a children’s book author and professional storyteller. “We learned from each other and had such fun exploring exciting ways to build student success.”

Shameeka Williams, a fifth grade math teacher at Union Middle School described the class as enlightening. “I learned how to incorporate various literacy activities into my math classroom that I would have never known about before.”

“The LIFT class was more than uplifting,” added D. J. Sabo, a pre-school teacher at St. Paul Elementary School. The class gave me the confidence to become a better storyteller and allowed me the chance to meet fellow teachers in Wise County and learn from them.”

MECC plans to offer additional teacher re-certification training in during the 2018-19 academic year. To learn more about training opportunities for educators, call 276.523.2400 ext. 243.



MECC to Hold Information Session for Lee County Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will hold an upcoming information session to assist those interested in enrolling in the college’s Certified Nursing Assistant Program in Lee County. The cohort will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from September 18 through December 4 in Pennington Gap. An information session to enroll in this cohort will be held on Monday, July 30th at  6:30 p.m. at Lee Health and Rehab Center, 208 Healthcare Drive, Pennington Gap. For more information on MECC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program or the upcoming Pennington Gap information session, call 276.523.7456.

MECC Hold Health Sciences Open House & Career Fair

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College’s Health Sciences Division will host an Open House and Career Fair on Tuesday, July 10 from 6 p.m. to  8 p.m. in the Goodloe Center, Phillips-Taylor Hall.  Regional healthcare employers will be represented, with over 90% indicating they have current open positions.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a resume and dress professionally. Employers attending this year’s event include Ballad Health, American HealthCare, and many more.

Employers are invited for refreshments in the Slemp Commons at 5 p.m. with a tour of MECC’s Simulation Laboratory to follow.

For more information regarding MECC’s Health Sciences Division Open House and Career Fair, contact Kim Dorton, Dean of Health Sciences at, Arietta Harvey, Division Administrative Assistant at,  or Lena Whisenhunt, Director Practical Nursing program at or call 276.523.7456.



MECC Governor’s School 2018 – June 11th – 22nd

Governor’s School is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, and Dickenson, and the City of Norton, who have a 3.0 GPA or higher.

The two-week program, held annually on MECC’s campus in June, features a variety of hands-on activities in one of several subject areas selected by the student. Students spend time in the field, in labs, on tours, and in the classroom with the faculty of Mountain Empire Community College, receiving six college credit hours – tuition free.

Interested individuals should contact the Governor’s School Coordinator at 276.523.2400, ext. 307. To apply, visit To view the 2018 Governor’s School offerings  Click Here.

Last of MECC Original Faculty, Allgyer, Retires

Chris Allgyer

Chris Allgyer

Chris Allgyer hasn’t had a job interview in 46-years. He attributes that fact to his memorable experience interviewing for the position of math instructor at Mountain Empire Community College.

Allgyer, who is originally from Piqua, Ohio, was called for an interview after a position became vacant at the soon-to-open Mountain Empire Community College. He had no idea where Big Stone Gap was at the time. But the AAA Travel Agency provided directions and he set off for what he describes as an “adventure”.

The winding two-lane backroads through Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia prompted a serious case of car sickness. By the time he arrived at the Trail Motel in Big Stone Gap, he was seriously dehydrated and bed-ridden. But Allgyer contends the college was persistent and somewhat desperate. MECC President George Vaughn offered to bring the interview committee to his bedside.

“I was basically flat on my back, sick in the bed in the Trail Motel, and they came to my hotel room to do the interview. I remember they asked me questions like what was my philosophy on community college education. I remember that question particularly because I really didn’t have a good answer. I was deathly sick, just excused myself to the bathroom, came back, and the interview continued.”

Despite his rather unusual introduction to MECC, Allgyer got the job. For the last four decades, he has made MECC his home, marrying his wife Paxton, a “lovely Virginia-girl,” and changing the lives of thousands of students whom he instructed.

This week, Allgyer will close his classroom door, ending 46 years of service with MECC. He is the last of the original faculty members who started at MECC’s opening to retire. Allgyer describes his decision to drive to that remarkable interview in Big Stone as one of the best he’s ever made.

“I was very fortunate to land in Big Stone Gap,” said Allyger. “When my mother saw the campus, her first thought was ‘My goodness son, they actually pay you to work here’ because it was so pretty with the mountains compared to Western Ohio where it’s all flat.”

“When I came here I thought I’ll stay here and get a few years of experience and then I’ll go back up north. But as I started working here I realized how friendly the people were, how talented they were. They did have a lot of Cincinnati Reds baseball fans and I could listen to the games on the radio. But I think the feeling of what we were doing for the community and the gratefulness of people for the college, gave you a feeling that hey, this is a really good place.”

Allgyer has learned a lot in his tenure as an instructor and can now easily describe his teaching philosophy. He attributes his success to the great mentors and colleagues he has had at MECC, the opportunities he had to continue learning in his profession, and the college’s willingness to implement new and innovative teaching strategies.

“In terms of my philosophy, I think our role is to help students grow and to try to excite them about learning and particularly mathematics,” Allgyer said. “But in general to try to produce people who can learn on their own and continue to learn and appreciate the fact that you are always going to have to learn new things.”

“One thing I liked about being at a community college is that we offer students a chance to grow and we can start with the very basics of arithmetic to meet their needs. I can think of students who started at the lowest level of math and went on to become engineers, teachers, and doctors and such. That’s one of the things I most proud about, In my 46-years I’ve helped students grow and get rewarding work.”

Allgyer practices what he preaches in terms of being a life-long learner. In his retirement, he will stay in Big Stone Gap and will absorb himself in gardening, volunteer service, and his work as a Virginia Master Naturalist, Pro-Art, and the college.

Although Allgyer says he will miss teaching, he is ready for the next chapter. He would advise new instructors to never stop learning because students will continue to evolve and to have fun.  “I’m going to miss working individually with students and seeing their success. I won’t miss the grading, papers, and committee work that we do. But I’ll be visiting the campus a lot to see my friends. I’ve had a wonderful opportunity here. My advice to new instructors is to share with their colleagues and don’t be afraid to ask for support. Patience is always a good thing. Keep learning new things. And have fun with it, because most of the time, it is a lot of fun.”

MECC Holds 45th Annual Commencement Ceremony

MECC Class of 2018

MECC Class of 2018

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College held its 45th commencement ceremony Friday, May 11 at 6 p.m. at the Big Stone Gap campus.

The Class of 2018 includes 570 graduates. MECC awarded 118 Associate of Arts & Sciences degrees, 182 Associate of Applied Science degrees, and 147 Certificates and 271 Career Studies Certificates.

Graduates participating in the commencement were welcomed by MECC Local Advisory Board President David Graham. Dr. Kristen Westover, MECC President, introduced the featured student speakers for the commencement ceremony, which included Kara Kennedy and Matt Newman. These student speakers were chosen because of their exceptional academic performance and unwavering commitment to overcoming challenges during their college career.

Kara Blake Kennedy, of Wise, is graduating Cum Laude with an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Degree. Kara plans to continue her education in the fall to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.  Kennedy is the daughter of Marty and Rose Kennedy.  Kara began her path to a nursing career in the Spring of 2015 when she began pre-requisites for the Nursing program. During Summer 2016, Kara was involved in a tragic accident that almost took her life. Despite the loss of a lower limb, Kara successfully fought to return to nursing school and complete her degree. 

Matt Newman, of Lee County, is graduating with an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in General Studies. Matt is a correctional worker at the United States Penitentiary in Lee County. He has two sons, Gabriel and Maxwell Newman, and is engaged to Heather Walls. He plans to transfer to King University to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work/Psychology this fall, with future plans to become a Mental Health Counselor. Matt is the son of Chris and Kelle Newman and Vicki and Jimmie Shoemaker and the grandson of Vincent and Betty Kirk.

In addition to the graduation ceremony, MECC hosts an Awards Night event honoring graduates and current students who have displayed exceptional academic and leadership qualities during the 2017-18 academic year. This year’s honorees include:




Samantha Johnson

Marglo Sarah Osborne



Sahara Adkins

Sandra Bailey

December Baker

Haley Balthis

Ethan Bowen

Cheyenne Brown

Justin Browning

Augusta Carver

Irvin Chavarria

Dalton Cochran

Amanda Compton

Tristan Craiger

Austin Dean

Anthony Deel

Leighenna Estrella

Chad Fritz

Lindsey Gibson

Jordan Gilly

Nicholas Hadges

Joshua Hill

Jacob Hood

Hannah Hughes

Dylon Huntington

Emmitt Kellogg

Enrique Lopez III

Laquiel McCurdy

Dustin McDavid

Ryan McDavid

Amber McElroy

Casey McKee

Megan McMahan

Summer Meade

Mysti Mullins

Ambria Muse

Eddie Dewayne Parsons

Tessa Parsons

Tristan Phipps

Dillion Poole

Desirae Porter

Brittany Potter

Frances Ramsey

Scotty Ramsey

Kirsten Record

April Rose

Chelsea Rose

Curt Rose


Timothy Sargent

Joshua Smith
Matthew Spears

Billy Stanley

Kayla Stapleton

Jeffery Tippett

Courtney Turner

Brooklyn Wilson



Adam Bowen
Victoria Burton
Logan Fletcher
Sierra Kern

Isaiah Kinsey
Trey Lomax
Eddie Dewayne Parsons
Anna Marie Puorro



Sandra Bailey

Dylan Cox

Nicholas Hadges

Kara Kennedy

Mysti Mullins

Lyndsay Oakes

Geena Phipps

Belinda Scott

Billy Stanley

Sheena Stanley




Conner Bolling

Courtney Hay

Chelsey Stapleton


Dylan Mabe

Anthony Swindall


Alexis Barker

Conner Bolling

Cassandra Cole

Chelsey Stapleton


Mekyah Davis

Kristy Hood-Pickell

Mysti Mullins

Anthony Swindall



Leighann Hamilton

Kalee Horner



Olivia Meade



Eddie Dewayne Parsons



Austin Williams



Stephanie Slone



Administrative Support Technology

Erin L. McCracken

AST-Medical Office Specialist

Barbara Jean Whitehead

Computer Networking

Phillip Kerns

Computer Software Specialist

Rebecca Osborne

Health Information Management

Melanie Mullins


Angelica Shoffner

Paralegal Studies

Andrew Kerr



Samantha Johnson

Marglo Osborne



Christian Hale




Eddie Dewayne Parsons



Sarah Adkins

Adam Bowen

Richard Jones

Christopher Newman

Crystal Zeppa


Christian Hale



Andrew Kerr



Shanley Brooks

Carli Cassell

Charles Cox

Opal Evans

Makayla Funk

Charles Gibson

Olivia Green

Hurley Hamm

Phebe Lane

Jordan Langley

Victoria Manis

Dalten McCoy

Briana Meredith

Emily Mullins

Samuel Palmer

Jonathan Robbins

Gary Rose

Micheala Russell

Emily Slemp

Isaac Stanley

Eryn Surber

Matney Sutherland

Jordan Young





Candidates for Degrees
May 11, 2018

The students whose names appear below made formal application for a degree or certificate by the date specified in the Academic Calendar.

Associate of Arts and Sciences

Business Administration

Hurley Alexander Hamm***

Sierra Rana Holmes

Austin Cole Williams***



Associate of Arts and Sciences

General Studies

Claudia Jane Alsup**+

Ryan Andrew Baird

Kayla Makenzie Bird***+

Ethan Scott Bishop

Kody Ray Bledsoe

Connor Grant Bolling

Shanley R. Brooks***

Austin Blake Carroll

Carli Cheyenne Cassell*

William D. Cassell

Ashleigh Blake Collins**

Alec Daelen Couch*

Charles Dylan Cox**

Dylan Scott Cox***+

Tyler Blake Craft

Charna Nicole Davis*

Alexandria Brooke Deckard

Tanner Ray Dingus*

Airica Morgan Dotson**

Tabitha Lynn Earwood*

Micah Joseph Edgar*

Brittany Nicole Edwards

Courtney Paige Eldridge***

Opal Elizabeth Evans*

Chance Karl Fannon*

John Avery Fansler

Morgan Gabrielle Fleming

Robert Eugene Florse*

Makayla Elaine Funk

Ashton Brooke Gardner

Roger Lee Garrett**

Charles Blaine Gibson**

David Clayton Goodman**

Emily Ann Graham***+

Brittany Nichole Hall*

Courtney L. Hay

Danessa Ariel Hensley

Amy R. Johnson

Emmitt Mufasa Kellogg

Rachel LeAnn Kilgore***

Sarah Nicole Kilgore***

Tracy Lynn Kissel

Phebe Grace Lane**

Jordan Alexander Langley

Enrique Lopez, III*

Cole Ryland Maggard*

Dalten Jesse Liam McCoy*

Anna Morgan Meade

Briana Shante Meredith**

Abbey Grace Mullins***+

Emily Leeann Mullins***

Jessalyn Victoria Mullins*

Mysti Skye Mullins

Christopher Matthew Newman

Kaytlin S. Osborne

Holly Leann Owens**

Taylor Brooke Page*

Geena Caitlin Phipps

Ruth M. Potts

Felicia M. Powers**

Tori LeAnne Powers***

Kasey Chase Repass

Jordan Kayleigh Robbins***

Kaitlyn Marie Robbins**

Emily Faith Roberts*

Tiffany Amber Roberts*

Gary Duane Rose, III

April Michelle Rose*

Micheala Dawn Russell**

Alexis Breann Sexton***

Anastasia Eden Smith***

Matthew Jess Spears

Matti-Jo Morgan Spivey*

Isaac Wells Stanley*

Jordan H. Stanley**

Travis Clayton Stanley**+

Noah Cade Steele

Lauren Elizabeth Sturgill**

Matney Paige Sutherland

Emily M. Trent

Keila Janesha Vaughn*

Nathan Andrew Ward**

Grace Nicole White*

Haven Raye White***+

Austin Cole Williams***

Katelyn Renee Wolfe*

Jordan Tyler Young***


Associate of Arts and Sciences

Pre-Teacher Education

Rachel Elizabeth Bartley***

Opal Elizabeth Evans*

Hannah Danielle Flanagan**

Olivia Katherine Green**

Rachel LeAnn Kilgore***

Sarah Nicole Kilgore***

Allison Brooke Rose*

Courtney Ann Smith


Associate of Arts and Sciences


Shanley R. Brooks***

Chance Karl Fannon*

Makayla Elaine Funk

Marglo Sarah-Jo Osborne***

Samuel Joseph Palmer*

Emily Renee Slemp

Isaac Wells Stanley*

Lauren Elizabeth Sturgill**


Associate of Arts and Sciences

Science: Engineering Specialization

Richard E. Jones, II**


Associate of Applied Science


Shamra L. Dye**

Sena H. Treadway*


Associate of Applied Science

Administrative Support Technology

Erin Lynn McCracken**

Katlyn Brook Phillips*


Associate of Applied Science

Administrative Support Technology: Medical Office Specialist

Sandra Dulaney Bailey***

Ann Lorraine Lane**

Janet I. Moore***

Brittany Marie Potter**

Barbara Jean Whitehead***


Associate of Applied Science

Computer Networking Technology

Andrew Jessee Barnett

Irvin Emanuel Chavarria*

Gavin Reed Collins

Ritchie Deel***

Jacob Scott Hood

Phillip Clinton Kerns***

Corey Matthew McNeil**

Michael Nathanael Mullins

Derick Alan Robinette*


Associate of Applied Science

Computer Software Specialist

Matthew James Beverly

Timothy J. Fryatt*

Nicholas Austin Hadges**

Everett Rece Hunsaker

John P. Jones*

George Cary Morgan

Rebecca Jean Marie Osborne



Associate of Applied Science

Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technology

Jerry O. Elkins***

Ryan Hollis Gendron***


Associate of Applied Science

Computerized Manufacturing Technology: Electromechanical Technology Specialization

Gary Nicholas Taylor Bradshaw**

Ethan Timothy Darnell**

Tyler Daniel Darnell*

James Michael Day**

Bryan K. Fannon**

Chad A. Fritz*

Joshua Andrew Hill

Kurt Weston Lane**

Austin Parker Lussardi*

Quentin Elliott Mann*

Casey Allen McKee**

Megan Renee McMahan**

Joshua Caleb Mullins**

Derek Joseph Noaks**

Isaac Matthew Powers

Curt Aaron Rose***

Ethan Russell Sampson**

Cary N. Schoolcraft

Mason Wayne Sexton

Thomas Earl Sluss***

Joshua Dwayne Smith

Kayla Paige Stapleton

Benjamin David Sullivan**

Associate of Applied Science

Correctional Services

Austin Bradley Dean**

Robert-Lee Spencer Hamm

Walter W. Harding**

Eddie J. Kilbourne**

Savannah Marie Kimberlin

Justin Lee Pittman**

Joshua C. Reynolds

Tiffani Marshe Sergent


Associate of Applied Science

Emergency Medical Services Technology

Justin Dwayne Allen**

Caleb Ryan Cox*

Joann Marie Deel

Whitney Nichole Kelly**

William Lee Kennedy

Nathan Scott Shockley


Associate of Applied Science

Energy Technology: Electrical Specialization

Taylor Douglas Alsup**

Stuart Weston Barton

Michael Craig Hill

Austin Gregory Mullins

Michael B. Mullins

Bradley Alan Neff**


Associate of Applied Science

Environmental Science

Adam D. Bowen*

Kenneth Scott Mullins


Associate of Applied Science

Environmental Science: Water/Wastewater Specialization

Allen N. Blankenship***

Daniel Lee Hartley**


Associate of Applied Science

Forest Science

Adam D. Bowen*

Daniel Lee Hall II*

Hannah Elaine Hayes*

Derek Brandon Holmes**

Eddie D. Parsons***


Associate of Applied Science

Health Information Management

Emily Rebecca Baker*

Crystal A. Branham

Laura M. Brickey**

Michelle Renee Brock***

William L. Buchanan, II*

Emily Roseann Fleming***

Amanda J. Laster*

Kaitlin Cassidy Mencer**

Meagan Lea Monahan**

Amanda N. Mullins**

Melanie Ann Mullins***

Ashlie Clerissa Pineda

Lee A. Street**

Tammy R. Thomas


Associate of Applied Science


McKenzie Leigh Crabtree*

Christa Renee Holmes***

Angelica Jill Shoffner**


Associate of Applied Science


Angela D. Adams

Viola Carol Adams

Anissa Brooke Bailey

Emily Faye Bise

Bria Jazmine Bloomer

Brittany Leigh Boggs

Courtney Alexis Boggs***

Michelle L. Bolling

Laken Savannah Bryant

Sharona L. Burke

Samantha S. Campbell

Jennifer Kay Caudill

Emily Beth Charles*

Reagan Dean Craft

Brittney Lois Caroline Brock

Tyler C. Culbertson**

Jarred Alan Day

Brittany Georgia-Ann Elliott

Natasha Brittney Estep

Abagail Grace Farmer**

Morgan Gabrielle Fleming

Shane Matthew Channing Fleming

Alexis Shae Foster

Brittany Nicole Francis

Jordan MaKenzie Gilly

Alli Quinn Gray

Christopher R. Hamblin**

Hunter A. Helbert

Jennifer Nicole Hensley*

Alexis Abigail Herrera

Kevin Allen Herron***

Ashley N. Hill

Whitney Shianne Hillman

Samantha Nicole Hurd*

Kristin Lea Johnson

Kara Blake Kennedy*

Briana Danielle Lawson*

Caitlyn Joan Luce-Edwards

Nicholas Jacob Mann*

Sarah R. McFall

Abigail Brooke McKinney*

Sierra Magena Meade

Elizabeth Adriane Metcalfe*

Amanda M. Mitchell

Shelsey Eden Moore

Michele L. Mullins

Lyndsay Ann Oakes

Elliott Blake Owens**

Rebekah L. Owens

Skylar Blade Pitman

Rebecca C. Puckett

Belinda S. Scott

Stephanie Dawn Skidmore

Kayla Layne Skinner

Stephanie E. Slone***

Hunter May Smith

August Kay Stanley

Billy R. Stanley

Sheena Diane Stanley

Amy M. Stapleton

Jessica Renee Taylor

Eden Marie Thompson

Rachel Nichelle Vaughn*

Kasey Wayne Wagner*

Rebecca A. Welsh*

Ashley Bowen Young

Associate of Applied Science

Paralegal Studies

Zachary Hampton Clark**

Jessica H. Ennis

Toni Kay Flanary

Walter W. Harding**

Andrew Michael Kerr***

James M. Lane

Chasity LeAnn Phillips

Debbie L. Pyles-Dingus*

Jessica A. Salyers**

Brett A. Shortt

Tammy V. Stanley**


Associate of Applied Science

Police Science

Sahara Noelle Adkins**

Emily Grace Baker**

Lindsay Faith Collins*

Joshua Ian Dingus*

Courtney Page Ely*

Carla Jean Hall**

Robert-Lee Spencer Hamm

Walter W. Harding**

Brett Kimberly Newton**

Brian A. Potter**

Joshua C. Reynolds

Jonathan Chase Robbins***

Tiffani Marshe Sergent

Matthew A. Stallard

Shawn Douglas Williams*


Associate of Applied Science

Respiratory Therapy

Juliette N. Bevins**

Samantha Blaire Blankenbecler*

April D. Bradshaw***

Augusta Maddlyn Carver

Katelyn LaShea Hurlock*

Alexandra Pendleton Johnson**

Briana Jade Kiser**

Ashley Marie Maness***

Amanda G. Montgomery**

Rebekah Jo Stanton

Chelsey R. Stapleton

Kandace Brooke Sturgill

Morgan Brooke White

Marla Wilson


Associate of Applied Science

Technical Studies: Welding

Jordan Tyler Bowen

Anthony Brett Deel

Dakota Tyler VanHuss



Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Michael Craig Hill



Clerical Assistant

Erin Lynn McCracken**

Vicki Denise Pearcy***

Brittany Marie Potter**

Angelica Jill Shoffner**



General Education

Patrick James Alcantara-Roberts+

Claudia Jane Alsup**+

Ryan Andrew Baird

Kayla Makenzie Bird***+

Jonathan K. Blackwell*

Kody Ray Bledsoe

Emily Christine Broadwater***+

Shanley R. Brooks***

Chadwick Mitchell Cantrell

Ashley Paige Christian

Candace Faye Christian**

Gabrielle Faye Collins+

Timothy Chandler Counts

Charles Dylan Cox**

Alexandria Brooke Deckard

Jacob Hunter Dotson***

Sarah Allison Dotson***+

Micah Joseph Edgar*

Brittany Nicole Edwards

Chance Karl Fannon*

John Avery Fansler

Hannah Danielle Flanagan**

Jacob Tanner Fox*

Caitlin Mackenzie France**+

Makayla Elaine Funk

Roger Lee Garrett**

Madison Brianne Gibson+

Emily Ann Graham***+

Brittany Nichole Hall*

Hurley Alexander Hamm***

Courtney L. Hay

Hallie Paige Hembree*

Sierra Rana Holmes

Tyler Paul Ingle*+

Amy R. Johnson

Shawn Patrick Johnson*+

Makenna Jordan Kennedy+

Jordan Alexander Langley

Tanner Cole Lawson*

Cole Ryland Maggard*

Hannah Kristen Martin***+

Grace Elizabeth McCowan**+

Dalten Jesse Liam McCoy*

Aimee Gail-Lynne McKee

Lindsey Hannah Meade+

Melissa Danielle Meade*+

Briana Shante Meredith**

Alexandria Gale Mullins**+

Emily Leeann Mullins***

Gracie Jewel Mullins**+

Haley Elizabeth Mullins**+

Haley Paige Nelson+

Christopher Matthew Newman

Allison Renee Palmer**+

Samuel Joseph Palmer*

Tori LeAnne Powers***

Matthew David Rhoten**+

Jordan Kayleigh Robbins***

Daniel Roberson

Emily Faith Roberts

Gary Duane Rose, III

Jayme Leigh Salyers***+

Emily Leighanne Sanders*

Emily Renee Slemp*

Anastasia Eden Smith

Gayce May Snyder***

Hannah Faye Stallard***

John Patrick Mullins Stallard*+

Hunter Cole Stanley*

Isaac Wells Stanley**

Travis Clayton Stanley**+

Kaleigh Belle Still+

Colyn Dean Sturgill+

Kira Alixandrya Rene Sturgill**+

Eryn Madasyn Surber*

Nicholas Vinson Trosper***+

Kelvin Luan Vo***+

Annie Nichole Wagner***+

Jordan Marshall Wampler***

Brooklyn Paige Warner

Haven Raye White***+

Austin Cole Williams***

Donna Lynn Winebarger+

Alexander Logan Withrow*+

Alexis Marie Woods+

Jordan Tyler Young***



Industrial Maintenance

Chad A. Fritz*




Legal Office Assisting

Zachary Hampton Clark**

Jessica H. Ennis

James M. Lane

Brett A. Shortt



Medical Office Coding and Procedures

Michelle Renee Brock***

Laura Brittany McAfee

Crystal Marie Gail Snodgrass

Kirsten Paige Trent

Miriam E. Vanover



Practical Nursing

Caitlin Rochelle Absher

Kearsten Leann Adams

Holly Nicole Bevins

Natasha Kaitlyn Bishop

Elizabeth Leann Boggs

Kellie Ann Bush

Samantha Lea Clark

Juanita Lucille Collins*

Angela Diane Cooper

Karla KreeAnn Cox

Kelsey Jo Culbertson

Bethany Nora Inez Day*

Amber G. Dotson

Raina Danielle Dotson

Victoria Briann Edwards*

Sydnee Austin Fleming

Marilyn Rose Gamboa

Haylee Brook Hazlett

Hannah Marie Hughes

Stephanie Johnson

Sydnee Mariah-Ashlin Keith

Savahanna Faith Kern

Rebecca Elizabeth Lane

Crystal Dawn McCoy**

Leigh-Anne C. McDaniel

Kalyn Nicole Middleton*

Ashton Kristina Mullins

Hayleigh Brenae Mullins

Makaila Suzanne Penley

Amanda Dawn Phillips

Samantha Faye Phillips

Jacqueline Marie Polly*

Catherine M. Rainey

Joseph Douglas Redmon

Claire Sutton Rigg**

Travis Wayne Roberts

Adam Rose

Austin Brian Russell

Hailee Anne Russell*

NaKesha Nicole Sargent

Chantarae M. Shepard**

Chrissy Ann Smith

Katherine Renee Spears**

Kierstien Sharae Stanley

April Maria Steele

Alicia Louise Stiltner*

Jeffery H. Tippett

Courtney Jayde Turner

Herlin Berame Vance




Jordan Tyler Bowen

Anthony Brett Deel

Dakota Tyler VanHuss


Career Studies Certificate

3-D Design

Jerry O. Elkins

Ryan Hollis Gendron

Madyson Jade Lell

Larry Lee McKnight Jr.

Garrett Dalton Shortt

Connor Matthew Wilson


Career Studies Certificate


Joshua D. Sturgill


Career Studies Certificate

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Ethan Shane Bowen

Adam Samuel Bruner

Michael Craig Hill

Dylon Michael Huntington

Ryan Edward McDavid

Jimmy C. Pittman

Dustin Dale Townsend


Career Studies Certificate

Chemical Process Operator

Megan Renee McMahan


Career Studies Certificate

Child Development: Infant and Toddler Option

December Harley Baker

Bailey Marie Franklin

Whitney Paige McCown

Tirzah Brooke Neeley

Jessica Marie Seabright

Faith Elizabeth Thomas


Career Studies Certificate

Child Development: Pre-school Option

Bailey Marie Franklin

Career Studies Certificate

Computer Software Specialist: Mobile Applications Development

Timothy J. Fryatt

George Cary Morgan



Career Studies Certificate


Travis L. Barton

Noah Jerry Moneyhun

Alex Wayne Roberson

Devin M. Robinette

Devan James Summers

Whitney Cheyanne Tipton


Career Studies Certificate

Early Childhood Development

December Harley Baker

Stephanie Kristen Birman

Bailey Marie Franklin

Summer E. Meade

Jessica Marie Seabright

Sherry Lynn Vanzant


Career Studies Certificate


Taylor Douglas Alsup

Adam Samuel Bruner

Joseph Edward Freeman

Marc Anthony Hamilton

Michael Craig Hill

Michael B. Mullins

Bradley Alan Neff

Jimmy C. Pittman

Jason Allen Rose

Matthew Waylon Sturgill


Career Studies Certificate

Emergency Medical Technician: Basic

Michael S. Begley

Dalton Brody Cochran

Benjamin Cyle Collins

Tristan Anthony Craiger

Dustin C. Edwards

Haley Allison Gilliam

Destiny Nichole Hatfield

Joshua Gabriel Herrera

Dedra Michelle Howe

Brian Douglas King


Career Studies Certificate

Emergency Medical Technician: Intermediate

Ruth Michelle Cornett

Dalton Bryce Sargent


Career Studies Certificate

Energy Technology: Electrical Emphasis

Adam Samuel Bruner

Michael Craig Hill

Michael B. Mullins


Career Studies Certificate

Energy Technology: HVAC Emphasis

Adam Samuel Bruner


Career Studies Certificate

Funeral Service Assistant

Adriane Summer Bailey

Sharon Leigh Cox

Ambria Madison Muse


Career Studies Certificate

Geographic Information Systems

Jerry O. Elkins

Amanda Leagh Huskey

Jason Monroe Simpson


Career Studies Certificate

Health Sciences

Angela D. Adams

Holly Nicole Bevins

Emily Faye Bise

Braxton Gregory Bishop

Courtney Alexis Boggs

Michelle L. Bolling

Chelsea Lynn Brickey

Haley Elizabeth Brickey

Mary Abigail Bright

Justin Craig Browning

Rachel B. Burke

Rosetta M. Carter

Samantha Lea Clark

Amanda Jean Compton

Holly Rachel Cox

Brittney Lois Caroline Brock

Kenzie Marie Crusenberry

Kelsey Jo Culbertson

Raina Shea Cumbo

Nicholas J. Darter

Bethany Nora Inez Day

Kourtney LeighAnn Dockery

Airica Morgan Dotson

Victoria Briann Edwards

Jessica L. Elam

Richard Lee Evans

Abagail Grace Farmer

Ericka B. Fisher

Candace A. Flanary

Alexis Shae Foster

Brittany Nicole Francis

Marilyn Rose Gamboa

Lindsey Irene Gibson

Jamie Donald Gilbert

Alexis Maggie Gillenwater

Chandler MacKenzie Glovier

Janet L. Grabowski

Alexandrea Madison Hackney

Brooklyn Nikkole Hensley

Danessa Ariel Hensley

Whitney Shianne Hillman

Kaelie Elizabeth Hines

Mark R. Hubbard, II

Samantha Kaitlynn Keene

Kara Blake Kennedy

Sierra Rose Kern

Rebecca Elizabeth Lane

Amanda J. Laster

Michael L. Leonard

Enrique Lopez, III

Hannah M. Maness

Laken Nicole Martin

Anna Nicole McCarthy

Crystal Dawn McCoy

Tessy Rae McCoy

Sarah R. McFall

Abigail Brooke McKinney

Megan Danielle Mefford

Alyssa Grace Mullins

Ashton Kristina Mullins

Jessalyn Victoria Mullins

Hannah Rebecca Musick

Peyton Andrew Palmer

Tristan Darby Phipps

Allison Paige Ramey

Frances D. Ramsey

Kirsten Brooke Record

Katherine Lynn Reuille

Summer Breanna Rhodes

Emily Teresa LeeAnn Rhoton

Claire Sutton Rigg

Kaitlyn Marie Robbins

Monica Michelle Rowan

Timothy Allan Sargent

Hunter May Smith

Katherine Renee Spears

Gabriel Keith Stacey

Rebecca Ann Stapleton

April Maria Steele

Christie L. Summey

Eryn Madasyn Surber

Emily M. Trent

Neisha N. Tuggle

Courtney Jayde Turner

Rachel Nichelle Vaughn

Kasey Wayne Wagner

Christopher W. Wampler

Gracia Elizabeth Wright


Career Studies Certificate

Information Technology Readiness

David A. Cox

Jared D. Langley

Harold J. Padgett

Benjamin H. Salyers


Career Studies Certificate

Law Enforcement Management and Supervision

Myles Cote

Dewey W. Fulton

Donald Earl Harding, III

Stephenson Jones

Wesley C. Mullins

Ronald L. Shortt

Scottie L. Snapp

Michael P. Stidham

Kevin D. Yates


Career Studies Certificate

Legal Office Assisting

Debbie L. Pyles-Dingus


Career Studies Certificate

Medical Receptionist and Transcriptionist

Leighann Michelle Hamilton

Kayla Nicole Seals

Thelma June Slone


Career Studies Certificate

Medical Records Technician

Makayla Leanna Fields


Career Studies Certificate

Old Time Music

Maggie Evangeline Gatley

John Bradley Webb


Career Studies Certificate

Pharmacy Technician

Haley Brianne Balthis

Michael A. Hall

Courtney Shae Hickman

Artis Nicole Payton Tia Johnson

Gwendolyn D. Kern

Elizabeth Lea Rachelle Laster

Tessa Rae Parsons

Dillion Poole

Desirae Marie Porter

Travis C. Rose

Belinda S. Scott

Allyson B. Stanley

Brittany Nichole Worley


Career Studies Certificate


Cheyenne Nicole Brown

Pamela Jane Cates

Martha Jane Davis

Chelsea Renee Evans

Vonda Danielle Green

Leighann Michelle Hamilton

Courtney Brooke Hill

Kalee Rosemary Horner

Pennie Lyn Hyatt

Sharon R. Jackson

Amy Cayla Marie Jones

Brionna Leigh Kern

Laquiel A. McCurdy

Amber Marie McElroy

Corey Matthew McNeil

Lindsay Nicole McNeil

Tessa Rae Parsons

Brittany Raschae Phelps

Summer Breanna Rhodes

Sandra Lucina Robles

Chelsea Nicole Rose

Savannah Nicole Shell

Cheyanne Rena Shuler

Bradley James Tabor Jr.

Brooklyn M. Wilson

Brittany Nichole Worley


Career Studies Certificate

Small Business Management

Angelica Jill Shoffner


Career Studies Certificate

Software Development I

Matthew James Beverly

Timothy J. Fryatt

Nicholas Austin Hadges

Rebecca Jean Marie Osborne


Career Studies Certificate

Software Development II

Matthew James Beverly

Timothy J. Fryatt

Nicholas Austin Hadges

Rebecca Jean Marie Osborne


Career Studies Certificate

Water Plant Operator

Jeffery K. Morgan

Jerry Wayne White


Career Studies Certificate

Welding Operator

Scottlin Keith Baker

Sean Michael Berry

Jordan Tyler Bowen

Anthony Brett Deel

Tyler Edward Deirth

Philip L. Edwards

Leighenna Carmen Estrella

Adam Kedrick Gibson

Dustin Wayne McDavid

Shannon D. Owens

Scotty Ray Ramsey





To be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have at least the following grade point average and complete an associate degree or certificate:


*Honors (cum laude), 3.2

**High Honors (magna cum laude), 3.5

***Highest Honors (summa cum laude), 3.8

+High school students


Individuals have been designated in the program as honor students based on their grade point average at the completion of the semester prior to the one in which they will graduate.

Students wearing gold tassels are honor students. Students wearing gold stoles are members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society.

Students wearing red, white, & blue cords are U.S. Military Veterans.


Mountain Empire Community College to Hold Informational Session on Free Drone Operator Classes

BIG STONE GAP – Mountain Empire Community College will hold an informational session on its summer Unmanned Aerial Systems classes Monday, May 14 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall, Room 214.

Courses are free and will introduce concepts related to the building and operation of drones, which are the most common UAS devices. These courses are part of MECC’s Small UAS (sUAS) Operations Technician Technical Studies Associate Degree that is currently pending approval. In addition to the degree, students can also test for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote Pilot Certificate at no cost to them. This offering is made possible through MECC’s collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia’s Community Development Block Grant and Geospatial Technician Education-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (GeoTEd-UAS).

While the UAS industry is growing throughout the region and the state, it can also compliment other industries already present in the region. According to MECC’s UAS Instructor Fred Coeburn, the technology is an excellent resource for police, EMS, realtors, farmers and ranchers to incorporate into their professions.

The first summer cohort session begins June 5. In addition to attending the informational session, those interested in the program can learn more at or contact Fred Coeburn at 276.523.2400 ext. 285.

State Board for Community Colleges to Set 2018-2019 Tuition and Fees at May Meeting

Richmond – In accordance with Section 23.1-307 (D) of the Code of Virginia, the State Board for Community Colleges provides notice that it will consider tuition and mandatory fee increases for Virginia’s Community Colleges, effective fall 2018, at 9 a.m., May 17, 2018, at 300 Arboretum Place, Richmond, Va. The State Board will consider tuition and mandatory fee increases of between 1 percent and 3 percent for all undergraduate students, subject to further actions of the General Assembly.  The community colleges would use the revenue generated from the tuition increase to pay for:

  • Increased state employee fringe benefit costs;
  • Operation and maintenance of new buildings;
  • Technology infrastructure upgrades;
  • Contractual obligations;
  • Investments in strategic initiatives to improve student success.

MECC Now Accepting Applications to 2018 Governor’s School

Big Stone Gap – Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are invited to participate in the 2018 Mountain Empire Community College Governor’s School to be held June 11 through June 22 on the college campus.

MECC Governor’s School is open to public and home school students in the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, and Dickenson, and the City of Norton, who have a 3.0 GPA or higher. This two-week program features a variety of hands-on activities in one of several subject areas selected by the student. Students spend time in the field, in labs, on tours, and in the classroom with the faculty of Mountain Empire Community College. Students who complete the session will receive six college credit hours, tuition-free. In addition to classroom activities, students will participate in field trips to area colleges.

Twelve academic strands will be offered this summer, including:

  • 3-D Animation/Game Design – Are you a gamer? Take your skills to the next level by learning the basic techniques of game design. Create your own 3D game from concept to implementation using traditional and computer-generated animation.
  • Art Illustration for Graphic Novels – Love a good story? Create your own narrative by learning character development and illustration techniques. Students will complete a graphic novel they design.
  • Cyber Security – The FBI anticipates that cyber-attacks will soon become one of the greatest threats to our nation’s security. Fight crime by delving into the minds of hackers. Learn how to prevent cyber-attacks while also preparing for one of the nation’s most in-demand career fields.
  • Drama – Calling all drama queens and kings! Produce your own full-length play and learn the basic components of play production, from lights to sound, set design and character study. Students will premiere a full-length production of their own creation.
  • Drones – Immerse yourself in one of the world’s most innovative new technologies. Learn to build, configure, maintain, and legally fly drones both for fun and for commercial use. An exciting career pathway for those interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
  • EMS – The EMS strand features exciting activities and practical information including: CPR/First Aid certification, examine and stock an ambulance, prepare for an air ambulance (helicopter) landing, interact with air ambulance medics and nurses, extricate a patient from a wrecked vehicle. Students will participate in a SIM Lab emergency simulation and explore health care careers.
  • Engineering – Be an innovator! Use your technical and creative skills to design 3-D models and animation and solve complex engineering problems. Invent your future in engineering in this exciting field.
  • Entrepreneurship and Regional Tourism – Interested in starting your own business? Southwest Virginia’s tourism industry is dependent on small businesses. Develop your own business concept while exploring the best of our region’s assets.
  • Environmental Science – The mountains are calling. You must go! Learn about the mountains and streams of Southwest Virginia and current and potential threats to these ecosystems. Students will engage in a water quality study on the Clinch and Powell Rivers that will have a long-term positive impact on our region’s water systems.
  • Music – Rockin’ Guitar provides students with an opportunity to build and uniquely design their own electric guitar from a kit. Learn the basics of playing the guitar and perform a song at the completion of the course.
  • Solar Energy – Want to change the world? The future of energy technology is solar power! Learn basic electrical theory while exploring solar and wind technologies in an exciting new career field.
  • Web Design – The future of technology is endless. Learn more about computer programming, application design and development, and robotic technologies. Students will explore career paths in high-paying, high-demand technological fields.

Applications to attend the 2018 Governor’s School will be accepted until May 18, 2018 or until spaces are filled. Limited space is available and students are encouraged to apply early. To view additional information or to download the 2018 application, please visit the Mountain Empire Community College Governor’s School website at or contact John Bledsoe, Governor’s School Coordinator, at (276) 523-2400 ext. 307 or Ann Lane at ext. 363.



Mountain Empire Community College Partners with Global Cybersecurity Training Company

BIG STONE GAP, Va. – Mountain Empire Community College has announced its partnership with EC-Council, a globally recognized cybersecurity training company, to deliver the company’s official courseware to students in subjects like network defense, penetration testing, and computer forensics.

MECC will incorporate EC-Council courseware into the college’s Cybersecurity Career Studies Certificate program, which began in October 2016. The college has been designated by EC-Council as an Accredited Training Center, or ATC.  Benefits of the partnership include access to industry-leading certifications at no cost to students and discounted trainings for faculty. MECC cybersecurity faculty already hold some of EC-Council’s more competitive distinctions including the Certified Ethical Hacker and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certifications.

“This is a big step for our program,” said Nasser Maskoud, Associate Professor in MECC’s Business and Information Technology division and one of the cybersecurity program’s lead faculty. “EC-Council’s certifications are very helpful in making sure students are prepared for today’s competitive IT-based job market, but these trainings can also be quite costly. With this partnership, we can offer these trainings to students at little or even no cost to them.”  

MECC is currently accepting Fall 2018 semester applications for its Cybersecurity Career Studies Certificate program. For more information, visit or call Ashvin Raj at 276.523.2400, ext. 261.            


Mountain Empire Community College to Host 2018 Job Expo

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will hold its 2018 Job Expo on Monday, April 2 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Goodloe Center, Phillips-Taylor Hall. More than 30 regional employers will be represented, with an estimated 90% of participants indicating they have current open positions.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a resume and dress professionally. Employers attending this year’s event include Crutchfield, Eastman Chemical Company, Ballad Health, Virginia State Police, Wallens Ridge State Prison, USP Lee, LogistiCare, The Lane Group, England, Inc. and many more.

For more information on MECC’s 2018 Job Expo, contact Beth Boggs, Career and Transfer Counselor, at 276.523.2400 ext. 324 or, or visit


John Fox Jr. Festival Rescheduled for April 16

The John Fox Jr. Festival, originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at MECC, has been rescheduled to Monday, April 16 at 10 a.m. in the MECC Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center.  Individuals who purchased lunch tickets and who are not able to attend the rescheduled date should call 276.523.7466 for refund information. 

MECC Joins Pledge to Assist Entrepreneurs

NACCE signing

NACCE signing

Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College has pledged to join the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) in promoting and assisting entrepreneurial opportunities in Southwest Virginia. 

The college joined Big Sandy Community College in Pikeville, Kentucky, in signing the NACCE’s Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge (PFEP). MECC President Kristen Westover along with Sherry Zylka of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) signed the PFEP pledge together during a recent ceremony in Pikeville. Area high school students, teachers and education officials participated in the event.

In taking the pledge, college presidents commit to five action steps aimed at advancing entrepreneurship in the classroom and in their communities. The action steps range from creating and expanding internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship, to increasing entrepreneurs’ engagement in community colleges and spurring innovation and job creation.

“Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial spirit are vital to the continued success of our region,” said Dr. Kristen Westover, MECC President. “Through the creation and support of existing entrepreneurs, MECC is committed to the expansion of entrepreneurial strategies to create new businesses, add opportunities for the region, and create conditions for a flourishing economy. Working with NACCE, we have the opportunity to apply proven methods to enhance entrepreneurial spirit and activity in our community.”

“The PFEP is a helpful tool for community college presidents who are seeking to embrace an entrepreneurial culture and mindset at their colleges,” said Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D., president and CEO of NACCE. “Signing the PFEP symbolizes their commitment to leveraging assets and maximizing entrepreneurial opportunities in their local communities and through the NACCE network.”

MECC and BSCTC share a common service area and similar demographics and are participants in the EntreEd program, which provides entrepreneurship curriculum for K-12 students. The two colleges are also recipients of Appalachian Regional Commission Power grants, which assists with retraining opportunities for laid-off coal miners and their families. The two presidents have vowed to work together to explore mutually beneficial collaborations.

NACCE is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs focused on igniting entrepreneurship in their communities and campuses. NACCE has two main goals: to empower college leaders to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset and to grow the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem. NACCE has over 330 member colleges, representing nearly 2,000 members and approximately 3.3 million students.

For more information, visit or

MECC Foundation to Host Benefit For Sue Ella Boatright-Wells Mountain Music School Memorial Scholarship

The Black Lillies

Big Stone Gap – The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will host a special benefit featuring internationally-acclaimed musical group The Black Lillies on Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m. in the Goodloe Center.

Tickets for the event are $25 and can be purchased online at All proceeds from the event will benefit the Sue Ella Boatright-Wells Mountain Music School Memorial Scholarship. Backdraft Barbecue (food truck) will be available on campus for food purchases.

Sue Ella Boatright-Wells served as the Dean of Workforce Development for Mountain Empire Community College for 39 years. She touched hundreds of lives in her efforts to keep the culture and traditions of the Southwest Virginia region alive and growing, serving as a tireless advocate for workforce programs in Southwest Virginia. Sue Ella, who passed away in July of 2016, was the primary coordinator of the Home Craft Days Festival, was instrumental in the development of MECC’s Mountain Music School, and the Wise County and Scott County Jams afterschool program.

The scholarship, named in her honor, supports students who wish to attend the Mountain Music School one-week event held annually during the fourth week in July. Located in Big Stone Gap, Va., the school provides opportunities for students age 10 and up to experience traditional old-time music with fun and supportive instruction. Students may select an instrument and skill level of their choice, including beginning and advanced “old-time” fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, and dog house bass. A limited number of instruments are available for loan for the week. In addition, those with intermediate and advanced skills can participate in an optional string-band class. Dance and sing along at daily concerts featuring some of the region’s most gifted old-time musicians. To learn more or to enroll, visit

With four albums under their belts, The Black Lillies have been a mainstay on radio and album sales charts, winning praise from outlets including American Songwriter, Rolling Stone, NPR, CMT, Wall Street Journal and Billboard.  With their blend of folk, soul, red dirt country, blue and rock, The Black Lillies have enthralled audiences at festivals including Bonnaroo Music + Arts, New Orleans Jazz Fest, MerleFest, Stagecoach, CMA Fest & Fan Fair, and Pickathon. Equally at home on theatre stages and in rock clubs, they were one of the first independent bands to play the Grand Ole Opry and have since returned dozens of times.

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit


-MECC Foundation

MECC Offers Health & Fitness Course

Big Stone Gap — Are you interested in improving your eating habits and personal wellness? Mountain Empire Community College will offer HLT 138 – Principles of Nutrition as a one-credit online course beginning October 18. Students will study the nutrient components of food, including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. The course will provide a behavioral approach to nutrient guidelines for the development and maintenance of optimum wellness. Senior citizens may qualify for a tuition waiver for this course. For more information or to enroll, call 276.523.7474. 

MECC Offers 8-Week Accelerated Courses 

Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College will offer a variety of accelerated 8-week course offerings this spring. Classes begin March 12 and include online and on-campus offerings. Topics in accounting, small business taxes, art, business, management, economics, medical terminology, computers & computer programming, cybersecurity, fitness, customer service, CPR, and psychology will be offered. Senior citizens may qualify for a tuition waiver for these classes. For more information, or to register, visit or call 276.523.7474.  

MECC Foundation to Honor the Late Mr. William Kenneth Gilley and Mrs. Thelma Sorah Gilley at Annual Hall of Honor Gala event

Ken and Thelma Gilley

Ken and Thelma Gilley

Big Stone Gap, VA – The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will honor the late Mr. Ken Gilley and Mrs. Thelma Sorah Gilley at the annual Hall of Honor Gala on Saturday evening, April 21, 2018.

The gala theme is “Music of the Mountains,” and proceeds from the event will benefit the Gilley-Sorah Hall of Honor Mountain Music School Endowed Scholarship at MECC. Mountain Music School, held annually during the summer, draws many local and out-of-state students to the one-week program that carries on the rich musical heritage of our region.

The Gilleys will be recognized for their support of Mountain Empire Community College and their service to the region. They have been strong proponents of higher education in southwest Virginia, providing financial support to MECC. The Gilleys have created two scholarships, the William Kenneth Gilley Memorial Scholarship for Mountain Music School, and the Gilley-Sorah Endowed Scholarship, which was created along with their son, Michael, and Thelma’s sister, Shirley Walborn. Additionally, Mrs. Gilley was involved in establishing the East Stone Gap Tigers Scholarship at MECC.

The Gilleys were also active in civic organizations and volunteered in the community. Mr. Gilley worked for Norfolk Southern Railway for 41 years, and was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners. Mrs. Gilley worked for the Virginia Division of Mines in Big Stone Gap, the Social Security Office in Norton, and retired from the Department of Labor as supervisor of the Black Lung Office in Norton. She also served as a negotiator for the local AFL-CIO. After their retirement, the Gilleys enjoyed taking classes at MECC and especially enjoyed participating in Mountain Music School.

The evening will begin with a reception in the Slemp Commons of Phillips-Taylor Hall at 6 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner in the Goodloe Center at 6:45 p.m. A short recognition program will follow dinner, and musical entertainment by mountain music artists and bands will follow. Musicians will include Mountain Music School instructors, Chris Rose, Richard Phillips, Steve Souther, Joey O’Quinn, Sarah Kate Morgan, and Larry Mullins.  The evening will also feature some Mountain Music School students.

Event sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit for more information.

Tickets to the April 21 Gala event are $75 each and may be purchased by calling the MECC Foundation office at 276-523-7466 or by visiting the MECC Foundation website at

Tickets may also be purchased by mail by sending a check to MECC Foundation, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA, 24219, Please make checks payable to MECC Foundation and indicate in the memo section of your check “Gilley-Sorah Hall of Honor Mountain Music School Scholarship.”

If you have questions, or need additional information about the event, please contact the MECC Foundation Office at 276-523-7466, or e-mail Jeri Bledsoe at

MECC Offers Small Business Tax Course

MECC will offer ACC 134 – Small Business Taxes as on online course beginning March 12. The course will introduce students to taxes most frequently encountered in business. It includes payroll, sales, property, and income tax. The instructor for the course is John Bledsoe. For more information, or to register, call MECC’s Enrollment Services Office at 276.523.7474.

MECC To Host Surface Mine Retraining Course

Big Stone Gap, Va. — MECC will offer a continuing education class for  Surface Retraining on Saturday, February 17th. The class will be held in Phillips-Taylor Hall Room 231 from 7 am to 4 pm. The class will be instructed by Greg Baker. The class registration fee is $50. For more information or to register, contact the Center for Workforce Development at 276.523.2400 ext. 372 or 225.

MECC Foundation to Host 42nd Annual John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival & Lonesome Pine Short-Story and Poetry Contests

Big Stone Gap, VA — The MECC Foundation is pleased to announce the 42nd annual

John Fox, Jr. Literary Festival, featuring a presentation by guest author Sharyn McCrumb, on Wednesday, March 21 at 10 the Goodloe Center of Phillips-Taylor Hall.  

In coordination with the festival event, the MECC Foundation will host the 31st Annual Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest and the 14th Annual Lonesome Pine Poetry Contest.

Individuals interested in obtaining guidelines for submitting short story and poetry contest entries should contact Brandi McAfee in the MECC Foundation Office at (276) 523-7466. The deadline for submitting entries is Wednesday, February 28 at 4:30 p.m. Entry categories include adult, high school (grades 9 through 12), and middle school (grades 5 through 8) categories. Contest rules are available on the MECC Foundation website at  Winners of the contest will be announced during the Literary Festival Event.

Sharyn McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times Best Sellers: The Ballad of Tom Dooley, She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket. Her current novel The Unquiet Grave is a well-researched history of West Virginia’s Greenbrier Ghost.

In 2014, Sharyn McCrumb was awarded the Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Southern Literature by North Carolina’s Chowan University. Named a “Virginia Woman of History” in 2008 for Achievement in Literature, she was a guest author at the National Festival of the Book in Washington, D.C. in 2006. In April 2017, the national DAR named her a “Woman in the Arts” for literary achievement. In November 2017, the West Virginia Library Association presented Sharyn McCrumb with their Award of Merit for Contributions to Appalachian Literature.

McCrumb’s other honors include: AWA Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award; the Chaffin Award for Southern Literature; the Plattner Award for Short Story; and AWA’s Best Appalachian Novel. She was named “Best Mountain Writer 2013” by Blue Ridge Country Magazine. A graduate of UNC- Chapel Hill, with an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech, McCrumb was the first writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee. In 2005, she was honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College.

Books will be available to purchase and for author signing. The John Fox, Jr. Festival will be followed by a reservation-only luncheon with the featured speaker at the John Fox, Jr. Museum in Big Stone Gap. Tickets for the luncheon are $23 per person and reservations can be made by calling the MECC Foundation office at 276.523.7466.

For more information on the MECC Foundation or the event, please visit our website at

-MECC Foundation-

MECC to Offer Accounting Courses

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer several accounting classes this spring designed for students with beginning to intermediate experience in the field.

ACC 211 – Principles of Accounting I introduces accounting principles with respect to financial reporting and focuses on the preparation of accounting information and its use in the operation of organizations, as well as methods of analysis and interpretation of accounting information.

ACC 212 – Principles of Accounting II introduces accounting principles with respect to cost and managerial accounting while focusing on the application of accounting information with respect to product costing, as well as its use within the organization to provide direction and to judge performance. ACC 222 – Intermediate Accounting II continues accounting principles and theory with emphasis on accounting for fixed assets, intangibles, corporate capital structure, long-term liabilities, and investments.

ACC 231 – Cost Accounting I studies cost accounting methods and reporting as applied to job order, process, and standard cost accounting systems. ACC 261 – Principles of Federal Taxation presents the study of federal taxation as it relates to individuals and other related entities and includes tax planning, compliance and reporting.

Pre-requisite courses are required for ACC 212, 222, 231 and 261. Classes begin January 10 and students are encouraged to register early. Financial aid may be available for qualified applicants. For more information on these courses, or to enroll, call MECC’s Business and Information Technology Division at 276.523.2400 ext. 462.



MECC Receives $15,000 from Dominion Energy for Veterans Programs

Dominion Energy Grant

Pictured left to right: Bill Murray, vice president of State and Electric Public Policy; Bonnie Elosser, MECC Foundation Interim Director; Dr. Kristen Westover, MECC President; and Mark Kuhn, station director at the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center.

Big Stone Gap, Va. – Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) was awarded $15,000 today to help provide educational opportunities for military veterans in the region. The gifts are being made through the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Energy.

MECC President Dr. Kristen Westover and MECC Foundation Interim Director Bonnie Elosser received the donations Tuesday at Dominion Energy’s Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) in St. Paul, Va.

“Mountain Empire Community College is extremely grateful to Dominion Energy for this generous gift that will support veterans in expanding their education and training needs,” said Dr. Kristen Westover, MECC President.  “The timing of this gift also coincides with the unveiling of the new Virginia Community College System Veteran’s Education and Career Exploration Portal (VECEP), an online portal designed to assist students in aligning prior learning and military educational background with college credit to help them complete a college certificate or degree.”

MECC was among three community colleges in the region chosen to receive such a grant, which will benefit educational and career training initiatives aimed at helping current and former military service members reenter the civilian workforce.

Bill Murray, Dominion’s vice president of state & electric public policy, and Mark Kuhn, director of power generation at VCHEC, presented the checks to the MECC representatives at a small ceremony held at the power station.

“Our veterans have faithfully served our nation, and this is another way Dominion Energy can show its thanks and appreciation. These men and women have returned from military service and are now integrating themselves into civilian life. We’re proud to be a part of helping veterans in Southwest Virginia achieve their academic and career goals,” noted Dominion’s Kuhn.

Specifically, MECC plans to use the donation to help with scholarships and other services to support veterans in their education and career training endeavors. The community college’s chapter of Student Veterans of America provides peer support and mentoring for veterans and their families.

MECC is greatly appreciative of the efforts Dominion Energy has made to support veterans in our communities. As a founding partner of the national Troops to Energy Jobs program, the company actively helps military members find rewarding careers in the energy industry. Currently, one in five new hires at Dominion Energy is a veteran, and about 11 percent of the company’s more than 16,000 employees are veterans.

Mountain Empire Community College is a comprehensive two-year college serving residents of Lee, Scott, Wise, and Dickenson Counties, and the City of Norton. For more information on MECC and the college’s degree programs, visit or call 276.523.2400.




Nominations Sought for 2018 MECC Outstanding Alumnus Award

Big Stone Gap – The Mountain Empire Community College Alumni and Friends Advisory Committee is seeking nominations for the 2018 MECC Outstanding Alumnus Award.

The award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to one or more areas including their professional, academic, and personal achievements, civic service, or service to MECC.

All living MECC alumni who have completed at least one class at MECC are eligible to be nominated and considered for the award. Self-nominations are also welcome. Current members of the MECC Local Advisory Board and the MECC Foundation Board of Directors, current faculty and staff of the college, and members of the MECC Alumni and Friends Advisory Committee are not eligible to receive the award.

The nomination form is available online on college’s website at or the MECC Foundation website, There is no limit to the number of nominations that one may submit. The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2018.

A subcommittee of the MECC Alumni and Friends Advisory Committee will select the winner of the award and the winner will be announced at the annual Scholars’ Recognition Night banquet scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

 For questions, please contact Jeri Bledsoe at 276.523.2400, extension 287, or by e-mail at

-MECC Foundation-





MECC to Offer Advanced First Aid Recertification Course

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer an Advanced First Aid Recertification class on Saturday, December 16 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The class will be led by Instructor Greg Baker. The cost is $40. For more information, contact MECC’s Workforce Development Office at 276.523.2400 ext. 372 or 255.

MECC to Offer New Theatre Appreciation Course

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer CST 141 — Theatre Appreciation as an online course this spring. The class will introduce students to play production and performance. The course will cover stage design, casting and characters, light and sound concerns, makeup and costume design, script writing, and adaptation. Early western theatre through modern theatre will be discussed. For more information, contact Dr. Joel Bailey at For more information on enrolling in the course, call MECC’s Enrollment Services Office at 276.523.7474.

MECC Offers Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer the opportunity for students to enroll in a Certified Nursing Assistant Program in spring 2018.

This cohort program will be held on the Mountain Empire Community College campus Saturdays from 8: 30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from January 20 to April 14. An information session to learn more about the program will be held on Monday, December 11 at 5 p.m. at MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall Room 115.

For more information on MECC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, or to enroll, contact Arietta Harvey at or by phone at 276.523.7456.



MECC to Offer Scott County Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will offer the opportunity for students to enroll in a Certified Nursing Assistant Program in Gate City beginning in December.

This special cohort program will be held at the Scott County Career and Technical Center on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and two additional Saturdays beginning December 4 through March 28. The cohort will be led by Instructor Farrah Lane. An information session on the program will be held Monday, November 6 at 5 p.m. at the Scott County Career and Technical Center.  Those interested in enrolling are encouraged to attend.

For more information on MECC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, or to enroll, contact Arietta Harvey at or by phone at 276.523.7456.




MECC to Hold Annual MECC PROUD Week

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will host the fourth annual MECC PROUD week, recognizing the college’s important contributions to higher education and regional economic development October 16-22.

 MECC alumni, local businesses, MECC staff members, MECC students and community members are encouraged to display “MECC PROUD” signs in their yard, window displays, and vehicles. “MECC PROUD” signage will be distributed to local businesses by the MECC Student Diplomats. Signs and decals will be available to the public in the lobby of all MECC instructional buildings and at the MECC Alumni Booth during the Home Craft Days Festival, October 21 and 22. Businesses may also email a request for MECC PROUD signage to Signs will be offered at no cost.

The goal of the “MECC Proud” campaign is to recognize the success and continued contributions of thousands of MECC graduates to our region and beyond, while also promoting the college’s role in providing educational opportunities and supporting economic development in Southwest Virginia since its founding in 1972.

MECC hosts an alumni recognition program with a goal to expand and update contact and career information of all graduates and former students. Alumni are encouraged to email their updated information to 

The “MECC Proud” campaign will coincide with MECC’s Home Craft Days Festival, to be held Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22. The college will host thousands of local and out of town visitors to the campus during the festival events, creating a unique opportunity to showcase support for the college and the community. 

For more information on MECC Proud week, contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276.523.7480.



MECC Named Aspen Institute Top 150 U.S. Community Colleges, Eligible for 2019 Aspen Prize

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College is pleased to announce the college has been selected by The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The Aspen Prize is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. With a singular focus on student success, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

“I knew Mountain Empire Community College had strong student success metrics when I chose serve as the President. MECC values and measures student performance related to learning outcomes, progression through academic programs, success in completing credentials, and ensuring those outcomes are equitable across diverse sectors of our student population.  I am excited that the college has been recognized for our exceptional outcomes that empower citizens for better lives,” said Dr. Kris Westover, President at MECC.

The 150 community colleges named as eligible to compete for the 2019 Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 300 students and as many as 95,000 students, the colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector. For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions, visit:  

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC, whose mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses.

According to the Aspen Institute, higher education attainment has never been more important. Estimates from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce suggest that out of the 11.6 million jobs created in the postrecession economy, 11.5 million require at least some college education. The vast majority of students who enroll in community colleges do so because they believe that postsecondary education will provide them a path to rewarding work, stable employment, and family-sustaining wages.  

“Especially in the current social and economic climate, it is exceptionally important that our nation’s community colleges develop the diverse talent needed to fuel democratic engagement, social mobility, and economic opportunity and growth,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition we’re working to inspire other institutions across our country to ensure more students succeed in college and their lives beyond those campuses.”

The top ten finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2018. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019. To read more on the selection process, visit:   

Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence include: Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, South Dakota (2017); Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida (2015); co-winners Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, California and Walla Walla Community College in Walla Walla, Washington (2013); and Valencia College in Orlando, Florida (2011 inaugural Prize winner).

For more information, visit   For more information about MECC, it’s programs and how to apply, visit or call 276.523.2400.






MECC to Host Information Session on Power Lineman Program

Mountain Empire Community College will host an information session on Thursday, October 12 at 1 p.m. in Dalton Cantrell Hall Room 242 for those interested in enrolling in the college’s Power Lineman Program. The Power Line Worker Program is a 15-week course that trains workers for careers in the power/cable industry. Applicants must weigh less than 270 lbs., be in good physical condition, have a valid driver’s license, and pass a DOT Physical/Drug Test. The class will be held on MECC’s Big Stone Gap campus and in the former National Guard Armory in Big Stone Gap, Monday through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., beginning November 2017. For more information, contact Lee Davis at 276.523.2400 ext. 211 or by email at

MECC Haunted Forest Presents Voodoo Curses

Big Stone Gap – The Mountain Empire Community College campus will come alive with spirits, curses, and sacrifices this October as the college hosts the annual Haunted Forest every Friday and Saturday from 7 – 11 p.m., Oct. 6 – 27. 
When the nights grow longer and the leaves start to change in the chill of autumn air, the woods take on a sinister tone. As the barrier between this world and the spirit world grows thinner, the true inhabitants of the forest come out until the whole campus is crawling alive … with the dead. 
MECC’s Haunted Forest was recently voted one of Virginia’s top ten haunted attractions by The Scare Factor, available at
Admission is $10 per victim. All proceeds will go to benefit scholarships for MECC students. This event is recommended for ages 10 and up. This is an outdoor event and guests are asked to wear appropriate shoes and clothing. 

MECC Hosts 46th Annual Home Craft Days Festival

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will once again welcome thousands of visitors to the campus this fall for the 46th Annual Home Craft Days Festival held Oct. 20-22.

Celebrating the rich music, culture, and artistry of Southwest Virginia, the Home Craft Days Festival features two full days of concerts, craft vendors, and demonstrations of weaving, pottery making, grist milling, wood crafting, basket weaving, broom making, quilting, tatting and more.

Heading this year’s free Friday night concert are the ETSU Old Time Pride Band, Dale Jett and Hello Stranger, and Sigean. The concert will begin at 6 p.m. in MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center.

According to festival coordinator Mike Gilley, “This annual festival is a homecoming, a chance for family and friends to gather and share our cultural heritage. We are excited to showcase the best of the region’s music, crafts, and food!”

Craft and food vendors will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s music schedule includes featured performers: Todd Meade and Family, Tommy Bledsoe, The Scott County Boys, Sigean, The Railsplitters With Center Stage Cloggers, Jimmy and Ada McCowan, the Empty Bottle String Band With Center Stage Cloggers, New Harvest Brothers, The Sheets Family Band, Anndrenea Belcher & The Wild Boys, Whitetop Mountain Band With Center Stage Cloggers, Kay Justice, Town Branch Bluegrass, Scott County JAM, Wise County JAM, Sycamore Holler, Corbin Hayslett & Saro Lynch (Ravens & Wrens), Brandon Maggard, Joy Blair, Danny Whited and Friends of Bluegrass, Kelsey Ray Copeland, The Childress Family, Jack Wright and Roger Hall, Jack Beck and Wendy Welch.

Sunday’s performers include: Glenn Roberts, Pam Randolph and Doug Dorschug, Angie Debord, The Crooked Road Ramblers With Center Stage Cloggers, Poplar Hill Reunion, Bill and the Belles, Roan Mountain Moonshiners, Grayson Ridge Runners With Center Stage Cloggers, Smith Family Singers, John Haywood, Sons of Liberty, Richard Phillips & Friends, Ms. Ellie’s String Band, Rich Kirby and Nate Polly, Lee Sexton, Sulphur Spring String Dippers, Eric McMurray and Friends, Ron Short and The Possum Playboys, Nancy and Bill Smith.

Admission is FREE to all the festival events. MECC is located on US Route 23 just south of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Parking and shuttles for the festival will be offered at five locations in Big Stone Gap. Shuttle rides are $1 per person at boarding. Locations include:

  • Union High School (formerly Powell Valley High School) – Front Parking Lot
  • Curbside, Wood Ave, in Front of Food City
  • Curbside, Municipal Parking Lot behind Post Office/Federal Building
  • Country Inn
  • Comfort Inn

Volunteers are needed to assist with festival set-up, refreshments, clean-up and more. If you’d like to volunteer your time, please visit

For more information on the event, including a detailed schedule of vendors and musicians, visit the Home Craft Days website at


MECC Offers Free Quick Start to College Course

Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College offers a free Quick Start to College class designed for individuals who have considered college, but have hesitated to enroll.

Covering just five weeks, the course allows students the opportunity to obtain three college credits without having to enroll for a full semester at no cost. To qualify, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).

The first week of the course will include an orientation to the basics of college life. Students will be able to learn how to find offices and classes on campus, use Blackboard, and MECC email. Career counseling sessions will also be included so that students can learn more about MECC program offerings that best fit their interests.

The next two weeks will cover computer basics including using Word and saving documents to flash drives. The final two weeks of the course will focus on math and English. Students will be able to freshen up on important basics that will help them take or retake the Math and English placement tests.

 The Fall 2017 Quick Start program will be offered:

  • Monday & Wednesday afternoons (2:30pm – 4:00 pm) October 9 – November 8
  • October 9 & 11 – Orientation and Career Options
  • October 16 & 18 – Computer Skills
  • October 23 & 25 – Computer Skills
  • October 30 & November 1 – Math Skills
  • November 6 & 8 – English Skills

For more information or to enroll, contact Beth Boggs at 276.523.7438 or visit

MECC Foundation to Host Scott County Scholarship Event

Gate City, VAThe Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will host a fundraising event for the Scott County Endowed Scholarship on Thursday, September 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Scott County Career and Technical Center in Gate City. 

The event theme is “Mardi Gras.” Patrons will enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and entertainment by “Time Further Out,” a jazz band from the Tri-Cities area. The band’s repertoire consists mostly of jazz standards from the 1920s to the 1960s, with a few other genres mixed in.

Tickets for the event are $30 and sponsorships are available for a gift of any amount. For tickets, or to sponsor the event, contact Jeri Bledsoe in the MECC Foundation office at 276.523.2400, extension 287, or by e-mail at

Gifts to the Scott County Endowed Scholarship are fully tax-deductible. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund may give online by going to the MECC Foundation webpage,, and clicking on the red “Make A Gift” button located at top right of the page. Gifts may also be mailed to MECC Foundation, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219. Please note in the memo section that the funds are for the Scott County Endowed Scholarship.

For more information about the event, check the MECC Foundation web page at

-MECC Foundation-

MECC to Offer Driver Improvement Classes

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College is pleased to offer Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles-approved Driver Improvement Clinics beginning this October.

Classes will meet on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on MECC’s campus. The cost of the course is $75. The 2017-18 class schedule is as follows:

  • October 14, 2017
  • November 18, 2017
  • January 20, 2018
  • February 17, 2018
  • March 17, 2018
  • April 21, 2018
  • May 19, 2018
  • June 16, 2018

To register for the class, visit and click “Workforce Solutions” to access the non-credit registration form. You can also register at MECC’s Workforce Development Office, located in Phillips-Taylor Hall, Suite 208, or call 276.523.2400 ext. 372 or 225.



MECC to Hold Meet & Greet Sessions with President Kristen Westover

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will hold a series of “Meet and Greet” sessions with President Kristen Westover this fall.

Dr. Westover will be soliciting feedback on the future vision and mission of the college. Students, staff, alumni, community members, and business leaders are invited to attend. Participants are asked to pre-register by visiting and selecting one of the scheduled events.

  • MECC Campus – Goodloe Center Monday, September 11, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 
    3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA  24219
  • Town of Pennington Gap Community Center
    Monday, September 25, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 41670 West Morgan Ave, Pennington Gap, VA 24277
  • Scott County Career & Technical Center Auditorium
    Monday, October 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 387 Broadwater Ave., Gate City, VA 24251
  • J.I. Burton High School Auditorium
    Tuesday, October 17, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 109 11th Street SW, Norton, VA  24273
  • Ridgeview High School Auditorium
    Wednesday, October 18, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 310 Wolfpack Way, Clintwood, VA  24228

For more information, contact Peggy Gibson, Administrative Assistant, at 276.523.7490 or by email at





MECC Foundation holds Alumni and Friends Talent Show Event

Big Stone Gap – The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation welcomes all alumni and friends to campus for “Southwest Virginia’s Got Talent,” the 2017 alumni and friends event on Saturday, October 14 at 6 p.m. in the Goodloe Center of Phillips-Taylor Hall on the MECC campus. The event is sponsored by Norton Community Hospital and Edward Jones Investments.

The evening will begin with delicious hors d’oeurves at the reception at 6 p.m. in the Slemp Commons, providing patrons an opportunity to reconnect with friends, former classmates, current and former faculty. The talent show will begin at 6:45 p.m. Audience members will choose the winners of this Talent Show with each audience member receiving one voting ballot. When all acts have performed, the audience will submit their votes, then enjoy coffee and dessert while the votes are being counted.

Family-friendly performances of all types are welcome. The Entry Form, containing the complete rules and regulations for entering the contest, is available on the MECC Foundation website,  Entrants must e-mail a video for pre-judging. The deadline for submitting videos to be considered for the show is Friday, September 22. From the video submissions, a subcommittee of the Alumni Advisory Committee will select ten acts to advance to the final contest at the event. First, second, and third place winners will be awarded with cash prizes of $500, $250, and $100 respectively.

Tickets to the event are $5 each, and guests are asked to purchase them at a link on the MECC Foundation website, as well. For questions, or for those who do not have access to a computer, please call Jeri Bledsoe, event coordinator, at 276-523-2400, extension 287, for assistance or tickets.

-MECC Foundation-

Sen. Mark Warner to Visit MECC for Drone Demo Day

Big Stone Gap — Senator Mark Warner will visit Mountain Empire Community College on Tuesday, August 15 at 2:30 p.m. in Dalton-Cantrell Hall for a discussion and demonstration of MECC’s innovative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program. Launched in 2015, the UAV program at MECC — the first of its kind in Virginia — has opened up new frontiers and job opportunities in southwest Virginia. Through the program, MECC has placed itself at the forefront of a growing industry as students gain the skills to maintain, design, fabricate, and fly drones.  

Sen. Warner has been a strong supporter of research and investment in unmanned systems, including driverless cars, drones, and unmanned submersibles. Virginia is home to one of six FAA-approved sites across the country where researchers are testing the safest and most effective ways to incorporate UAV into the existing airspace.

Sen. Warner will join representatives from MECC and Dominion Power, which uses UAVs to monitor and maintain its systems, to discuss the program. Senator Warner will also provide remarks on his work with UAVs in Washington. Event participants will then move outside for a demonstration to “test drive” some of the UAVs.