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Chef Schopp joins elite company with 4th ACF certification

Virginia Western Community College announces that John Schopp, a faculty member in the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program, was recently awarded the Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) certification by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Now in addition to the CCE, Schopp has the rare distinction of having acquired the Certified Executive Chef (CEC), the Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC) and the Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA).

“I am truly honored to be awarded the CCE,” Schopp said. “The level of education and training that I have earned through the ACF will allow me to help more students follow their passion for cooking to build a strong career in the Roanoke Region.”

The ACF has just over 15,000 members worldwide and 5,200 of those chefs carry at least one certification, with another 5,000 certified chefs that are non-ACF members. Of the 10,200 ACF certified chefs, Schopp is one of only five carry the CCE, CEC, CEPC and the CCA.

The CCE certification is designed to identify advanced-degree culinary chef professionals, with industry experience and inform the public of individuals who have demonstrated a standard of culinary competence and expertise through education, experience, knowledge and skills consistent with the postsecondary culinary educator level.

The CEC affirms a chef’s leadership and ability to excel in managing and motivating employees. A CEC is a skilled, professional chef who manages the kitchen and has demonstrated the knowledge necessary to ensure a safe and pleasurable dining experience by preparing food that is delicious, nutritious and safe to eat. The ACF CEC follows proven business practices ensuring a financially successful operation.

A CEPC is a pastry chef who is a department head, usually responsible to the executive chef of a food operation or to the management of a pastry specialty firm. A CEPC has supervisory responsibility as well as administrative duties.

A CCA is an executive-level chef who is responsible for the administrative functions of running a professional foodservice operation. This culinary professional must demonstrate proficiency in culinary knowledge, human resources, operational management and business planning skills.

To learn more about the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program, please visit: www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/btt/programs/culinary. To learn more about the ACF and it’s certifications, please visit: www.acfchefs.org/.

Biotechnology program earns state-wide honor

Virginia Western Community College’s biotechnology program was honored Tuesday at the State Library of Virginia in Richmond during the Virginia Mathematics & Science Coalition’s Programs that Work awards. The Coalition reviews exemplary programs for which there is evidence of a positive impact on student or teacher learning. Virginia Western was one of only 10 programs to be recognized.

Started in 2015, Virginia Western’s Biotechnology career studies certificate program is designed to help students acquire additional skills to gain employment in the fields of Biotechnology, health sciences, or scientific research.

“We are delighted to be honored for our biotechnology program and it is reconfirmation that this is making a difference for our students,” said Amy White, dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). “We believe that exposing students to advanced level laboratory techniques will open the door for them to high-demand healthcare and science careers in the Roanoke Region.”

The Virginia Mathematics & Science Coalition evaluated proposals based on the extent to which they:

  • Represent innovative, exemplary programs that have proven effective with all students or teachers;
  • Demonstrate the important science concept skills or processes students and teachers learned as a result of the programs; and
  • Document impact on teaching and learning.

White and Assistant Professor Stacie Deaver attended the Programs that Work event in Richmond and shared details of the biotechnology program through a poster presentation to colleagues and state legislators. They showed the impact that gaining additional knowledge in the biotechnology field is having upon students.

“This honor reinforces the hard work and dedication of our faculty to provide relevant and career-advancing educational opportunities for our students,” Deaver said. “The unique inquiry-based learning methods presented to students in these courses provides not only the necessary advanced technical skills, but vital life skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking that will follow them throughout the rest of their lives.”

“I have been really excited about the program all along, especially when I am able to apply my academic knowledge in the practical environment,” said Farzana Rahman, a former biotechnology student. “This program, along with the professor, definitely have encouraged me to believe in ‘the sky is the limit’ if I wish to pursue it. Therefore, I hope to take the vital lessons as a concrete foundation to pursue a field in medical research in the near future.”

To find out more about Virginia Western’s biotechnology and other STEM programs, visit www.virginiawestern.edu/academics or call (855) 874-6690.


Virginia Western’s new STEM Facility taking shape

Despite the snow that blanketed the region last week, construction of Virginia Western Community College’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Facility is progressing at a rapid pace. In the past two weeks, steel beams were installed, giving passersby an idea of the size of what will become the largest building on Virginia Western’s campus.

The STEM Facility will be over 72,000-square feet and feature engineering fabrication, mechatronics, computer, organic chemistry and biotechnology labs along with new classrooms to promote collaborative and interactive STEM learning. The $30-million plus project is slated to be completed by Spring Semester 2019.

“Now more than ever, the Roanoke Region is poised for economic growth in STEM and healthcare-related industries,” President Robert H. Sandel said at a July 2017 groundbreaking ceremony. “This modern learning environment will give our students the technological tools and hands-on training to become leaders in the workforce and drive continued growth.”

Virginia Western is serving the needs of the local economy by growing and developing STEM programs in partnership with businesses that need a highly trained workforce. Companies coming into the region such as Ballast Point Brewery, Deschutes Brewery and Italian auto parts manufacturer Eldor Corporation are seeking graduates who possess the certified skills and problem-solving ability to make their processes efficient.

“We are listening to industry needs and tailoring our programs so we can best serve businesses and our students, who are seeking strong careers in the region,” said Amy White, Dean of STEM. “The creation of this cutting-edge STEM Facility coincides perfectly with the local growth in these high-demand jobs.”

To find out more about Virginia Western’s STEM programs, visit www.virginiawestern.edu/academics or call (855) 874-6690.