Type your search keyword, and press enter

Warner Memorial Scholarship makes difference for nursing student

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation is proud to announce the first recipient of the Michael E. Warner Memorial Scholarship, which was established in honor of a longtime member of its Board of Directors.

The scholarship was initiated by Roanoke businessman Geoffrey M. Ottaway, who sought to honor his friendship with Warner after he passed away in 2013. In subsequent years, the Warner family and the Educational Foundation hosted a golf tournament at Hunting Hills Country Club that benefited the scholarship fund.

Erika Buck of Roanoke was named the first recipient of the Warner scholarship, which covers all costs for tuition, books and other related fees for a full-time student with a minimum 3.0 GPA enrolled in and pursuing a degree in Nursing or certificate in Practical Nursing at Virginia Western. Buck is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Nursing (RN) degree and maintains a 3.89 GPA.

A nontraditional student, Buck worked as a phlebotomist full time while attended the College to complete her nursing program prerequisites. Her goal is to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and ultimately specialize as a critical care nurse.

“Thanks to this scholarship, I’m one step closer to achieving my goal,” Buck said. “I’m excited to finish and become a nurse.”

Warner’s widow, Carolyn, said the scholarship honors the healthcare workers who assisted her husband when he became ill. “I was so taken with the nurses who took care of my husband,” she said. “I think Mike would be happy, too, knowing that this scholarship was now available.”

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.


Join us for “I Persist” panel discussion on Feb. 5

Virginia Western Community College invites the public to attend a free discussion, I Persist, where panelists will share inspiring stories of how they overcame obstacles to gain their education and build fulfilling careers and lives.

Members of the panel will share their journey, answer questions and interact members of the audience.  The purpose of the event is to motivate students early who may feel alone or contemplating whether or not school is for them. By connecting students with the panel of individuals who have shared similar experiences will encourage and provide the confidence to persist and overcome their challenges to succeed academically.


I Persist panel discussion


10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 5


Whitman Theater, Virginia Western Campus (Directions and parking)


Anita Price – Vice Mayor, City of Roanoke; Virginia Western Alum
Annette Lewis – School Board Member, City of Roanoke
Elvir Berbic – Students Affairs Manager, Virginia Tech; Virginia Western Alum
Tracey Giordano – Culinary Arts graduate and Military Veteran; Virginia Western Alum
Cheryl Cunningham – Educator, Staff Technologist at Carilion Clinic; Virginia Western Alum


Bianca Holman – WDBJ7 Reporter

For more information on the I Persist panel, please contact James Cabiness, Roanoke City CCAP Success Coach, at 540-857-6644 or jcabiness@virginiawestern.edu.