About this project

What makes the people at TCC interesting?

For some, it’s what they are doing here, either as students or employees. For others, it’s what they want to achieve in the world after school. And many of them made enormous strides — and are still making them — to get this far.

The Reporting II class on NE Campus set out to answer this question and came back with 28 interesting stories to tell. Let us know what you think. Thanks.


Brianna Blackwell

Brianna Blackwell packed her bags last year to head out to Aggieland.

As a Grand Prairie native, she began taking dual credit courses from SE Campus in 2006. Dual credit students earn both high school and college credit for a particular course completed successfully before graduation from high school.

The courses are taken at any TCC campus and in some cases held at local high schools. Early high school enrollment students take courses for college credit in addition to their high school courses. The number of early high school enrollment students increased by hundreds in the last three years.

Currently a full-time Texas A&M student, Blackwell is taking six TCC credit hours online. She is enrolled in 13 credit hours on campus at A&M as well for a total of 19 hours.

“I like how all the classes I have taken at TCC are somewhat small. At A&M, many of my classes have more than 200 students in lecture,” Blackwell said.

Laura Becerra

Forensic psychology is not a popular major, but for Laura Becerra, it is her passion.

Growing up in Bogota, Colombia, a city of 7 million people, she was no stranger to crime.

Forensic psychology is the investigating of why people commit crimes. Two main aspects are researching and profiling. It also includes talking to criminals to diagnose whether they are clinically insane or not.

Switching majors from nursing to forensic psychology was the due to watching the ‘Mentalist’ and deciding to do some research on it.

Becerra’s future plan is to transfer her TCC credits to UTA and graduate in the spring of 2012. After some work experience, she wants to work for the district attorney’s office and later for the U.S. government.

Kristin Vinson-Wright

As coordinator of Trinity River Campus’ career and employment services office, Kristin Vinson-Wright is responsible for helping students find work whether it be as student assistants, work-study employees or full-time work in the private sector.

“I enjoy working at TRC in career and employment services because I get an opportunity to help encourage students and community members with their career goals,” Vinson-Wright said.

Kristin earned her B.A. in Public Relations from Hampton University. She is a member of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist church, and she is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Fort Worth Links.

Her favorite motto: “I would rather attempt to do something great and fail, than to do nothing and succeed.”

When she is not busy helping jobseekers, the recently wed Kristin and her husband Tim enjoy traveling and hosting cookouts and dinner parties.

Jeremiah Williams

While most guys his age are hanging in the mall to meet girls, doing death-defying stunts on skateboards or dribbling basketball, 18-year-old Jeremiah Williams can usually be found on the dance floor.

But instead of hip-hop or dirty dancing, you will find Jeremiah serving up some East Coast Swing.

More than five years ago, Williams’ mom introduced him to swing dancing, and he has been hooked ever since. Although these dances are often performed to music from the 1930s and 1940s, Williams says he likes all kinds of music.

“Everything from Jay Z to Neo, to Rachmaninoff and Josh Groban,” he said. But there is at least one genre he is not so crazy about. “Everything except country.”

Williams, who was home-schooled, is in his second semester at Trinity River Campus. He loves math, and his math instructor Mr. Tolbert. Jeremiah plans to become a police officer.

Of his swing dance hobby, he said although the average dancer is older than 40, there are quite a few others in his age group, and they have traveled to California to compete against more than 2,500 dancers at an annual event called Camp Hollywood.

Angel Fernandez

Angel Fernandez is the Associate Professor of art at Trinity River Campus. Fernandez says he loves teaching art in general, and he loves teaching at TRC best of all.

“I love my colleagues, but more than that I love our students,” he said. “They are eager to learn, like dry sponges soaking up knowledge.”

Fernandez was born and raised in Mexico. He has lived in Fort Worth for the past 23 years. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas Wesleyan, he lived in Massachusetts for four years while completing his Master’s at University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth.

When he is not busy helping his students develop their artistic talents, Fernandez is an avid movie buff.

“I collect movies and try to catch most of the good ones at the theater before I purchase the DVD,” he said.

“I also spend alot of time looking at art as well. And I spend time making art, continuing my professional career.”

James Spencer

Hospitals are a safer place because he is there.

NW Campus student James Spencer works as a clinical engineer for Cook Children’s Hospital.

“We are responsible for all routine maintenance and repairs of all the equipment in the building,” Spencer said.

He said 6,000-7,000 pieces of equipment is a large responsibility.

“My son got put into that hospital a year ago,” Spencer said. “Gave me a new perspective. My son is hooked up to this equipment I have been working on.”

He is still going to school, though.

“What I want to really work on is a robotic heart,” Spencer said. “[At work] I want to learn enough about the equipment to internalize it.”

So he plotted years ago to get a job that was connected to his dream, would support his family and let him go to school.

He still has many years and degrees ahead, but he is confident he will at least go somewhere.

“It’s just a goal,” Spencer said. “You aim high.”

Dante Yancey

The economy swamped Dante Yancey’s small businesses, but his is moving on.

Yancey closed his landscaping business in Florida in 2009, but he moved onto other things quickly. He moved closer to family in Texas and went back to school for his civil engineering degree.

The eight-year-old company was still bringing in money when Yancey decided to close the doors, he said.

“I saw business was leaving,” Yancey said.

With a civil engineering degree he can work for the government, homeowners or anyone who is building.

“From idea to practical sense,” is how Yancey described the job. “I already have training on the physical side, I’m getting the managerial side.”

In the meantime, Yancey works as a physical trainer at a gym. Years ago, he got his license.

He did not do anything with it for years but paid the annual $30 to keep it.

“You can never have too many certifications or options,” Yancey said.

Plans for the future are not concrete yet.

“I would not mind having another company,” Yancey said. “But if someone wants to pay me six figures…”

Katie Foster

Katie Foster, a NW Campus student, looks after a boy with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

She drives him to the Special Olympics, horseback and physical therapy sessions and helps with daily tasks like eating and dressing.

“He is 12, but mentally he is between four and six depending on the day,” Foster said.

Some days are difficult. Removal of two parts of his brain left the boy with no impulse control and only able to say a few simple words, though he understands 98 percent of what happens around him.

“His brain and his mouth do not communicate,” Foster said. “The older he gets, the more frustrated he gets with not being able to communicate.”

Frustration and lack of impulse control lead to outbursts of anger.

“When he gets mad, it gets brutal,” Foster said.

But he always feels remorse when he calms down, she said.

She also has to deal with his seizures.

“You have to be stronger than the seizure,” Foster said.

Luckily, his seizures are usually restricted to one limb at a time.

“Working with him has made my patience level go beyond high,” Foster said. “Working with someone who cannot help themselves puts you in superhero mode.”

Jeremy Jones

SE student Jeremy Jones believes online television is the future.

With YouTube’s popularity continually growing, Jones said the chance for young filmmakers to get noticed is high. Last year, Jones decided to start his own film production titled Tiger Milk and even wrote a script for his web series Pirates vs. Ninjas.

Jones said the idea for the web series came from an online debate about who would win in a fight between pirates and ninjas.

“If you Google Pirate vs. Ninja, there is an online argument about who would win in a fight,” he said.

Jones said the debate is silly, which inspired him to write the script and turn the debate into humor.

“I wrote the script kind of poking fun at this subject,” he said.

Jones said people have shorter attention spans when watching television online.

“The thing with the web is that it’s a new frontier,” he said. “So you can’t spoon feed an online audience. You have to give it to them all at once.”

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