Student Support Services recognizes ‘star’ students

Three students have been chosen by Student Support Services at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise as standouts for their academics, character and integrity. This year’s SSS “star” students are Sheila Hamblin, Ed Harris and Gary Johnson.

Sheila Hamblin

Hamblin is a senior administration of justice major from Appalachia. As a first-generation college student, Hamblin received an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. She came back to college in 2005 to pursue her dream of working in criminal justice.

After taking part in the NASA development program at the Wise County Courthouse, she received a certificate in geographical information systems. This opened the door for experience in crime mapping and other pertinent areas in the criminal justice system.

The single mother says Student Support Services has supported her in many different ways including day-to-day support and encouragement. Hamblin hopes her college experience will be inspiring to her children.

“I want them to see that anything can be accomplished,” she says. “Therefore, quitting was not an option for me.”

Hamblin hopes to pursue a master’s degree in GIS through an online program. She hopes to travel and work in the disaster management field.

Ed Harris, a management information systems major from Bristol, will receive his diploma in May. When he walks across the stage, Harris will be thinking of those who have helped him achieve his dream.

Ed Harris

“Without the help of TRiO programs, I would have surely fallen behind the pack during my college career,” says Harris. “Student Support Services has been a fantastic source of advising, resources, workshops, counseling and tutoring.”

Harris says he will have many fond memories of UVa-Wise, including his job with the Office of Information Technology and his trip to China.

Harris aspires to be a college professor. He will attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree and teach at the community college level. He hopes to pursue a doctorate and perhaps teach at UVa-Wise someday.

Student Support Services has been like a family to Gary Johnson. The senior math major from Honaker says he has been provided with great advice and support throughout his college career from his family in the SSS office.

Gary Johnson

Though the beginning of his college career was rocky, with an incompatible roommate and the tendency to procrastinate, Johnson said he learned quickly what he had to do to become a good student.

“Students coming to college should not expect to be the same person that they were in high school. College is a place of change, and students need to be ready to go with the flow,” he says.

Johnson plans to pursue a teaching career in high school mathematics with one of the surrounding counties. He hopes to one day pursue a master’s degree and teach on a collegiate level.

Student Support Services, a part of the TRiO program, helps first generation, low-income students and students with disabilities on the path toward graduation by providing academic support services that introduce them to the college experience and assist them in reaching their academic goals.