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Mayne Pharma welcomes first group of scholars

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During a special reception at Mayne Pharma, PCC students Natasha Thorp, Clemente Rodriguez, Annabel Bivans, Haleigh Combs, Maria Gonzalez and Julianne Haifley, left to right, were introduced as the very first participants in the Mayne Pharma Scholars Program. The event also gave the students and their families a chance to tour the pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.

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By PCC News Service

Sunday, August 25, 2019

WINTERVILLE — Mayne Pharma held a special reception on its Greenville campus this month to introduce the first group of Pitt Community College students selected for participation in the new Mayne Pharma Scholars Program.

Held on Aug. 13, the event gave officials with the pharmaceutical manufacturing company a chance to welcome students Mariela Aguirre, Annabel Bivans, Haleigh Combs, Maria Gonzalez, Julianne Haifley, Clemente Rodrigues and Natasha Thorp to the program and provide them with tours of the Mayne Pharma facility.

“This program is really outstanding,” said Mayne Pharma Quality Control Director Mike Emerson. “We get a lot of great students that come out of Pitt Community College (because) the programs they offer are really centered around the pharmaceutical industry.”

Announced in March, the Mayne Pharma Scholars Program is the result of a partnership between Mayne Pharma, PCC, Pitt County Schools, and the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce.

The program is designed to identify high potential, STEM-focused students and invest in their education toward a career in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically with Mayne Pharma. Students selected for participation receive full scholarships for two years (or eight semesters) to attend PCC.

“We are really thrilled to have these seven (students) go through the program and eventually be part of our organization,” Emerson said. “We feel that with the education they’re getting at Pitt Community College, they’re going to be some of our shining employees.”

Combs, who started the biotechnology program this month, is already looking forward to the day she can officially call herself a Mayne Pharma employee.

“I’m a part of Mayne Pharma; it’s in my blood,” she said with a smile.

Combs said that when she moved to North Carolina from Illinois nearly three years ago, she wasn’t sure college would even be an option. Money was tight, and she feared the possibility of working in a menial job and “living paycheck to paycheck.”

Her outlook changed, though, through participation in PCC’s VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program. Combs said her VISIONS advisors and PCC Biotechnology Department Chairwoman Christy Weeks encouraged her to look into the Mayne Pharma Scholars Program. She did — and she was hooked.

“… I was like, ‘This is exactly what I want to do; this is who I am,’” she said. “… Every day from now on, I’m like, ‘I’m going to work at Mayne Pharma. This is where I’m going to be.’”

As Mayne Pharma Scholars, Combs and her fellow program participants will receive a foundational education through Pitt’s biotechnology curriculum as well as applied skills in laboratory testing procedures and techniques. They will also have an opportunity to work as full-time interns at Mayne Pharma.

Barber school holds annual ’50 Free’ program

Ask PCC Barber School at Altitude Academy Instructor Rodney Bullock about his program’s annual “50 Free Back-to-School” event, and his response will offer a clear indication of his genuine love for community service.

On Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after he and his students provided 82 free haircuts and backpacks loaded with school supplies to children preparing for a new school year, Bullock was still beaming.

“All in all, it was a marvelous outpouring of affection for the kids and our school,” he said. “We gave away backpacks, paper, pens, pencils and markers; we had so many supplies donated that we had a substantial amount left over.”

Started nine years ago in the wake of a national campaign against bullying, “50 Free” is held the week prior to a new school year in Pitt County. The goal, Bullock says, is to provide at least 50 free haircuts and 50 free backpacks to children in grades K-12, so they can head back to the classroom looking their best.

“We had very happy parents (this year),” Bullock said. “Some left to go find other children to bring back to us. One lady made three trips, with different groups of children in tow.”

Bullock says “50 Free” offers his students real-world experience with handling many clients at once. And perhaps more importantly, it shows them the value of giving back to the community.

“We will definitely do this next year,” Bullocks said. “And we’re going to visit the homeless shelter soon to provide free haircuts and donate backpacks and supplies that were left over from ‘50 Free.’”

Bullock says any supplies remaining after the shelter visit will be delivered to Pitt County classrooms.

Alumni association seeks award nominees

The PCC Alumni Association Board of Directors is accepting nominations for awards their organization will present to outstanding PCC graduates this fall.

According to PCC Annual Fund/Alumni Director John Bacon, the association will hold an awards program Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the Craig F. Goess Student Center’s Davenport Multipurpose Room. It will present as many as five awards that evening in the following categories: Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Alumni, Outstanding Young Alum, Employee Alumni and Honorary Alumnus.

Bacon says the ceremony is a great way to highlight PCC alumni success. He added that it is an integral part of the alumni group’s mission to reconnect former students with PCC and encourage them to support their alma mater.

“PCC has more than 300,000 alumni dating back to 1965, and the PCC Alumni Association is proud of each one,” Bacon said. “We love hearing about their achievements, celebrating their successes, and sharing their stories.”

Bacon says nominations will be accepted through Sept. 13. Award eligibility requirements and nomination forms are available at www.pittccfoundation.com or by calling 493-7229.

Completed nomination forms may be submitted to the PCC Alumni Office located in the Vernon E. White Building, Room 118. They also can be returned via mail to: PCC Alumni Association, P.O. Drawer 7007, Greenville, 27835; and email: pccfoundation@email.pittcc.edu.

Contact jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

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