She was attracted by the tuition savings then struck gold when she discovered student organizations. A presidential ambassador at the College, Crystal Ennin said taking advantage of the college experience beyond merely attending classes has been eye-opening.
The Woodside High School graduate enrolled at Thomas Nelson (soon to be Virginia Peninsula Community College) in fall 2020 uncertain of what to expect and stressed about how she would adjust. Things took a turn for the better when she was accepted in the ambassador’s program and TRiO, a federally-funded college success program for those who are either first-generation college students, meet specific income requirements or have a disability. Ennin also began volunteering at the campus food pantry. Combined the experiences presented opportunities for personal and professional grown.
“Honestly, before joining any of these organizations I was oblivious to a lot of things. I didn’t know anything about college and the real world after high school. I was extremely worried about failing,” she said, giving special acknowledgment to Sara Lynn Georgen of the TRiO program.
“After joining all of them I would definitely say my eyes have been opened to a lot. I already volunteered prior to the food pantry but it has also given me a leg up to get more involved in my community as I’ve always wanted. Becoming one of the Presidential Ambassadors really makes me excited for the many opportunities it brings,” added Ennin.
Students in the Presidential Ambassadors program commit to assist the College for 10 months by participating in events and working in various roles on campus, according to Program Coordinator Michelle Manfred. She said the program greatly benefits participants.
Manfred said it provides a $1,000 monetary incentive and allows students to connect with their peers at events, which often leads to building friendships. Participants are also mentored by deans and vice presidents.
“And the ambassadors are receiving leadership training by President Brannon which is invaluable and a huge commitment on the part of our College leader,” Manfred added.
Ennin, a social science major, serves at the Hampton campus and is among four participants this term. She proved more than worthy of selection.
“Crystal’s application to the program blew me away. It was so insightful and thorough,” said Manfred. “I was really impressed at her ideas about how to help other students by serving as a Presidential Ambassador."
“Crystal is very professional in all situations. She has connected well with other ambassadors and is pursuing mentoring by (College) administrators,” she added.
Although still trying to decide whether she wants to become a lawyer and psychologist, Ennin is looking forward to a bright future. Her five-year plan is in the works.
“Currently it’s either getting my bachelor’s in psychology at James Madison University or Virginia Commonwealth University. The other option is getting my bachelor’s in history and getting into a law school. All this will be done by the Lord’s grace,” she said.
This is the second in a series introducing this year’s presidential ambassadors. Other profiles will be featured soon.
Connect with Manfred at email@example.com to learn more about the Presidential Ambassadors Program.