CHESTER – Elena Brancato wants to be a role model for her son, so she decided to pursue a new career with the help of John Tyler Community College. Brancato says she chose Tyler because she liked its supportive environment.
Her story is just one of several that John Tyler Community College students shared with state legislators during this year’s legislative session. The students were accompanied by college president Edward “Ted” Raspiller on trips to the Virginia Capitol.
Brancato wants to challenge herself and realize new successes in the workforce. She worked for a while as an office manager at a marketing firm but said the benefits did not allow her to create a sustainable and comfortable life for her and her child. So, she started looking at options.
With the support of a workforce organization, she honed her resume writing and other skills and researched career advice given to her. One suggestion: go to John Tyler Community College and become a nurse. With her interest piqued, she went to the college and was greeted with what she described as “friendly faces and open arms.”
She signed up and began taking classes. She said she was quickly impressed with Tyler’s faculty, who took time to teach students how to learn, not just how to memorize subject content. She also made another discovery: she wanted to work in communications, not nursing. So, she switched majors and entered general studies with a mass communications specialization. Brancato is excited about the direction she’s moving, because it will allow her to develop skills that can be utilized in a wide variety of workplace environments.
When she graduates from Tyler in May, Brancato plans to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to major in public relations and minor in media studies. As her educational journey continues, she says she will keep exploring the ways communications professionals support various industries and nonprofits, so she can determine how she wants to put her newly learned skills to work.