Each year, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) officials hand-pick some of the college’s most promising students to serve as Presidential Ambassadors to represent the college at campus events, provide campus tours, and speak about their experiences to various audiences. This year’s 17 Ambassadors hail from a variety of backgrounds and represent many program areas.
Here’s a brief introduction to our latest class of Presidential Ambassadors:
Andrea Argo of Abbeville County is a Respiratory Care major at PTC and serves as vice president of the college’s Respiratory Care Club. While attending classes at PTC, Andrea is working as a respiratory care assistant at Self Regional Healthcare. She wears a ring with her daughter’s birthstone all the time to remind herself of her priorities.
“My daughter inspires me to be the best version of myself. Everything I have accomplished and continue to accomplish is for her,” Andrea said. “I want to give her the best life possible.”
In her spare time, Andrea enjoys playing with her daughter, cooking, and gardening. She is happy she chose PTC. “Everyone is so nice and helpful. They truly care about their students and make going to school fun and affordable.”
Lacy Arnold of Laurens County is a Commercial Art – Advertising Design/Photography major at PTC. She has always been creative, and encouragement from her father and fiancé helped motivate her to pursue a degree in something she is passionate about.
“My daddy has always supported me and always, always, ALWAYS pushed me to use my creativity and to not give up,” she said. “He has always reminded me of what I’m capable of.”
Before enrolling at PTC, Lacy created logos, designed T-shirts, flyers, and ads for various freelance clients but wanted to maximize her success and gain confidence that she could really do creative work for a living.
“When I designed a food truck wraparound for one of my fiancé’s two companies, that is when it really clicked that this is what I was meant for,” Lacy said.
Tracy Arrowood of Newberry County is majoring in Human Services at PTC. While taking classes, Tracy is working as a breakfast and lunch server at Mid-Carolina Middle School in the Newberry County School District. In addition to serving as a Presidential Ambassador this year, Tracy also is a member of the Human Services Club.
“I want to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “Helping and serving have always been passions of mine, and this major is the perfect fit.”
Austin Belcher of Greenwood County is majoring in Building Construction Technology at PTC, a direction he chose because he already had begun working in the industry. He continues to work while in school, at Harbor Freight in Greenwood.
“I want to get a base knowledge of all things to do with construction,” he said. “This program will give me the tools to start my own business.”
An avid golfer, Austin dreams one day of owning his own course. He says he could not do anything without the support of his wife, who pushes him to better himself. Austin’s most prized possessions are his tools. “I spent a lot of money on them, and they make me money, so I could not go on without them.”
Rachel Caron of Charleston County is a student in the Cardiovascular Technology/Invasive Program. An athlete (track, cross-country, cheerleading) at her alma mater, Wando High School, Rachel originally majored in exercise science at the University of South Carolina but changed her major to biology. In a reversal of the conventional transfer pathway to a baccalaureate degree, she is finishing the clinical portion of her degree as a transfer student to PTC.
The daughter of a pediatrician, Rachel has not ruled out applying to medical school one day. But that is just one option. “I change my mind all the time!” she quipped.
Jaxon Connell of Saluda County is majoring in Commercial Art, Digital Rendering and Gaming with secondary specialty in Advertising Design. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing sports, drawing, and playing video games. His most prized possession is his longboard because, “It was one of the purchases I had with money I earned.”
Jaxon finds inspiration from professional athletes such as former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
“He was just such a hard worker in baseball and inspired me to play,” Jaxon said.
Ebony Ellis of Newberry County earned her Diploma in Applied Science in Practical Nursing this summer and plans to apply for PTC’s Transition Nursing Program in February of next year. She was a Summer Term 2022 commencement speaker.
Ebony has wanted a career in healthcare since she was a small child watching relatives who worked in the field. Her goal has been to become the first nurse in her family and to one day serve as a flight nurse. She feels it is important to be a good role model for her daughter, Nevaeh.
Madalyn Harris of Greenwood County is majoring in Cardiovascular Technology at PTC. She served as a Presidential Ambassador when she was a high school dual enrollment student and now is repeating as a regular PTC student.
“I had heart surgery when I was in the 8th grade, and I realized that I wanted to pursue a career that involved the heart in some way,” she said. “I shadowed (CVT Instructor) Laura Boone and her students one day and fell in love with the CVT Program.”
While in school, Madalyn worked in the PTC Admissions Call Center. She credits her mother for inspiring her to pursue this career path.
“My mom has always taught me to be compassionate, loyal, and determined,” she said. “She has pushed me to be the person I am today, and I model my actions and behavior after her.”
Abigail Jacquet of Newberry County is majoring in Practical Nursing at PTC.
Abigail says she has always wanted to work in the medical field, and her instructors have shown her it is possible. She enjoys dancing and working out with weights at the gym.
“Being an Ambassador has made it easy to make connections,” she said. “God has driven me to do better and be a better person.”
Jarvis Johnson of Greenwood County is majoring in Business Administration/Management at PTC. A busy man, he previously worked three jobs while attending college before accepting a full-time position in the college’s Admissions Center.
Jarvis is grateful for his health and positive mindset.
“I am almost 30 and do not look like I am 30 because health is wealth. Your mindset is everything. This is why I grind so hard every day to better myself and others around me,” he said.
The hardworking Jarvis is super-focused on his career goals. “I want to own my own food truck in the next three years and start helping people eat healthy.”
Raistlin Lee of Greenwood County is majoring in Automotive Technology, a field he says continues to grow consistently and offers value and opportunity. While at PTC, he also is a member of Full Throttle, the Automotive Technology Program’s club.
While studying at PTC, Raistlin is working as a certified trainer at Chick-fil-A. He says his father is the most influential person in his life.
“He has taught a lot of hard lessons. Learning those lessons has been the most frustrating and rewarding moments of my life,” Raistlin said. “I wouldn’t be the man I am today if not for him.”
Jo Ann Moore of Greenwood County is working on an associate in applied science degree at PTC and is a member of the Human Services Club. She has worked in the human services field for more than 20 years and is currently employed at SC Vocational Rehabilitation. She holds herself to high standards.
“I want to earn a degree for my own personal growth,” JoAnn said. “I am a first-time college student and the first in my immediate family to attend college.”
JoAnn draws immense strength from her faith. “My faith is priceless to me, and I pray I never lose it.”
Amaro Sunga of Greenville County is a student in PTC’s Respiratory Care Program because he has a passion for working with and helping people. While working toward his degree, Amaro has been working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital.
Amaro most values the support of his parents and his rich life experiences. He also is grateful for support he finds in the college community. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, coaching, and reading.
Ginny Wagler of Abbeville County is working toward an associate in applied science in cardiovascular technology – adult echocardiography. She is a member of the PTC Cardiovascular Technology Club.
“I care about people and their health, so this career is a great fit for me,” she said. “Being there with people during their scariest moments of life is not easy, but it is so rewarding.”
Wagler is thankful for the opportunities she has at PTC. “My instructors and classmates at PTC have been so influential to my life. I am grateful that I get to be part of such a great community.”
Portland Wallace of Laurens County is enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at PTC and is a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). While she looks all business, Portland also loves collecting toys and is particularly fond of her collection of old sports cards. She is grateful for her parents’ unconditional love and devotion.
“My parents support me through anything, and they always have my back no matter the situation,” she said, adding that she is excited to be at PTC because of “the flexibility and the affordability of the school.”
Aundrea West of Ware Shoals is a Criminal Justice major at PTC and member of the Human Services Club. She is going through the program with her mother, Stephanie, who also is a Presidential Ambassador this year.
“I chose Criminal Justice to set the foundation for my future degrees. I want to become a forensic psychiatrist and need experience with criminal justice to help me fulfill that dream,” Aundrea said. She credits her mother for her success thus far. “My mother has always strived for greatness and pushed me to do the same. … I am lucky to have a mother who believes in me and wants nothing but the best for my brothers and me.”
Stephanie West of Ware Shoals earned as associate in applied science degree in Human Services in 2020 and is now working on her second degree, this time in Criminal Justice. She is a repeat Presidential Ambassador, member of the National Technical Honor Society, the National Organization for Human Services, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the Human Services Club. While attending classes, Stephanie works as a mental health technician at Self Regional Healthcare.
“I graduated at the top of my class from the Human Services Program in December of 2020. After graduating, I realized I only needed 12 more classes to obtain my Criminal Justice degree as well,” Stephanie said. “I love learning and being in school, so I immediately enrolled at PTC again.”
In her spare time, Stephanie is a photographer and enjoys writing and spending time with her family.
Associate Dean of Students David Rosenbaum advises the Presidential Ambassadors program at PTC.
“Every year, it is a real privilege to work with these bright students,” Rosenbaum said. “Their maturity and willingness to try new things, such as public speaking, is truly impressive. Their natural curiosity and drive for excellence set an ideal example for their college peers and the community at large.”
The Presidential Ambassadors typically are second-year students who are selected on the basis of their academic achievement, college and community involvement, work ethic, leadership skills and willingness to serve the college.