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Student Discovers Unexpected Inspiration

T.J. Anzulewicz, right, and PCC Associate of Fine Arts Coordinator Charity ValentineA 2009 Pitt Community College graduate found the inspiration he’d hoped for shortly after signing up for a class he had no idea would lead to an unexpected passion.

TJ Anzulewicz likes to explore new places. He was born in Fort Rucker, AL to a military family and had already made over a dozen moves in the US before moving to Greenville, NC in 2006.

TJ’s first attempt with secondary education had been at culinary school in Jonestown, PA where he attended high school. The spark just wasn’t there. So after he and his family moved to Greenville, he decided to take some general transfer classes and try his hand at a possible Business degree. Pitt Community College seemed to be the best choice economically.

Then something quite unexpected began to evolve. TJ found himself advancing quickly in a class originally taken as an elective and a possible way to learn a new skill. He was enjoying learning everything Digital Photography had to offer and wanted to know more than what was on the syllabus. “I took it just for fun, but I found elements in it that just clicked for me.” TJ states, “The camera felt natural in my hand, an extension of myself.”

Charity Valentine, Associate in Fine Arts Coordinator, found herself with a naturally talented student who was willing to work, anxious to learn more and asked if he’d like to work as her assistant with the class. “TJ was the kind of student every instructor loves to have. On time, talented, smart but what stood out to me the most was the unusual level of creativity he brought to his assignments. It was apparent from the beginning that he was a natural with the camera.”

And that’s how TJ’s passion for photography began, but that’s certainly not where it ended. TJ expresses his gratitude for Charity’s support, “Charity believed in me and really took me under her wing. I had no idea where I wanted to go with my life at the time, she helped me find my path.” He had found the perfect mentor in Charity and with her help the confidence in his abilities grew at a steady pace.

Charity also provided encouragement and advice for continuing to pursue his education. TJ graduated from PCC with an Associate in Arts degree in May 2009. He was pleased that all 64 credit hours he had taken at PCC transferred seamlessly. TJ completed his coursework at UNC Charlotte and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in Photography in December 2011.

Being a product of a military family, the desire to travel is in his blood. In May 2010 while at UNCC, TJ participated in a summer abroad study through the Art and Architecture programs that began in Rome, Italy. While there, he conceived a photography project entitled “Wanderlust” and continued the endeavor in Tokyo, Japan in September 2010. TJ will be presenting “Wanderlust” in the spring at UNC-C as a solo art exhibition.

The Associate in Fine Arts program at PCC was established to help students just like TJ find their passion. It allows a student to pursue a two-year Associate degree in Fine Arts and then transfer to a 4-year institution.

There are many benefits to PCC’s transfer program. Small class sizes with more individual attention along with a broad range of class options and lower tuition rates are only a few of the reasons students are making the choice to begin their college journey here. The ease of transfer credits ranks high as well.