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PCC Celebrates Women's History Month with Program Featuring Distinguished Panelists

Marina Alexander, Martina Ferguson, Alice Keene and Diane Taylor, left to right, served as panelists for PCC's 2015 Women's History Month program.

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WINTERVILLE—A distinguished panel of women highlighted Pitt Community College’s celebration of Women’s History Month on March 4.

The program, titled "Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives" in conjunction with this year’s national Women’s History Month theme, featured Marina Alexander, Martina Ferguson, Alice Keene and Diane Taylor sharing their stories of personal and professional success.

A native of India, Alexander said she followed her husband to America, where she found the education she needed to pursue her life’s passion – clothing and textiles.

Taking her college professor’s advice to “follow your heart and do what you love to do,” she went on to complete a doctorate in her field of study and now works as an associate professor in the Department of Interior Design and Merchandising at East Carolina University.

“What matters is you work hard, have your rule set, and be happy with what you are doing in life,” Alexander said.

Ferguson, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, is a third generation soldier. She described her lengthy military career and the obstacles she’s had to overcome in order to rise through the ranks.

Crediting her faith in God as the foundation for her life’s accomplishments, Ferguson stressed the need for education and resilience in order to achieve success.

“Dig deep,” she said, “and find what it is that’s going to keep you pushing, not just for yourself but for those who are looking up to you and needing your guidance.”

A pioneer in in the field of recreation, Keene worked with Greenville Parks and Recreation before assuming her role as special projects coordinator with Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation Programs.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Keene is credited with developing the first year-round recreational program for special populations in Pitt County as well as the county’s Special Olympics program. She also played a role in creating the North Carolina Senior Games, a program that still remains a national model.

A Four Oaks native and ECU graduate, Keene says she counts her blessings each morning and tries to think of a way to express her gratitude for them that day. A park on County Home Road in Greenville has been named for Keene, who says success is dependent upon collaboration.

“We don’t get there alone,” she said. “… It takes people around us, who support us and nurture us, and we need to do the same (for others.)”

Taylor, the founder and CEO of Taylor Made Publishing, is originally from Upstate New York. A lifelong “journalist at heart,” she talked about growing up in a housing project as a youngster and overcoming a physically abusive father in order to achieve professional and personal success.

Taylor said she moved to North Carolina to pursue a career in public relations. And though she never planned on it, she eventually wrote and published a book about professional baseball player Carl Long, who starred in the Negro Leagues before moving on to the minors and breaking the color barrier in the Carolina League with the Kinston Eagles.

Explaining her unexpected move into the publishing world, Taylor said it was God who led her to develop her love of journalism into her present career. “My passion led to my purpose,” she said.

Following the panel discussion, PCC administrators presented Admissions Counselor Ty Davis with the 2015 Woman of Substance Award for outstanding campus and community involvement, attitude of service, commitment and caring, and willingness to 'go the extra mile.'

Those who nominated Davis for the award said the positive impact she makes at PCC is the result of her “heart and passion for students” and “willingness to reach across campus and throughout the community to find support for (them).”

PCC has held a program each March since 2001 to celebrate the achievements of women. The event is sponsored by the college’s Multicultural Activities Committee.


03/06/2015