Alumni on the Move

Two of Southwest's Alumni are changing the face of their community. Russell Voeller came to Southwest directly from high school and graduated in May 2013, and Felecia Hankins returned as an adult student and graduated in May 2010. We asked each of them 10 questions about their experience at Southwest.

Russell Voeller

Russell Voeller
  1. Why did you choose Southwest?
    I chose Southwest because of the small class sizes, and the location from my house.
  2. What was your major and when did you graduate?
    My major was Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology, and I graduated, May of this year.
  3. Where has your education taken you so far?
    I designed my own website, and I go and help people with their computer issues.
  4. What are you currently doing and what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
    I go and fix computers for different people, and go to some businesses to help them with their computer issues.
  5. What do you think is the best thing you received from your time at Southwest?
    First there were the teachers. All of them helped me reach my goals, and I learned valuable skills in my Information Tech Career. I am very thankful to all the teachers. I learned how to build a website, and other valuable skills from the future.
  6. If could share anything with today's students what would it be?
    Work or study hard, do not miss class, and listen to your teachers. I picked the best College in the World. I would not trade it for anything, and DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!
  7. What's your favorite thing about our Community?
    The location of where the College is and the teachers.
  8. What's the one thing you would change about our Community?
    Have two introduction classes about computers. If I came and taught a class at Southwest, I would have a basic Intro to Computers for adults and young adults. This would allow parents and children to be in the same class together. That is what I do now. I teach adults the basic information about computing.
  9. Who was your favorite instructor at Southwest and do you have message for him /her?
    Yes, I have three favorite teachers: Mrs. Dagny Wright, Dr. Morris and Todd Blankenbeckler. Dagny Wright is the best Information Tech teacher for classes like Cisco and Network Security. Second is Todd Blankenbeckler, because he makes it fun to build websites. Last is Dr. Morris, I learned everything about computers from him. All three of these teachers need to stay at Southwest to help the future young adults that are entering College.
  10. What are you proud off?
    First, that I graduated. Second that it took five times for me to pass Developmental Math, but I did it.

Felecia Hankins

Felicia Hankins
  1. Why did you choose Southwest?
    I chose Southwest when I was 25 years old. I graduated high school in 1999, but decided I wasn’t ready to go to college. My best friend had enrolled at Southwest and she encouraged me to get back into school. I’m so grateful to her for pushing me.
  2. What was you major and when did you graduate?
    My major was Medical Office Administration, and I graduated in May 2010. When I enrolled in 2006, I had to take some developmental classes, but I didn’t let that discourage me. It took me a little longer to finish, but it was worth it.
  3. Where has your education taken you so far?
    In May 2009, I traveled to Greece on a study abroad trip. When I returned from that trip, I finished my degree program, graduated, and transferred to the University of Memphis. Coming to Southwest gave me a solid foundation and my experiences here have changed my life.
  4. What are you currently doing and what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
    am the International Studies Specialist at Southwest Tennessee Community College. I help to send students on study abroad trips; I coordinate our Danish Exchange Program, and I work with our international students. You will see me at various events on campus trying to encourage students to travel abroad. In five years, I hope I am doing something very similar, because I love my job, but I want to see our program grow and travel to many more exciting countries.
  5. What do you think is the best thing you received from your time at Southwest?
    The opportunity to travel with the International Studies program was the best thing I received. Being able to learn outside of the classroom changed my view of the world. With the program, I was able to visit Greece, Denmark, Belgium, and India, all while receiving credit for my classes.
  6. If you could share anything with today's students, what would it be?
    I would encourage all students to get involved with Southwest activities. I know many of our students come to class and go home, but Southwest offers much more than just classes. Being able to earn your degree should be a student’s number one concern, but you can also meet great people along the way. You just have to be willing to open yourself up to those opportunities.
  7. What's your favorite thing about our community?
    My favorite thing about our community is the diversity. We have so many different cultures at Southwest, and our international student population is big! I also appreciate the interaction between foreign and American students. It helps promote the exchange of cultures.
  8. What's the one thing you would change about our community?
    If I could change one thing, it would be the reluctance of our students to think outside the box. Sometimes we get stuck in our ways of thinking, and we can’t see other points of view. It’s not always easy, but we have to learn to be more open-minded and accepting of others.
  9. Who was your favorite instructor at Southwest and do you have a message for him/her?
    I can’t say that I have one specific instructor but a few: Judy Hatmaker, Steve Haley, and Tamara McColgan. I can honestly say all of these professors challenged me and prepared me for my classes at the University of Memphis. They expect the best from their students, and they want to see that you are putting forth your best effort. I want to tell them thank you for the challenge.
  10. What are you most proud of?
    I’m proud of my title and position at Southwest. I’m proud I’ve found a profession I love, and I get to help students travel abroad, when they may have not been able to do so without our help. I’m proud of my journey, even though it was not a smooth one. I’m proud to be a Southwest Alumni!