Academic Excellence Award Winner Full of Grit and Determination

Sometimes a little grit and a dose of unflinching determination will stand you in good stead when life throws you a curveball, especially if you also have a couple of champions in your corner from McDowell Technical Community College.

When Kristie Delozier was laid off from her job at Ethan Allen as the plant closed in 2019, she was offered a chance to go back to school under the federal government’s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

 TAA provides funding for those who lose their jobs or whose wages and hours are reduced as a result of imports.

Although she didn’t really know where to begin, she decided to enroll at McDowell Tech to study Office Administration. With the help of Rachel Pearson, her academic advisor, and Julie Padgett, her admissions counselor, she was able to figure things out and enrolled in her first semester.

“I was really scared,” she said, “but I was also determined to do my best… Each semester, my advisor helped me register for my classes and kept me on track with which classes I needed to do first.”

With Pearson and Padgett’s help and her own grit and determination, Delozier didn’t just complete the requirements for a degree in Office Administration, she actually completed three associate degrees in different areas of Office Administration—General Office, Office Finance and Office Software—as well as a certificate in General Office Administration.

And she completed all of those classes with a 4.0 (perfect) grade point average—and did it one semester ahead of schedule.

For her exceptional performance, Delozier was honored by being named McDowell Tech’s 2021 Academic Excellence Award winner at Friday’s annual curriculum graduation held at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center.

“I’m so thankful,” said Kristie. “I have learned a lot and met so many good people at McDowell Tech. In all of my classes, the instructors were great. If I had any trouble with anything, they were always happy to help me figure stuff out.

Not one to let moss grow under her feet, Kristie is already applying for jobs in her field and hopes to hear from one of her applications and interviews soon.

“We know Kristie has a great second career ahead of her,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt, President at MTCC. “Life threw Kristie a curveball when she was laid off, but she hit it out of the park here at Tech. She has excelled beyond our expectations and that is why we were happy to name her this year’s Academic Excellence Award winner. Whoever decides to give her a chance will no doubt find a competent, determined and committed employee who will go the extra mile to prove her worth to their company and her dedication to excellence and success.”