Students take in EC, look ahead to careers

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Elizabeth City State University senior Jordan Stockton, who is from New Jersey, plans to return to the urban Northeast after graduation.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Elizabeth City State University senior Tavaris Taylor eventually would like to offer affordable veterinary services to people in northeastern North Carolina. In the meantime, he has an interest in working near the campus for a time and mentoring future classes of science students.

Taylor, 22, a senior planning to graduate in December, is majoring in biology with a pre-med concentration and plans to apply to veterinary schools after taking a few years off to work. Taylor, who is from Cofield in Hertford County, about an hour from Elizabeth City, said he would like to work in a laboratory.

Taylor said he’s open to working in Elizabeth City or elsewhere in the region if he is able to get a job at a lab. He said that while there are no big labs in the area as there are in larger cities, there are jobs available at the local hospital and there are some small veterinary clinics in the area.

Part of his interest in veterinary medicine is rooted in wanting to help people who need to have procedures done for their animals but can’t afford them.

In addition to being interested in veterinary medicine, Taylor also has an interest in botany.

“I am especially interested in how plants can be used to better the environment and the people in it,” Taylor said.

One of the things that motivates him to want to work in the Elizabeth City area is that it would enable him to stay close to the ECSU chapter of his fraternity, Nu Gamma Psi. Taylor said ECSU is home to the fraternity’s first college chapter. 

“That would be the reason why I would take a job here,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he has had people who helped him get through the struggles he faced in college and he would like to provide that same kind of help to students who came after him. He said he’s especially interested in helping students who come from a rural background similar to his own.

One of his main struggles has been motivation, he said. Coming from a small town, attending a university located in another small town sometimes made him feel like he was still in high school, he said.

Another challenge was adjusting to being on his own and dealing with the financial issues that can come with that.

“And that can affect your motivation,” Taylor said.

Taylor said even though he often hears students say there are not many job opportunities in Elizabeth City, he believes there are more than meet the eye at first glance.

“If you look there are options,” Taylor said. “You just have to look. If you put in the work and look you can find them.”

If he’s not able to find a job at the hospital or in an animal clinic, Taylor said he would be interested in working on campus in a position that supports students — especially undergraduate science students.

Samuel Sidberry, 25, a senior planning to graduate in December, is a sports management major and has worked since high school with the Parks and Recreation Department in his hometown of Durham.

After graduation Sidberry plans to return to Durham to work and also has his sights set on getting a teaching license and eventually becoming an athletic director at the high school or college level — “wherever it leads me to.”

He said he wants to pursue the teaching license while working.

“There’s no point in just doing one thing and not trying to pursue the other,” Sidberry said.

Sidberry said he would be glad to work in the Elizabeth City area if he found a good career opportunity here.

“If the opportunity presents itself I would do it,” Sidberry said. “I’m willing to relocate from Durham wherever I need to for a job.”

One of the things he has appreciated about Elizabeth City during his time at ECSU has been the abundance of service opportunities in the community. He said his fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, is very service-oriented.

“I think it’s a good community,” Sidberry said.

Stephanie Wimmer, 19, of Grandy, graduated from J.P. Knapp Early College High School in Currituck in 2017 and is currently enrolled in the cosmetology program at College of The Albemarle.

Wimmer said her interest in cosmetology grew out of having her own hair done by Julie Wish Fuller at the WaveLengths salon in Southern Shores. Wimmer said Fuller did her hair for the prom and has always displayed a lot of creativity.

It’s the creative aspect of cosmetology that especially appeals to Wimmer.

“I’ve always been interested in hair since I was little,” said Wimmer, who said one of the rewards of cosmetology is seeing people happy with the way they look.

Wimmer said she would like to work at Fuller’s salon on the Outer Banks or possibly get licensed in Virginia and work in a salon there. 

Jordan Stockton, 24, a criminal justice major at ECSU who is from Trenton, N.J., said he will be taking the civil service exam soon in hopes of working for the federal government.

Last summer he interned with the federal public defender program and would like to do that kind of work in the future. During the internship he did research on cases the office was handling.

Stockton said he hopes to return to the northeastern part of the country to work.

He said he would be open to working in North Carolina at some point but would want to be somewhere other than Elizabeth City.

“I’m from the city,” Stockton said. “I did this slow pace for a few years. I need to speed it up a little bit.”