Anna Pierce knows cancer is tough, and that’s why she wants to spend her career as a radiation therapist being a bright spot for patients.
“These patients are going through so much, and to have the opportunity to be a bright spot in their day, that’s really rewarding,” Pierce says.
The daughter of Tom and Tricia Pierce, the 20-year-old is a second-year radiography student at Johnston Community College. She will graduate in May with her associate’s degree and will begin her studies as a radiation therapist at UNC Hospitals this fall.
Pierce came to JCC in 2014 after she moved to North Carolina from Florida with her parents. New to the community, Pierce said she was welcomed with open arms when she visited JCC.
“I applied to three different colleges, but I really liked JCC best,” she says. “It felt very comfortable to me, and I found everyone to be super helpful and friendly especially since I was from out of state.”
At JCC, Pierce is a dean’ list student, a member of the Radiography Club, and one of the college’s 12 student ambassadors. Her performance and example in the classroom and in the community are reasons why she’s JCC’s 2016 recipient of the Academic Excellence Award.
“Anna is a great asset to JCC and the student ambassador program,” says Kate Leahy, advisor of the student ambassador program at JCC. “Her positive attitude, strong academics, and quiet leadership style earns the respect of her fellow peers and will take her far in life. She is very deserving of this award.”
At JCC, academic excellence award recipients are nominated by faculty or staff and selected on the basis of selected academic criteria, which are consistent with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society criteria. Fifty-eight students, one from each community college,received academic excellence awards. Pierce will receive a plaque, a $1,000 scholarship from the NC Community Colleges Foundation, and will be recognized at graduation for heraccomplishment.
Pierce said the ambassador program has helped her grow as a leader and also meet lots of good friends.
“It’s been great,” she said of the ambassador experience. I’ve learned so much about leadership and professional skills, and I’ve really enjoyed the community service projects we have participated in.”
Pierce says she’s thankful for the award and even more grateful for her college experience at JCC. “Community college is really a great step for people who maybe aren’t sure what direction they want to go in right away,” she says. “It’s a great transition after high school. You have two years to continue to develop your study skills and become more independent. It’s really a nice middle ground.”