Forsyth Tech Offers New Degree Program

SMITTEN - Social Media Influencer Technologies, Training and Engineering Neodesign

For Immediate Release 
April 1, 2022
Contact: Devin Purgason
Director of College Relations, Marketing, and Communication

Forsyth Tech Offers New Influencer Degree

Winston-Salem, N.C. — Forsyth Tech Community College has added a degree program to their Design Technologies Division. The two-year program is designed to help students achieve their full potential by becoming social media influencers.

According to a recent survey by The Sun, 75% of Gen Z and Millennials chose becoming a YouTuber as their most desired career. As a community college, our purpose is to assess the workforce needs and create dynamic programs to meet those needs. Hence, the creation of our Social Media Influencer Technology, Training, Engineering and Neodesign degree, also known as SMITTEN.

“This storied method of achieving success has long been critical to the economic lifeblood of the communities we serve, so it made sense for us to add it to the curriculum now,” said Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech. “We are eager to support the next generation of YouTube stars within Forsyth and Stokes Counties.”

Students can learn no matter what level of experience they bring to class: this new rigorous program will cover everything, from the basics of how to hold a selfie stick and product placement, to advanced levels of photo and video manipulation, the art of the humble brag, and finding the perfect filter – so that you can still post #nofilter.

Vocal fry was in full effect at Forsyth Tech’s campuses and centers, as students learned of the new program. “Like, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this, like literally, my entire life.” said Suzy Stokes.

“Yes! Ever since my first video hit the For You page, #fyp, I’ve been literally searching for another way to give my TikTok a #glowup,” said Frankie Forsyth.

Coursework begins in Fall 2022, but students are encouraged to apply now by submitting their best ring light selfie and InstaReel. Anyone interested in joining this unique program should visit

About Forsyth Tech
Forsyth Technical Community College is a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives, and transforming communities. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech serves more than 21,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff. For additional information, please visit and follow Forsyth Tech on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Forsyth Tech Receives Funds from BioMADE to Help Accelerate Bioindustrial Manufacturing in the United

Forsyth Tech Receives Funds from BioMADE to Help Accelerate Bioindustrial Manufacturing in the United States

Forsyth Tech, along with partners at UNC Greensboro, Genome Insights and the Veteran’s Farm of NC and the NC Farmer Veteran Community are one of sixteen member teams to receive funding to accelerate bioindustrial manufacturing in the United States.

Bioindustrial manufacturing uses living organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and algae, to make new products or replacements for current products that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than current processes. By propelling new biotechnology products from the lab to the commercial market, BioMADE, the Bioindustrial Manufacturing and Design Ecosystem, and its members strengthen American competitiveness and create a more robust and resilient supply chain. BioMADE is also building a diverse and globally competitive STEM workforce to ensure the workforce is prepared and ready to fill new jobs.

Forsyth Tech’s member team will focus on nanobiotechnology to inspire the next generation of the skilled biomanufacturing workforce. The program will inspire students to learn about leveraging microbes in bioindustrial manufacturing by putting cutting-edge nanobiotechnologies like hand-held DNA sequencers and scanning electron microscopes into classrooms.

“We’re extremely pleased to announce these projects, which represent all areas of our mission,” said Douglas Friedman, BioMADE CEO. “These cutting-edge projects will create new bio-based chemicals, demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of bioindustrial manufacturing, enhance the ability of the biomanufacturing community to work together, and train the workforce of the future.”

Forsyth Tech will see the greatest impact from this funding at our vibrant laboratory facility in Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “We are honored to be among the member teams selected to receive funding,” said Russ Read, Exec Dir, National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce at Forsyth Tech. “We can’t wait to see the impact this will have on our students as we ensure they are workforce-ready.”

Dr. Janet Spriggs Wins Phi Theta Kappa Paragon Award

2022 Paragon Award Winner - Dr. Janet Spriggs

The Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society has awarded Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech, with the Paragon President Award. The award recognizes college presidents for outstanding support of student success. Only 20 are awarded each year out of 426 eligible candidates.

The award has been granted to Dr. Spriggs for her work to mentor and develop student leaders through the exceptional and unfamiliar circumstances of the last several semesters. From racial and political unrest to a global pandemic, community colleges were and are often at the forefront of working to build equity in a community as well as address immediate needs.

“I am so incredibly honored to have been nominated by our fantastic students for this award. Forsyth Tech is a place of promise for all students, no matter their background. That is what I have centered my presidency on: our student’s success,” said Spriggs.

The nomination also highlighted Dr. Spriggs’ work to support student success initiatives leading to stronger pathways to completion, transfer, and employment. Each of these metrics of success are critical to students at Forsyth Tech when it comes to building a better, more socio-economically balanced future for themselves – and for our community.

“These college presidents have students-first leadership styles and have made it a priority to keep students engaged throughout the pandemic,” says Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Their nomination is evidence of the gratitude their PTK students feel for supporting them and students like them—even during the most difficult times.”

Dr. Spriggs will be honored at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention in April in Denver, Colorado, where the guest speaker will be Dr. Moogega Cooper, engineer of the Mars Rover Perseverance.

Forsyth Tech Instructor named North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year

Melissa Smith

Forsyth Tech Community College is proud to announce that Melissa Smith, Program Coordinator for the MRI program, has been named the 2022 NC Faculty Member of the Year.

This prestigious honor was awarded to Smith after competing with the other 57 NC community college nominees throughout the state.

Smith, an alumna of Forsyth Tech, has taught at the college for 11 years and has impacted her students, fellow faculty members, and staff over that time. Throughout her tenure, she has exemplified the highest quality and standards of instruction for her students. She consistently strives to promote learning, equity, program completion and positive post-graduation outcomes.

Smith works to bring the best to her students on all fronts and accounts. Here are quotes from some of her students’ evaluations: “She is awesome!” “Mrs. Smith strives to keep us goal-oriented while understanding other aspects of life take up our time.” And, “Mrs. Smith is great! She is very kind and understandable. You can tell she really cares about her students.” When asked what information they will take from this class that will benefit them in the future, one student simply responded, “Everything.”

State Board member Ann Whitford said, “We interviewed five extraordinary faculty members from across the state for this award, but Melissa’s passion and love for her students was exceptional and so very special to see.”

Smith has been an exemplary professional, working collaboratively to get the best outcomes for her students. She has worked with admissions and examined best practices to increase the diversity of cohorts in the MRI Program, utilized games and creative assignments to keep her students engaged, stayed abreast of new teaching methods, and constantly strives to strike the difficult balance of empathy and professionalism with her students.

Tamara Beck, Associate Dean of Imaging, Health Sciences, said, “It is her genuine ability to connect with students holistically that provides them with the necessary motivation and resources to fulfill their educational goals and transform their lives.”

The success of the MRI Program at Forsyth Tech, which has had 100% pass rates for the post-graduate American Registry of Radiology Technologists MRI Registry three times in the last nine years, is most certainly connected to Smith’s dedication, work ethic and creativity.

The official award, the Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by R.J. Reynolds, was established by the State Board of Community Colleges in 1985. This Award provides statewide recognition of faculty members who exemplify the highest quality and standards of instruction throughout the NC Community College System (NCCCS).

As a finalist, Smith was guaranteed to win $500 along with a certificate. The NCCCS Selection Committee interviewed her and she was selected as the winner by the NC Community College System Board of Trustees! Smith will receive $8,000, and the Forsyth Tech Foundation will receive $2,000 and a recognition plaque.

“I could not be more proud of Melissa,” said Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech. “She represents all of us with excellence, energy, and excitement – a true Trailblazer and now, an Excellence in Teaching state award winner — we are truly lucky to have Melissa on our team and in our Forsyth Tech family.”

SAS Certification Now Available At Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Tech Community College has added SAS certification to its diverse line-up of IT trainings and degrees. The college recently underwent a rigorous content review and developed a new class to become a SAS Academy, rendering it able to provide the certification.


This means that students will be able to learn how to write and understand SAS programs. The SAS Institute, based out of Cary, N.C., is the largest privately held software company in the world. Their primary area of focus is analytics software which aids businesses in decision-making processes; it can be used for analyzing financial data, store locations, pricing vs. competitor pricing and even pharmaceutical trials. The 2010 Census data was analyzed by the Census Bureau using SAS.


By adding SAS certification, students at Forsyth Tech will be able to study the four languages that are most in-demand in the data field all at once: SQL, SAS, R and Python. Starting in the Fall of 2022, students will be able to learn all four languages in just two semesters and earn a Data Programming Certificate.


“This is an exciting way for Forsyth Tech to equip our students with the specialized training in business, research and artificial intelligence that today’s employers require of IT professionals,” said Joey Bryant, Department Chair of the Davis iTEC/CyberSecurity Center at Forsyth Tech.


SAS and its corresponding programs, such as SAS Enterprise Miner, is used by many Fortune 500 companies, including JPMorgan Chase, General Electric, M&T Bank, Citigroup and Citi. You can learn more about Forsyth Tech’s Information Technology Database Administration degree program here.

Forsyth Tech Chosen for National Initiative Focused on Diversity and Manufacturing Careers

Apprenticeship Student

Forsyth Tech has been chosen as one of thirteen participants in The Century Foundation and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance’s Industry and Inclusion 2.0 cohort.  This national initiative is focused on community colleges delivering impactful credentials and addressing barriers in manufacturing careers.


This is an 18-month, learning-based opportunity for community colleges that works to “leverage a peer network and industry expertise to support community colleges seeking to explicitly center racial equity in credentialing programs, deepen cross-sector collaboration and support services, and increase the diversity of the student body and local manufacturing workforce,” according to the Urban Manufacturing Alliance’s website.


Since their inception a century ago, community colleges have been more representative of the communities that they serve, with larger segments of their student body coming from underserved populations than four-year institutions. This, when coupled with other important aspects of workforce readiness that community colleges provide the places they serve, make them perfectly poised to support the skyrocketing demands for a diverse, skilled workforce in manufacturing over the next decade.


The Industry and Inclusion cohort will help participating colleges expand their networks, learn from experts in the field, received tailored technical assistance, contribute to influential research and demonstrate results for students from diverse backgrounds.


Participation in the program will impact several of Forsyth Tech’s programs, including the wide range of offerings in the Advanced Manufacturing Department, such as computer-integrated machining, mechanical engineering technology and mechatronics. It will also support the business and industry partners that work with Forsyth Tech through the Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program (LEAP for short), which works with local powerhouses like Siemens Energy, Pepsi Bottling Ventures and Progress Rail.


“This is a great opportunity to leverage our partnerships with local industry to continue to develop equitable opportunities for individuals seeking credentials that lead to family-supporting wages in manufacturing-related careers,” said David Dinkins, Chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Department at Forsyth Tech.


The purpose of the program dovetails perfectly with Forsyth Tech’s vision of being a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities.


As always, the faculty and staff at Forsyth Tech are eager to bring what they learn to the community they serve. “We look forward to sharing the valuable information that we glean from being a part of this important and impactful cohort,” said Jennifer Coulombe, Associate Vice President of Business Partnerships & Process Improvement at Forsyth Tech.

Forsyth Tech Announces K-12 Cyber Fellows Program: Free Training for Teachers

Winston-Salem, N.C. – The Forsyth Technical Community College Davis iTEC Cybersecurity Center has been awarded a $326,300, 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will enable faculty and staff in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and Stokes County School Systems to increase their cybersecurity skills, abilities and knowledge.

Participating middle and high school teachers will enroll in Forsyth Tech’s 16-hour Cybersecurity Certificate program. After that, teachers can sit for the CompTIA Security+ Exam, an industry-standard in cybersecurity. Upon completion of the exam and test, teachers will then receive a $500 stipend.

Throughout the classes, cybersecurity instructors and professionals will mentor the participating teachers, providing assistance with cyber security-based lesson plans to incorporate into their classrooms. This helps the teachers meet new K-12 standards established by the State.

“We are grateful to be selected for this grant and believe it will help increase the number of female and minority students learning about cybersecurity,” said Thomas Brown, Department Chair of the Davis iTec Cyber Security Center at Forsyth Tech.

Brown went on to say, “With billions being spent each year on cybersecurity, and growing concerns over the sophisticated tactics used by cyber terrorists to disrupt organizations, we are proud that Forsyth Tech is working to increase the number of cybersecurity professionals in our community.”

Additional anticipated outcomes of the program include increasing the number of instructors at Forsyth Tech, and the establishment of an outreach program that connects Forsyth Tech resources to the school systems.

Message from President Spriggs: Mount Tabor High School

Dear Forsyth Tech Family,

This morning, parents across our community, state, and even country hugged their children a little tighter before sending them to school. I am grief-stricken over the horrific and senseless school shooting that occurred yesterday at Mount Tabor High School. Mount Tabor is a close partner with Forsyth Tech – they are a part of our family.

And when one member of our family hurts, we all hurt.

So, we will stand in solidarity with Mount Tabor and our community to remember and honor the life of William Chavis Raynard Miller Jr.

I know there were students, faculty, and staff here yesterday who had children in school going through this traumatic time, and I cannot even begin to imagine the fear and anguish you are still experiencing. My heart is with you.

We see things like this happening in faraway cities and states, but the sting sears deeply when it occurs in our town — to our very neighbors. We understand that this will rock our community for a long time to come and that processing this experience will look different for everyone. I want you to know that we are here for you, and we urge you to please reach out for care and support by connecting with our counseling service.

You can access this by calling our counseling team at 336.734.7280 or emailing at Employees, please feel free to use our Employee Assistance Program. Our amazing Human Resources team has posted great resources for employees and parents on Techlink. Also, our Counseling Services team has shared two articles that I have included below that we welcome you to read if beneficial to you.

Our community is strong, and we are full of hope. Do not be afraid to lean on one another as you continue to weather this heartbreaking storm. Our compassion, care, and willingness to band together is truly what sets us apart here in Winston-Salem. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this violence. #SpartanStrong

Dr. Janet Spriggs

Dr. Janet Spriggs Signature



Forsyth Tech Community College

Forsyth Technical Community College Announces a New Registered Apprenticeship Program through the Toyota Technician Training and Education Program (T-TEN)


For future automotive technicians, this apprenticeship program puts them ahead on a path combining a degree with on-the-job training and additional certifications.

Winston-Salem, N.C. – Forsyth Tech is excited to announce a new registered apprenticeship program through the Toyota T-TEN program. The college serves as the apprenticeship sponsor, and Toyota and Lexus dealerships in North Carolina can sign on as a participating employer.

Students who are completing T-TEN training courses at Forsyth Tech and working in a partner dealership can register as an apprentice through this partnership. Apprentices will earn wage increases as they progress through the on-the-job training and earn an associate in applied science in Automotive Systems Technology from Forsyth Tech. Also, they will earn national and state Journeyworker credentials and industry certifications.

Forsyth Tech is the only college in the Carolinas and one of only 34 centers across the United States to receive Toyota T-TEN Certification for its Automotive Systems Technology program. With 68 Toyota and Lexus dealers supporting the Toyota T-TEN program in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Forsyth Tech has placed 165 students in Toyota and Lexus dealerships over the past five years.

“This is a tremendous expansion for our Toyota T-TEN program to provide additional certifications and Jouneryworker credentials to students as another level of mastery in their experience,” said President of Forsyth Tech Janet Spriggs. “Our T-TEN graduates are highly-skilled and in demand, and this will enhance the value of their education and opportunities.”

The NC Department of Public Instruction has also created a statewide registered pre-apprenticeship which will feed into Forsyth Tech’s registered apprenticeship. As part of the pre-apprenticeship, high school students will complete the Automotive Service II course and a 135- hour internship with a local dealer. Pre-apprentices will learn about the three participating apprenticeships that they can apply for, one of which is Forsyth Tech’s T-TEN program. If a pre-apprentice continues into the T-TEN apprenticeship program, they are eligible for a North Carolina Youth Apprentice Tuition Waiver to attend Forsyth Tech.

Together, these programs will broaden recruitment efforts for future automotive technicians and create career paths for North Carolina students. For more information on Toyota T-TEN at Forsyth Tech, go to!. If you are a dealer interested in participating, please contact Danielle Rose, the apprenticeship coordinator, at If you are a student interested in applying for Forsyth Tech’s Toyota T-TEN program, please contact David Conner, program coordinator, automotive systems technology, at

About Forsyth Technical Community College 

Forsyth Technical Community College provides students with guided educational pathways into a competitive workforce for the community and global economy. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.  For additional information, please visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

2100 Silas Creek Parkway

Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103 

Contact: Devin Purgason
Digital Media Manager
cell: 336-430-030

20 Doctoral Students to Represent NC State College of Education at National Conferences through Belk Center Fellows Program

Maggie May ‘23EDD, an adjunct faculty member in the North Carolina Community College System and a doctoral student in the NC State College of Education’s Community College Leadership program, had never applied for a fellowship opportunity before, so she was “awestruck” when she was selected to be one of 20 Belk Center Fellows.

As a fellow, May will represent the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s virtual 2021 Innovations Conference from March 1-4, 2021.

“The individuals who are going to be presenting at this conference are leaders and movers and shakers in the field and I hope to be able to have a pulse on innovation with the community college system and just be part of the conversation,” May said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of an institution like NC State that stretches even beyond North Carolina with it’s connections and mentorship opportunities.”

The Belk Center’s Fellows Program began in the 2017-18 academic year through a partnership with Achieving the Dream — a non-government reform movement focused on helping community college students have better economic opportunities — and the creation of a cohort of DREAM Fellows. It has since expanded to include a partnership with the League for Innovation in Community College.

The goal of the Fellows program is to bring together a select group of doctoral students to listen and engage in national conversations surrounding community college and student success, explained Laura Maldonado ‘20PHD, a senior research associate at the Belk Center.

“DREAM Fellows provide a perspective on our annual DREAM convening in a way that only a doctoral student in educational leadership can – simultaneously making connections as both a practitioner and as a student who is constantly asked to reflect on theories in the field,” said Elayne Reiss, director of research at Achieving the Dream. “As Achieving the Dream strives to deliver evidence-rich content to community college professionals in an effort to improve levels of success for all students, the organization values the contributions of the DREAM Fellows, who help to weigh in on the ability of our DREAM content to make those links between evolving theory and current, relevant practice.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Belk Center to bring these higher education leaders and scholars to our Innovations Conference, where they explore key issues facing community colleges and promising, innovative practices these institutions are using to address current challenges,” said Cynthia Wilson, Ed.D., vice president for learning and chief impact officer at the League for Innovation.

Fellows who attend the Innovations Conference prepare an executive summary on the major themes, issues and questions presented at the conference to assist the League with event evaluation, and some will make presentations of their own during the event.

Sonia Chandarana Tandon ‘23EDD, a faculty member and chair for the Humanities Enrichment Series at Forsyth Technical Community College, will be sharing a proposal entitled “My Perfectly Imperfect Online Class that Thrives Beyond the Pandemic.” The presentation is intended for educators who envision themselves engaging in online instruction after it is no longer required by the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on ideas that include humanizing online classes, creating relevance in instruction, applying inclusive pedagogy and how to build a supportive community in online classrooms.

“I chose this topic for two reasons. Historically speaking, a good 50% of the classes I teach have been online, and now with the pandemic, I have transitioned 100% to online synchronous and asynchronous teaching,” Tandon said. “Creating positive student experiences in online courses is my driving mantra. Additionally, if I can in some measure contribute to the pedagogy around that, it would be hugely rewarding.”

Belk Center Fellows who will attend the Innovations Conference and those who had the opportunity to attend Achieving the Dream’s 2021 virtual DREAM conference from Feb. 16-19 also expressed an interest in learning more about topics related to equity in the community college system.

May said she is excited to hear how community college leaders from across the nation approach student success with the ideas of equity and access in mind in order to make real change.

That sentiment was echoed by Fellow Stephanie Lackey ‘23EDD, program coordinator for early childhood education at Forsyth Technical Community College.

“Exposure to nationally acclaimed leaders and practitioners and their approaches to relevant national issues and strategies on student-focused culture will provide me with practical insight into future community college leadership,” she said. “I am excited to hear community college leaders’ voices in how they are supporting courageous conversations and authentic programs that support the success and belonging of all students, faculty and staff.”