Forsyth Tech Student Han Nguyen Awarded Prestigious Scholarship

Han Nguyen

Han Nguyen, a student that graduated from Forsyth Tech this spring, has been awarded the prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship provides students transferring from community colleges to four-year universities up to $55,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees at the college of their choice. The scholarship is awarded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Nguyen graduated from Forsyth Tech with an associate in science and will attend Liberty University in the fall to study Biomedical Sciences. Upon earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to enroll in medical school to pursue an M. D. and eventually join Doctors Without Borders. Nguyen is currently an intern for the Radiological Control Technician Training Program through August.

While at Forsyth Tech, Nguyen was always a stand-out student; she participated in Phi Theta Kappa and was the New Century Transfer Scholarship recipient, she was in Alpha Mu Beta, was a Global Scholar of Distinction, and was named the Academic Excellence Student and the Dallas Herring Nominee.

The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship had 1,200 applicants this year from 42 states and the District of Columbia. 100 scholarships were awarded, which was the largest cohort of scholars for the Cooke Foundation to date.

“We are thrilled for Han to be recognized and rewarded with a Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship!” said Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech. “Of course, it was no surprise, as Han’s academic excellence and commitment to service are unparalleled. She is a wonderful representative of how our Forsyth Tech grads are blazing new trails!”

Forsyth Tech Welcomes Governor Roy Cooper and Announces Free College for High School Seniors Graduating in 2022

Governor Roy Cooper Addresses Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Tech announced that it will continue its College Commitment grant program, which provides entirely free enrollment (tuition, books and fees) at the college for all graduating high school seniors.

Alongside Governor Cooper, Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech, announced that the college would extend its commitment to high school seniors – making college at Forsyth Tech totally free once again for all NC high school graduates in 2022.

“North Carolina’s community colleges are a major force in strengthening our students and growing our workforce,” said Governor Cooper. “The Longleaf Commitment community college grants program is already helping our students continue their education debt-free at one of our strong community colleges and it’s great to see the success of these grants lead to expanded access at Forsyth Tech.”

“We know that education is critical to success later in life, and we want to remove as many barriers to success as we can for our community’s youth,” said Dr. Spriggs. “We also know that North Carolina is the best state in the country for business, and for our economy to grow and thrive, we need to invest in high-quality, public higher education for all North Carolinians.”

After the announcement, Governor Cooper then participated in a roundtable discussion with four students currently enrolled at Forsyth Tech that took advantage of the 2021 College Commitment and Longleaf Grant.

Fnu Renuka, Melanie Moore, Derek Vance and Rebeca Coreas Zaldana all noted that they were honored to speak with Governor Cooper, and were proud to share their experiences at Forsyth Tech. “Because of the Longleaf Commitment Grant, I’ll be able to graduate without debt, which is great!” said Melanie Moore.

Renuka, who is currently enrolled in the Associate in Science program, and plans to transfer to a four-year university to become an emergency medicine physician said, “Forsyth Tech has given me a lot and I’ve met so many people with similar interests. I’ve really been able to learn and grow as a person.”

Current high school seniors who are interested in learning more about how to take advantage of the Longleaf Commitment Grant and Forsyth Tech’s Class of 2022 College Commitment should visit for more information.

Living Your Best Life: Listening Tour

​Dr. Spriggs and the President’s Advisory Council are co-hosting a Listening Tour!

Held over several days at every campus and center location, they would like to invite you to share how Forsyth Tech can support you – faculty and staff – in living your best life! We are here to listen!

The dates and times for each part of the Listening Tour are below.

Thursday, Nov. 4: 8:15 – 9:15 a.m., Transportation Technology Center, Room 207

Thursday, Nov. 4: 10 – 11 a.m., West Campus, Auditorium

Thursday, Nov. 4: 1 – 2 p.m., Mazie S. Woodruff Center, Room 114

Thursday, Nov. 4: 3 – 4 p.m., Grady P. Swisher Center, Room 114

Monday, Nov. 8:  8:15  – 9:15 a.m., Main Campus, Technology Building, Room 207

Monday, Nov. 8: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Main Campus, Facilities Break Room

Monday, Nov. 8: 10:45 – 11:45 a.m., Main Campus, Rhoades Conference Center

Monday, Nov. 8: 12 – 1 p.m., Main Campus, Bob Greene Hall

Tuesday, Nov. 9: 9 – 10 a.m., Northwest Forsyth Center, Room 234

Tuesday, Nov. 9: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Stokes County Forsyth Center, Room 115



Jonathan Thull Discovered a Place of Promise at Forsyth Tech

Jonathan Thull

If he hadn’t made a life-changing choice to attend Forsyth Tech, Jonathan Thull said his life might have turned out much differently. Now, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor- Supervisor with a graduate certificate in play therapy for children and adolescents, Thull has traveled the world, even living in Israel during the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War.

Thull said from where he started, he couldn’t imagine he would be where he is now.

“I wasn’t interested in high school and had difficulty focusing and concentrating. These issues were exacerbated by my ADHD and Learning disability and I might have placed somewhere on the Autism spectrum,” said Thull. “I dropped out of high school in 10th grade. As a high school dropout with a rebellious nature, I was easily drawn into some risky behavior. And, when I came right up to the edge of falling into serious trouble, that was my wake-up call.”

Shortly after, he enrolled in the Adult High School at Forsyth Tech. Yet, still battling some personal issues, he became frustrated and dropped out of school again with little direction and purpose in life.

He then realized he needed a high school certificate to pursue further education and help the world through the helping profession. Upon completion of his high school equivalency, he found his way to Forsyth Tech again.

Jonathan Thull“That’s when I fell in love with learning.” said Thull, “I found, what would be the best professor in my college career, Dr. James Fortuna, who was pivotal in guiding my education. He challenged me, influenced me and lit a fire in me. In my failure to thrive in my teenage years, Forsyth Tech gave me a softer place to land. Reflecting on my past, Forsyth Tech was the catalyst I needed to succeed.”

Getting the individualized support, he needed, Thull was able to take night classes at Forsyth Tech while working which helped him feel empowered and gave him more control over his life.

Earning his transfer associate degree in three years, Thull went on to the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology. He then continued his studies there, earning his master’s degree in conflict resolution. Thull was very interested in the conflict between Israel and Palestine and wanted to travel there.

“I went to Israel to volunteer doing peace work. Working in a youth commune was a profound experience for me,” said Thull. “When war broke out with Lebanon, I was living in the north of Israel near the border of Syria. Shortly after the war began, I started studying at Haifa University but the program moved students to Jerusalem for safety.  But he said, “Life just kept going there, the alarms would sound to take cover and when the bombing finished, another alarm would sound to alert an all clear.” That’s when Thull said his experience during war and witnessing protracted conflict led him back to the states to delve deeper into psychology beyond conflict resolution.

Thull earned his second master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a concentration in play therapy. He currently has his own counseling practice in Charlotte but has now opened a branch in Winston-Salem and is moving back to be closer to his family.

“The pandemic, for me had a silver-lining in a way,” said Thull. “I hadn’t worked in tele-counseling before and now that’s the counseling method I want to pursue as I start my counseling practice in the Triad and across North Carolina. With some of my teenage clients, for example, a computer screen is very comfortable for them since they spend so much time online or on games. I want to help them flourish and by using technology I enter into their world and help them solve problems! Knowing what I went through and my own disabilities, I can relate to them and they more easily relate to me. ”

Thull also hopes to one day to teach and share his story that education is different for everyone. Thull shares, “It works best when we discover what inspires us to learn. And that path for me began at Forsyth Technical Community College.”


In this crisis together: How community colleges are handling COVID-19.
The State Board of Community Colleges voted to approve five temporary amendments to help with the impact of COVID-19 in a conference call meeting today.
The amendments will be operational for 180 days or until the State Board rescinds them.

Bienenstock Furniture Library Announces 2020 Interior Design Competition Winners

$7,500 in scholarships awarded to three students. More than $460,000 has been awarded since the inception of the scholarships

High Point, NC — (March 2, 2020) Last week the Bienenstock Furniture Library Board of Directors announced the winners of the Library’s annual Interior Design Competition, awarding $7,500 in scholarships to distinguished scholars to continue their studies in Interior Design.

In addition, their schools will receive a $1,000 bonus to fund academic programs. The Bienenstock scholarship is open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college design program. The Library has awarded more than $460,000 in scholarship money to date. Winning entries can be viewed on the Library’s website at

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the official sponsor of the competition providing creative project ideas and assisting in the judging process. This is an annual competition and a new contest will be announced in May of 2020.

INTERIOR DESIGN COMPETITION Entrants were given the following real-world assignment:

Design a sleepover camp activity center for co-ed campers for all children, including special needs campers. Located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, design a private residence for camp director and executive offices for camp. All plans, drawings and specifications were given to the students. They were also asked to design a logo.

The competition received multiple entries from colleges throughout the country including: Saddleback College, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Tech, Randolph Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, University of Central Oklahoma and Savannah College of Art & Design.

The distinguished panel of judges included: Christi Spangle, Barbour Spangle Design; Kara Cox, Kara Cox Interiors; Brianne Verstat, Barbour Spangle Design; Gwen Emery, NCSU; Jessica Alpert, Gensler; June Anderson, ASID; Marilyn Russell, Baker Barrios, and Holly Woodward, Baker Furniture.

Wolike logo with a house on the backgroudThe winning entry was named Wëlike Playhouse submitted by Xin Schiffman of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. According to Schiffman, the name, Wëlike, (pronounced WOO-LEE-KAY) was derived from the indigenous Lena’pe Native Americans living in the area and literally means “He has a nice home.” She notes, “The name closely resembles “We like” in English, and connotes “we like the playhouse”, a fun and comfortable place that will
welcome every camper.” The design of the logo was adapted from a piece of furniture designed by Greg Klassen and is aptly named the Glass River, which combines the natural beauty of glass and natural wood, suggesting that a river runs through it. Rendered PlayhouseAccording to
Schiffman, In the Lena’pe language, “Pocono” means “A river between two mountains.” The river theme is carried throughout the design to connect the facility to the local surroundings. The river theme is carried throughout the entire design. A running river flows from the front entrance across the floor to create not only visual interest but also a traffic path.

She added, “The last important element of my design is nature. Sustainability is a priority in the design. Ecofriendly materials like local woods are cost-saving, while some new tech sustainable products are applied on the floors and ceilings. They are more durable and have a lower environmental cost than natural materials, but with a low carbon footprint.” The design concept is intended to create a friendly home for summer campers aged 8 to 14 of various backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles.

Floor Plant drawingJudge Christi Spangle commented: “Xin’s beautiful renderings helped to fully articulate the camp focused design concept. She clearly thought through the project, with great attention to detail and technical attention.

When asked to explain her inspiration, she added, “The regionally diverse cultures of the native Indians and the natural beauty of their geography. The picture of Delaware Water Gap reminded me of an American photographer, Laura Gilpin, who is known for her photography of Native Americans.

Gilpin’s quote is, ‘A river seems a magical thing. A magical, moving, living part of the very earth itself.’ I decided to use the concept of the river as my major design element.”

Xin Schiffman PhotoWhen asked about how she first became interested in Interior Design, she replied “I am originally from China and have been in this country for many years. I was a business major in college and an art lover since I was a teenager. Art museums are my favorite places to visit when I travel. When I helped my family to renovate an old house, I was overwhelmed by the many critical considerations like space planning, styles, materials, and furniture. I realized a systematic study would be helpful. That’s why I decided to start the Interior Design program at Saddleback College.” When asked about her career goals upon graduation and her long-term dream job , she said, “I spent quite a lot of time investigating new materials for this project and am amazed by all the new technologies which are not only energy-efficient with a low carbon footprint, but also provide great aesthetic appeal. I would like to apply what I have learned in the design of green, comfortable and affordable housing.”

Farida Gabdrakhmanova, Professor of Interior Design at Saddleback College said, “Xin strives to push the envelope of every project beyond what is required of the assignment, and this competition project was no exception. Her thorough geographical and historical research resulted in the strong design concept that incorporated the natural surroundings and local environs, the history of the native inhabitants, as well as the client’s requirements.

Thinking ‘outside the box,’ attention to details, and artistic approach produced a creative space plan reflecting a concept that was fully compliant with the program and code requirements. Xin artfully wove the history and the future through innovative materials, sustainable technologies, and selection of furniture and accessories inspired by the art and local historical cultures. She combines artistic vision and technical skills with a strong work ethic, and her project has bloomed like a beautiful flower with each petal having its meaning and purpose.”

Drawing showing a dancer on a stage.The second-place winner was Soraia DeSouza, who is also a student at Saddleback College, in Mission Viejo California. She receives a $1,500 scholarship to be applied to continuing her education. When asked about her intention, she replied, “Design concepts based on visual experiences create an interesting learning environment. In the great room called Forest, children can engage in activities such as crafts, reading or watching plays. They will be entertained the whole time while learning. The Center and its activities were designed under the universal design concept. Xin Schiffman First Place Winner Saddleback College

It’s a flexible space, accommodating to everyone. Sensory design and careful choices in the finishing materials induce a healthier experience by engaging children to the center.” Judge Holly Woodward complimented DeSouza’s project for its detailed thought of concept, excellent use of color, and organization.

Emberside batchThe third-place winner was Kevin Gerbrandt of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC. He receives a $1,000 scholarship to be applied to continuing education. Gerbrandt’s design focused on a return to nature. When asked about his inspiration, he replied, “In a world where we – and especially our youth – are more digitally connected than ever, we experience more loneliness and isolation. Responding to the problem of this e pidemic lies at the heart of my solution: to design a space in which our youth can build more authentic relationships with one another through increased connectivity not through technology, but through the land and the natural environment they inhabit.” Judge Bri Verstat noted, “Great use of space, organized floor plans, and excellent renderings.”

Kevin's Photo

An honorable mention went to Michelle Zoldano, Saddleback College, Mission Viejo California for her project, AGATventure Therapeutic Camp. Judges felt this was a strong project, deserving recognition for its layout and concept.

THE BIENENSTOCK SCHOLARSHIPS The annual Bienenstock Scholarship competitions are open to any junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college program of furniture design or interior design. Since 1984, the Library has awarded more than $460,000 in scholarships to students in hundreds of colleges and universities. Judging is blind—with no name or college shown with the submission. A distinguished panel of industry experts juried each competition.

ABOUT BIENENSTOCK FURNITURE LIBRARY The Library’s collection of more than 5,000 curated volumes, periodicals and original materials spans 600 years of design history, placing the full spectrum of design ideas – from the greatest movements to the smallest details – in the hands of tomorrow’s innovators and creators. In addition to endowing the next generation of designers with this rich array of resources, we create ideal conditions for the discovery and nurturing of the new design visions and ideologies that will transform the way we work and live. Beautiful workspaces invite students and professionals to become fully immersed in our materials. The sculpture garden surrounding the Library provides a place for quiet reflection. Meeting spaces and a multi-media seminar room provide space for professionals and organizations to speak about design, share information, solve industry challenges, and discuss the ideas that will shape tomorrow’s spaces. By serving as North America’s premier repository of design ideas, and creating a platform for study, reflection, collaboration, and outreach, the Bienenstock Furniture Library is the place where creative minds can touch history and design the future. The easiest way to stay up to date on the developments of the library is to “LIKE” its Facebook page at:


ASID logoASID is a community of people driven by a common love for design and committed to the belief that interior design, as a service to people, is a powerful, multi-faceted profession that can positively change people’s lives. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building and outreach, the Society strives to advance the interior design profession and, in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people’s lives. Its more than 30,000 members engage in a variety of professional programs and activities through a network of 48 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Founded in 1975, the American Society of Interior Designers is the

Recognizing His Digital Skills Beyond the Classroom

Asa Gordon

Winning a national award at SkillsUSA last year in video game design gave Asa Gordon the confidence to compete again this year in digital animation and 3D modeling. As he and his teammate, Alondra Chavez, won first place in the state competition in April, they are on track again this year to compete in the national competition in June, in Louisville, Kentucky. In fact, SkillsUSA was more than a competition as Gordon learned from another team about a game engine which he will soon share with architecture students.
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Forsyth Technical Community College Students Garner National Awards

Fourteen students from Forsyth Tech won awards, including five gold medals, during the SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Ky., June 25-29, 2018 during the 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students. Since the SkillsUSA state competition in Greensboro in April, students have been diligently preparing for the national competition and their efforts paid off.
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