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Valerie Edwards

Major/Minor:  Aviation Science with a minor in Aviation Management
Class: Senior
Hometown: Kinston, NC nicknamed K-Town
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, watching comical shows such as True TV., boxing and shooting at the gun range.  Interests include volunteering and giving back to the community that has given so much to me.
Clubs/Organizational Memberships/Honor Society: National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. Mr. Elizabeth City State University 2014-2015, member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, Vice President of Active Minds, Vice President of Career Services Advisory Board, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Ambassador for ECSU, V.A.N.S.
Campus events you enjoyed participating in and the reason(s): One campus event that I love participating in is Welcome Back Week. This event shows Viking Pride from students who are just becoming Vikings along with returning Vikings; it captures the family orientated aspect of an HBCU and shows students that we can have a good time without any negativity, but most importantly it shows faculty, staff, and student leaders that we enjoy the work that is put in to have a great time at school. The other event that I enjoyed was the Student Appreciation Day event on campus that was hosted by Student Affairs. This event gave student leaders like myself a reward for working 2 or 3 jobs, maintaining a high grade point average (GPA), and still giving all our time to help improve the university.
Your words to live by: “That in which does not kill us makes us stronger.”- Friedrich Nietzsche. I can identify with that statement made famous by the German philosopher. My mom’s parents died when she was four, as a result of a violent family tragedy. There was a void was in my mother’s life.  Of course it created a void in my life as well.  This tragedy left me to live without grandparents to seek wisdom from or to be abundantly loved by. The three most important persons in my life are my mom, Cleo Patterson, godmother, Sharome Brown, and my paternal grandmother who lives in Cleveland Ohio, Myra Moffatt. These 3 women were there every step of the way.  What one could not provide financially, emotionally, or physically, the other two would provide it. Upon, my enrollment at ECSU my mom had been unemployed for one year. I worked three jobs my freshman year--- in the Office of the Registrar, as a lawn serviceman for Roosevelt Walker, and at Kentucky Fried Chicken. I finished my freshman year with a 3.9 GPA. My mother found a job after 28 months of searching. I look back at my accomplishments of being a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarship (TMCF) recipient, a national winner for the Toyota Green Campus Contest, Mr. Elizabeth City State University, the only freshman to be selected from Elizabeth City State University as a Leadership Institute attendee for TMCF, a Summer Intern at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and I have to say “that and which did not kill us (Myself and Mother) made me stronger”. The person that deserves the Viking Profile is Cleo Patterson.
Plans after graduating from ECSU: I have multiple plans or options. I have considered residing in Elizabeth City and creating a youth partnership with any company willing to assist so that I can give the community of Elizabeth City a comfort zone. There are not many opportunities for the youth of Elizabeth City and this does not improve any generations that have to grow to become strong men and women of the future.
Favorite place on campus: My favorite place on campus besides my organization’s Greek plot would be the picnic area outside of the New Student Center. This area is relaxing and is well shaded with the umbrellas.  You could eat your takeout meals and still enjoy a beautiful day with a nice breeze.
Professor who has influenced you the most: The professor that has influenced me the most has been Ms. Robin Mangham. She never left me with a question unanswered and always encouraged me to do my best no matter how large the challenge. She has been the best academic advisor a student could ask for. Orestes Gooden is also a favored professor. He shown tough love when I needed it, shown emotions when I needed it, wrote recommendation letters when I needed it, and has been there to tell me everything that I was going through in school would pay off when I needed it the most. I also have two faculty and staff member that I would like mentioned ¾ Mrs. Makitta-Whitehurst-McLean, and Danielle Fox. Mrs. Makitta-Whitehurst-McLean, director of Career Services has worked with me hands-on to sharpen my professional skills. Ms. Danielle Fox, coordinator of Viking Assisting New Students (V.A.N.S), has given me the chance to help freshman students by hiring me as a V.A.N.S.  She provided the best advice as a counselor.        
Advice for other students: The advice I would give to students is to “Elevate Higher, Emerge Stronger”. Once you attend ECSU as a freshman, you have taken that step to elevate higher by furthering your education, but that is only half the battle; you have to use the family and opportunities that ECSU provides to emerge stronger.
Dream job: My dream job is to work in a customer service orientated business that puts the safety of the business and of the customers first. I dream of finding a job at an airport before I graduate in May.  I’d like to make the airport more enjoyable for customers and keep it a safe place for everyone.

When he was very young, Donyai Moffatt took his first plane trip to visit his grandmother in Ohio, and from that very first flight, he knew that he wanted to be involved in aviation, somehow, somewhere. Eventually, that interest took him to ECSU, because it has one of the few university-level academic degree programs in aviation. But first, he had to grow up in Kinston, NC without a father around. A tragedy had deprived him of his two grandparents on his mother’s side, but he grew up loved and supported by his mother, his godmother and his maternal grandmother.

“These three women - my mom, my godmother and my grandmother - were there every step of the way for me and what one could not provide financially, emotionally, or physically, the other two would make up for it and cover our needs. Upon my enrollment at ECSU, my mom had been unemployed for a year. I worked three jobs that freshman year - in the Registrar’s Office, through my mentors Vincent Beamon and Mable Riddick, yard work for Roosevelt Walker, and at a local restaurant, to which I transferred from my hometown of Kinston. It was a good year, because I finished my first year with a 3.9 GPA and my mom found a job after 28 months of searching. Since then, I’ve received a Thurgood Marshall College Foundation (TMCF) Scholarship for Miller-Coors, been a national winner for Toyota’s Green Campus Contest, elected Mr. Elizabeth City State University 2014-2015, became the only freshman to be selected from ECSU as a Leadership Institute attendee for TMCF, earned a summer internship at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and I have to say, to paraphrase Nietzsche, “that which did not kill us (myself and mother) made me/us stronger”. I appreciate the honor of this profile, but the person who deserves it more is my mom, Cleo Patterson.”

“I was lucky. I could have migrated to the streets like some of my high school classmates did, but I had loving support all around me, even though we didn’t have much. And the great thing about ECSU is that it’s really a family away from home. They support you when you need it, push you when you might not be trying hard enough and, overall, are there to help you do what you’re capable of doing.”

“And, speaking about support, I have to mention four special people without whom I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all I’ve done here at ECSU. Two are professors, two are staff employees. Professor Robin Mangham, retired US Navy, taught me what I needed to know about Air Traffic Control. She has always encouraged me to do my best no matter how large the challenge, and has answered my questions when I needed the help. Aviation Science Professor Orestes Gooden’s passion for encouraging young men like me to make something of themselves has motivated me to do the same for the younger students I’ve met. He gave me support when I needed it, showed tough love when that was called for, and wrote the recommendation letters I needed. Outside the classroom, Ms. Markitta Whitehurst-McClean, director of Career Services, has worked with me (and many others) to sharpen my professional skills and make me aware of the many opportunities in the world. Ms. Danielle Fox, the counselor/coordinator for the Vikings Assisting New Students (V.A.N.S) program, introduced me to the program and has given me the chance to help freshman students by hiring me as a V.A.N.S associate. This wonderful program for first year students helped me immeasurably and I have been giving back through the program ever since.”

Donyai has big plans for his future. Upon graduation, he may stay in Elizabeth City and create a youth partnership organization if he can get corporate sponsorships. Eventually, he wants to work in air traffic control or in airport management, doing his part to make the skies safer and the process on the ground smoother.