U.Va.'s Groundbreaking Partnership with Tidewater Community College Produces First Graduate, Audrey Catalfamo of Virginia Beach

May 4, 2007 -- On May 20, Audrey Catalfamo of Virginia Beach, Va., will become the first student to graduate with a University of Virginia diploma through a groundbreaking partnership program between Tidewater Community College and U.Va., that allows TCC students and recent alumni to earn a U.Va. degree while taking classes on TCC campuses. The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies is a degree completion transfer program offered by U.Va.'s School of Continuing and Professional Studies for students who have earned at least 60 credits of undergraduate studies. Catalfamo will walk the Lawn at the University of Virginia commencement in Charlottesville on May 20, earning the first U.Va. undergraduate degree awarded to a student taking classes based at a Virginia community college campus.

Launched in 2004, this partnership brings U.Va. faculty to the TCC campuses to teach U.Va.'s BIS curriculum to students. If a TCC student has completed at least 15 TCC credits (among at least 60 total undergraduate credits), he or she is eligible to transfer into the BIS/TCC partnership program. Catalfamo is the first student to complete, through the new program, the 120 total credits required for a BIS diploma.

"It's been great pursuing this high-caliber education, from a top-ranked university, right here at home," said  Catalfamo, 26, a wife and mother of a 3-year-old daughter, who completed the program over the past three years while working full time in sales and marketing at two securities firms. "The program has been challenging, with extensive reading and scores of paper writing. I've had to stay ultra organized to get it all done."

Catalfamo chose to concentrate on the social sciences for her BIS degree. Her capstone project investigated community-based HIV/AIDS youth education programs in Africa, and the lessons to be learned from the successes and failures of specific programs. While she considers possibly attending graduate school or working for a non-profit advocacy group, for the immediate future she plans to continue working in the securities industry, noting opportunities for advancement now that she has the U.Va. degree. "I've been working in this industry for seven years, and with this achievement I see more doors opening for me."

To learn more about the unique TCC/U.Va. partnership, visit: www.tcc.edu//news/press/2003/1107uva.htm.