JCJC student earns new DISTINCT CTE state honor

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2017-03-02 21:44:42

ELLISVILLE – A non-traditional Jones County Junior College student and Hattiesburg resident was recently selected to receive a new state award for her accomplishments. Twenty-nine year old, Painesville, Ohio, native, Erica Murphy was recently honored as the January recipient of the Mississippi Community College Board’s, Determined, Inspiring, Smart, Talented, Innovative, and Notable (DISTINCT) Career and Technical Education student of the month.
“I’m extremely proud to have earned this award. I’m glad my hard work in the classroom is not going unnoticed. It hasn’t been easy working 30 hours a week in addition to taking college classes full-time.  I’m proud of what I’ve been able to achieve so far and this absolutely motivates me to keep up this hard work. I know in the end it will be worthwhile,” said Murphy.
The Computer Information Systems Technology major said after working a couple of years in retail in Hattiesburg, she realized the job wasn’t leading her in the direction she wanted to go. After researching college options in the Pine Belt, Murphy visited with career advisors at Jones which helped her narrow down her career options.
“I feel like this degree is the first step of many in reaching my full potential.  I’ll start off in Information Technology after graduating in May, probably troubleshoot, put computers together or at a ‘help desk.’  I hope to work my way up to being a Linux system administrator and/or do work in program development,” said Murphy.
Her CIST instructor at Jones, Mitch Dubose shared Murphy’s good grades, dependability, wonderful attitude, professionalism, dedication and leadership qualities have set the bar high for other students. Dubose added those qualities inspired him as an instructor and it is the reason why he nominated Murphy for the DISTINCT CTE honor. 
“When a student wins this type of award, other students take notice.  They’ve asked questions and believe they can win the award too.  Erica has set the bar high for other students who have noticed that she gets her work done, has a good, professional attitude and she presents herself as a professional every day.  She’s on time, in class, ready to learn computer networking.  Erica has really set high expectations for other students!” said Dubose, who also chairs the CIST department.
The Mississippi Community College Board’s Office of Career and Technical Education director, Valeria Williams explained this new statewide honor through nominations at the state’s 15 community colleges is an effort to spotlight excelling students.
“The recognition began as a way to tell the story of Career and Technical Education in Mississippi. As a group, the community colleges do an awesome job sharing the news about how well the students and programs perform.  However, it is rare that the story reaches our external partners and community members.  The DISTINCT CTE student award is our way of telling our story to a broader audience,” said Williams.
The students selected as the DISTINCT CTE student of the month are chosen by a committee of CTE directors and administrators.  The DISTINCT CTE Student of the Year will be selected from the monthly winners by that same committee.  If selected as the DISTINCT CTE Student of the Year, Murphy will receive a plaque acknowledging the accomplishment among other prizes.  The overall winner will also be recognized during the CTE/Workforce Summer Conference in August.
“We are proud a Jones student like Erica Murphy was one of the first students in the state to be recognized for the DISTINCT CTE honor. If the other monthly winners are anything like Erica, the competition is going to be tough in selecting an overall winner. However, I think Erica is going to be hard to beat,” said Dubose.  


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