Vice President Harris’ Visit Leaves GTCC Students, Staff With Tremendous Sense Of Pride

Published on: April 19, 2021
Vice President Harris addresses the limited crowd at GTCC's Center for Advanced Manufacturing building.

JAMESTOWN, N.C. (April 19, 2021) – Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guilford Technical Community College Monday to tout President Joe Biden’s America’s Job Plan. She did that and more. She left GTCC students and staff with a sense of pride for college and community.

“Guilford Technical Community College was excited to host Vice President Kamala Harris,” said Dr. Anthony Clarke, president of GTCC. “We were excited to get the call from the White House, asking if they could host the event at the college. Her selection of GTCC is a reflection of the great work that our faculty, staff, and students, both past and present, do to meet the workforce needs of Guilford County and the Triad. It is also a reflection of the generous support of the elected officials and citizens of Guilford County who have invested in GTCC and built an amazing institution worthy of recognition and a visit from the vice president. I know her visit has motivated everyone at GTCC to aspire and achieve even more every day.”

Harris’ address at GTCC laid out many details of the administration’s America’s Job Plan, which still needs approval from congress. Much of what she covered detailed the importance of community colleges in the plan, especially those heavily involved in technical training like GTCC.

“We can’t just talk about higher education without thinking about what kind of training Americans need to get hired. Instead of simply framing it as higher education, let’s create a variety of opportunities for education after high school,” said Harris.

“And, for some, that’s a training program or an apprenticeship to get the certificate they need to get the job they want. For some, that’s a technical college, just like this one. And for others, it’s a four-year college degree.”

That resonated with Vanessa Keshguerian, a GTCC senior who was selected to introduce Harris to a gathering of about 30, a number kept low in deference to COVID-19 as CDC protocols were followed stringently.

Keshguerian has a four-year degree and spent two years working as a community and educational interpreter. But she felt something was missing in her life and in 2019 enrolled in the computer integrated machining technology program at GTCC.

“I left the start of a career path as an educational interpreter and the time I invested in that to come back to school and pursue a technical trade degree,” said Keshguerian, who called her introduction of the vice president “an extraordinary honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“I was proud to see my school and my program in the national spotlight as Madam Vice President spoke of bringing us into the future by developing a skilled workforce and bringing good jobs to the community that is so much a part of who I am. I am proud of this program and what I am accomplishing here with the support of my professors. I will always remember this day.”

Bryan McMasters, a 42-year-old non-traditional GTCC student who will receive a music business degree and an associates of arts transfer degree in May, agrees with Keshguerian. He was one of a handful of students selected to attend the event, an event that is forever etched in his memory.

“Today’s experience was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments that we all hope to eventually have in life,” said McMasters, who also drives a postal department big rig fulltime. “It was an honor to be chosen, but the gesture of the invitation itself was even more meaningful.

“Looking around the room made it clear that there was enough power and influence to survive without me being there, however, it speaks to the fact that the involvement and inspiration of students, even at an event of this magnitude, remains a top priority to GTCC, and for that I am grateful.”

Jessi Balogh, an adult education GTCC student, has traveled the world. She was raised in Israel, has lived in several different countries, and speaks four languages fluently. Despite all of that, nothing tops her experience Monday.

“It was the greatest honor of my adult life,” the 42-year-old Balogh said of the opportunity to attend Monday’s event. “I never knew that when I began my education at GTCC that it would open so many doors or that I would feel so capable of accomplishing the things that my mother always told me I was capable of.”

To view Keshguerian’s speech and introduction of Vice President Harris, visit

About Guilford Technical Community College: Guilford Technical Community College is the fourth largest of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC serves more than 27,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.




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