GTCC student, employee, partnership given MLK service award for community impact

Published on: January 21, 2024
The winners of the MLK service award pose for a picture with GTCC President Anthony Clarke, Ph.D. and Ann Proudfit, Ph.D.
Ann Proudfit, Ph.D. (left), Chief Gene Sapino, David Pittman, Ph.D., Natashia McEachern, Catina Galloway, Ph.D., Bryson Nicoletta, and Anthony Clarke, Ph.D., pose for a group photo to celebrate the recipients' awards.

2023 proved to be a year of community service for the Guilford Technical Community College community. This year, there were three recipients of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award: culinary student Bryson Nicoletta; Catina Galloway, Ph.D., department chair of psychology and sociology; and the Out of the Garden Project partnership with Titan Link.

In honor of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this award honors members and partnerships within the GTCC community who demonstrate a commitment to Dr. King's ideals and further the college's commitment to diversity. Nominees must exemplify a commitment to fostering a diverse campus community and a personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bryson Nicoletta

Nicoletta is a student in the hospitality management program, set to receive his degree in spring 2024. He also completed the culinary arts program in the fall of 2023.

In his time at GTCC, Nicoletta found a way to combine his passion for cooking with his desire to help others and contribute to his community.

Nicoletta was nominated for the MLK, Jr. Service award for his involvement in the American Culinary Federation, the largest organization of professional chefs in the United Sates. Now president of the local chapter, Nicoletta has organized several opportunities to provide much needed food to the community.

In December, the chapter visited Caring Services, a drug rehabilitation center in High Point, NC. There, they cooked a fresh holiday meal for all the patients, totaling roughly 60 meals.

The chapter also held a fundraiser for the Jesse Pitonzo scholarship, named for a GTCC culinary student who tragically passed in February of 2023. They raised close to $30,000 by selling tickets to sample various dishes, desserts, and pastries.

“I’m beyond blessed to have such an easy passion to serve my community with,” said Nicoletta. “As a chef, I can feed everyone, because there’s not one person on this planet that doesn’t eat.”

“Poverty and hunger are very real problems, in America and so many other countries. One day, I would love to have the resources to go to those other countries and serve.”

Catina Galloway, Ph.D.

In 2021, Galloway initiated and led the Inclusion for Impact Program at GTCC. She developed a process to recruit and train diverse potential hires for positions within faculty and staff as a way to contribute to GTCC’s diversity and inclusion initiative.

The Inclusion for Impact Program provides qualified candidates with paid internships at GTCC. The program also provides equitable educational outcomes for all students representing all backgrounds.

Galloway recruited credentialed diverse hires to participate in this internship to increase the diversity of the faculty and staff that serve our students. She has been instrumental in increasing the college’s diversity and equity.

“I believe that equity is important and has the ability to positively impact the students,” said Galloway, explaining why she launched the internship program. “This program has given individuals avenues to achieve what they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to reach.”

“As we work to decrease equity gaps with faculty of color in higher education, we are decreasing the injustices of our system.”

Sabrina Boyer, Ph.D., works alongside Galloway as an associate professor of English and humanities.

“I cannot imagine someone more in tune with the tenets that Martin Luther King Jr. espoused,” said Boyer in her recommendation letter to the committee. “Through service, reputation, character, integrity, equity, inclusion, and leadership, Dr. Catina Galloway exemplifies all of these characteristics and more, and I am so thankful and lucky I get to work alongside such a wonderful, truly innovative and thoughtful person.”

The Out of the Garden Project

Titan Link and the Out of the Garden Project partnered up in 2023 to provide fresh produce, meats, breads, and shelf-stable items for free to anyone who is in need. The partnership is set to last until the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

The fresh mobile market is set up once a month on the GTCC High Point campus, allowing community members to drive or walk up to the booth and take home boxes of food. In only 5 months, 30,185 pounds of food have been given away since the market began in August of 2023. That amounts to over 1,800 individuals served, including 740 children.

The partnership came to fruition when Out of the Garden cold called David Pittman, Ph.D., associate vice president of student retention and completion at GTCC, to set up the market. Though they originally suggested hosting the market on the Jamestown campus, Pittman

encouraged them to consider the High Point campus, where he saw a greater need for their efforts.

“This is one of the poorest zip codes in the state, and we’re in a food desert,” said Pittman. “When people thank us, they are truly genuine. You can tell by the look in their eyes, their voice, and the expression on their face that this is helpful for them.”

GTCC also hosts fresh mobile markets on the Greensboro campus once a month on behalf of Bessemer Elementary school. See all the Out of the Garden dates here:

The winners will be presented with their awards at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration event on Wednesday, Jan. 24. GTCC partnered with UNC Greensboro, North Carolina A&T University, and Greensboro college to host this event.

If you wish to support your outstanding GTCC community members, the event is free and open to the public. You can find more details here.

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