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By Alumnus Erik Parker

When people think about post secondary education, their first though is "How do I go about trying to secure my future, career and education, and what program area should I invest my time and energy in."

Well, to introduce myself, my name is Erik Parker, and I had similar thoughts about my career in business, and I sought the help and assistance of the Halifax Community College Business Administration program, under the esteemed leadership and advisement of Mr. Lateef Balogun, Business Department Head, Advisor, awesome instructor and good friend.

I had an opportunity to realize the very importance of what a Business Administration Degree would mean to me. In my experience, a Business Administration Degree from Halifax Community College is the foundation and groundwork, to set the stage for your Bachelor and Master's level studies, as well as set your footprints in a career driven path. Not only that, but it gave me the motivation and necessary essentials associated with starting my own business in the Roanoke Valley area, B.E.A.M. Enterprises, an entertainment company, established 2001.

My personal experience and education resulted in life changing results. There are times in the lives of many, including myself, when furthering your education is very low on your to-do list. My experience at HCC altered the way I viewed my education and career path, and set the stage for me to go on to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Business from the father of historically black colleges and universities in the South, the one and only Shaw University (Shaw-U-Right, that's my copyrighted slogan!) in Raleigh, N.C., and a Master's in Management from Cambridge College, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I have to attribute my academic and career success to those that paved the way for me through career counseling, outside-the-box effective teaching methods, and caring and concerned faculty and staff of Halifax Community College. Honorable mention to Jim Skilton, whose selfless sharing of the operations of his own business, sparked my inspiration. Special thanks to my accounting instructor, Ms. Segars, who made accounting so easy to understand. These people were in part, responsible for me to pursue education far beyond my imagination, and I sincerely thank them for changing my life.

I encourage anyone that believes in him or herself to give your local community college an opportunity to set their lives in a path of education and career advancement. If it worked for me, believe me it can for anyone. Stay encouraged and help me, and HCC celebrate 40 years of excellent educational services to the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas.