Success at Work: Joseph Whiting

After learning about the positive experiences of three family members who attended the College, Joseph Whiting enrolled as a full-time student in the spring of 2015. However, it wasn’t quite the experience he hoped for.

“When I initially enrolled at TCC, I experienced a severe culture shock. As an individual who was homeschooled and has 48% hearing capacity, I had multiple obstacles to overcome, both internal and external,” he said. “My learning style that I had developed over the years was not transferrable to TCC, and this became immediately evident when I failed a math class.”

Joseph realized that he had become complacent, which negatively impacted his skills in critical thinking, communication and leadership. “I recognized that if I truly cared about my life and achieving any prospect of fulfillment, I needed to make some sacrifices. Through the faculty and education at TCC Northwest, those opportunities for change were possible and available.”

When he retook the math class, Joseph said he diligently studied on campus from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Additionally, he participated in Supplemental Instruction sessions, took free tutoring at the Math Lab and visited his professor during office hours. Using “a plethora of colored pencils and notecards,” he worked through the problems “relentlessly” and used acronyms to memorize terms.

Thinking back on his time at TCC, Joseph acknowledges several people who helped him in his academic journey.  “My advisor, Alex Vargas, was one of the most sincere and knowledgeable people I met,” he said. “She took time to know me and identify opportunities for my development. One of those was the Cornerstone Honors Society, where I transformed the most, both personally and professionally.”

He says through Cornerstone, he learned that he is “extroverted, passionate about connection and community.” He believes that “every professor and student (he) interacted with in Cornerstone was dedicated and committed to (his) betterment.”

Others who made a difference in Joseph’s life while he attended TCC included TCC Northwest President Zarina Blankenbaker, who he considers a “kind and wise mentor, demonstrating unequivocable mastery of listening and remembering.”  While he served as an instructional assistant in the Academic Learning Lab, he said his manager, April Trafton, “led with grace and care.” Additionally, he says, “Her insight exemplified to me what a qualified leader looks like and the benefits of attention to detail regarding process improvements.” Vesta Martinez, director of student development services, made an impression upon Joseph through her “exuberant joy and thankfulness.” He said she “conveyed the importance of treating all employees and students with compassion.”

He describes his professors as “fantastic, equipped to instruct us about their field of expertise.” He flourished under the teaching of instructors such as Carol Hunsberger, whose wisdom and humor helped him grow in his communication and listening skills as well as his confidence.

Joseph received several scholarships for which he applied. “These were greatly appreciated, as they alleviated the costs of my classes, books, supplies and commute.”

He says TCC had a positive impact on him in leadership. “I enrolled at TCC as a hesitant, indecisive and lost individual with no sense of direction. Three years later, I graduated as a confident, purposeful and joyful person capable of leading others,” he said. “My critical thinking expanded significantly. I learned that I highly enjoy education and professional development.” Joseph says this led him to change his major from English to Human Resources.

Joseph also learned about leadership through his involvement in two honor societies. He served as president for the Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society and as vice president to the chair of leadership for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. “Through leading (with) these two societies, I recognized the value of self-expression that does not come at the detriment of other voices and thoughts being heard. I (also) discovered the beauty of a united community, and that humility is more powerful than reputation.”

Following his time at TCC, Joseph went on to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in Business Management and Marketing from the University of Texas at Arlington. He now works there as a human resources coordinator managing the Lockheed Martin College Work Experience Program (CWEP). According to the UTA website, the CWEP “allows undergraduate and graduate students to gain real-world work skills and abilities relevant to their academic and career goals.”

Joseph has advice for those considering enrolling at TCC. “No matter what stage of life you are at, TCC is more than a college. For me, it was and still is
home.” After starting his time at TCC when he was nervous and complacent, he learned when he invested time and care that he saw fruit from his efforts. “If you invest in your present, your future will reap the benefits.” He said that according to conversations he has had with TCC students, they didn’t regret enrolling for classes, but rather were thankful for the opportunity. Joseph was as well. “Due to the education, memories and friendships I accumulated, I graduated from TCC as a far better person, thus exceeding any monetary value.”

Are you experiencing Success at Work thanks to your time at TCC?  If so, please let us know. We love hearing about the success of our graduates!  Contact us at, and we’ll be in touch.