Micara Lewis-Sessoms ’20EDD Selected as Inaugural Recipient of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges Community College Professional Award
Micara Lewis-Sessoms ’20EDD, a research affiliate with NC State College of Education’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research and the director of Work-based Education and Apprenticeship at Durham Technical Community College, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges Community College Professional Award.
The award recognizes a community college professional who has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in community colleges.
“Receiving the inaugural Community College Professional Award from the Council for the Study of Community Colleges is humbling,” said Lewis-Sessoms, a 2020 graduate of the College of Education’s community college leadership doctoral program. “Being considered in such regard by my colleagues in community college research and practice means a lot to me. The award affirms that my service matters. I am truly grateful.”
In honoring Lewis-Sessoms with the award, the council cited her “decades of research, mentoring and service in support of community colleges,” as well as the work she is currently engaged in at both Durham Tech and the Belk Center.
At the Belk Center, Lewis-Sessoms is actively engaged in the NC Reconnect program, which is designed to recruit and retain adult learners who have previously left college. In the role, she serves as a leader by encouraging critical thinking about how community college policies impact students from varying backgrounds. She also works with a research team affiliated with the Belk Center that is engaging in in-depth equity case studies of multiple colleges.
Audrey Jaeger, W. Dallas Herring Professor and executive director of the Belk Center, said the knowledge Lewis-Sessoms brings to the center’s research has increased its value for those it is designed to serve.
“In all of her roles, she exhibits exceptional determination, strong commitment to equity and unwavering desire to support the success of community college students,” Jaeger said.
At Durham Tech, Lewis-Sessoms’s mission is to connect students with employers through apprenticeships, internships and other forms of training. She has developed industry partnerships to provide work-based learning courses across 17 programs and she has also established 12 apprenticeship opportunities offered by the community college. Lewis-Sessoms also serves as the co-chair of Durham Tech’s Equity and Inclusion Council.
“Micara Lewis-Sessoms is a difference-maker,” said J.B. Buxton, president of Durham Technical Community College. “You can see her impact over the years in the classroom, in new paths to employment, in work-based learning experiences for students, and in equity leadership at the college and state levels. I am pleased to see the Council for the Study of Community Colleges’ recognition of how Micara’s leadership has benefitted Durham Tech, our students and our community.”