Helping Students Succeed: Meet FastForward Career Coach Adrianna Culbertson

For some of us, when we see an opportunity to help someone in need, we jump right in and give it everything we have. Adrianna Culbertson, the FastForward Career Coach at Southwest Virginia Community College, is one of those people.

Culbertson came to SWVCC as a part-time instructor for the TRIO Upward Bound program, a federally-funded program that helps prepare low-income high school students for higher education.

“I worked as an instructor with Upward Bound for three years, and while I was really enjoying my position, a new position opened up that sounded like a wonderful opportunity,” Culbertson said. “It would give me the chance to build upon my current experience and work with students from many backgrounds to help them find their path to success.”

As fate would have it, Culbertson ran into the person who managed this new position and took the opportunity to ask him about the role and its responsibilities. Soon, she was hired as SWVCC’s first FastFoward Career Coach.

In her new role, Culbertson serves as a resource for students who are looking to better themselves and support their families by getting into a new career or advancing in their current field.

“I love helping students find opportunities to better themselves,” she said. “They’ve taken the first step to come here, so I sit and do a lot of listening to assess what they’re looking for, what goals they have – and once we settle on a path, we figure out what classes will help them achieve those goals.”

First-time students, career switchers, child care issues, financial needs. There’s no situation that Culbertson can’t navigate.

“Everyone’s story is completely different form the next person who comes in the office,” she said. “What works for one student isn’t always what works for the other.”

SWVCC just launched its heavy equipment operator program, and welding is another one of its big training opportunities. But no matter what students choose to pursue, taking the leap to make a change is the first step, and FastForward Career Coaches like Adrianna are there to help with the next ones.

If you’d like to talk to a FastForward Career Coach, use our contact form to get connected with the coach nearest you.