Get to know the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and partners who help make Prince George’s Community College a place where anyone can achieve their professional, educational, and personal goals.

Marques Carr

PGCC alum Marques Carr graduated from the College in May 2023. While at PGCC, Mr. Carr participated in the Diverse Male Student Initiatives (DMSI) program, the Student Governance Association, and was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). In this reflective post-graduation interview, learn more about how Mr. Carr’s experience at PGCC prepared him for success as a Morgan State University student. This interview has been edited and condensed.

How did your PGCC experience prepare you to attend Morgan State University?

First and foremost, I want to thank God for allowing me to experience Prince George’s Community College and putting people in my life to push me to succeed. The people I encountered here gave me the opportunity to grow and be great. I learned a number of things, from life to academic lessons, but the best part was the journey.

My mentors prepared for my transition to Morgan State; they showed me how to balance education and life and how to stay open-minded. From professionalism to advocacy, from patience to representation, these are things I was given the opportunity to take part in during my time at PGCC.

As a student, you participated in the College’s DMSI program. What memories do you still treasure from that?

I wasn’t going to be part of the program at first due to some personal circumstances, but I got an email from the DMSI coordinator, Brian Hamlin, on the day of the first program and decided to make my way there. I became a part of something that was bigger than me. In DMSI, I met my brothers, who aren’t of blood relation, but we are bonded by brotherly love, respect, and a yearning for greatness.

One of my biggest memories was a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, at a conference called SAAB (Student African American Brotherhood). Brian Hamlin gave the keynote message, and he talked about “crucible moments.” He said, “Everything in your bloodline has been regular until you!” This stuck with me because it showed that I can be a difference-maker for my family and change everything. The second memory is when we prayed for this young man who was going through something in his home life, and we all held hands as men and prayed for the peace of his family. That was truly powerful. 

You mentioned a summer 2023 internship with Price Waterhouse Coopers in your last interview. As an accounting major, how impactful was this internship? How important do you think internships are for students seeking real-world experience?

My internship was amazing because it solidified the area in which I want to build my career. It put gas in my tank to keep pushing against any adversity that I may face. I believe it is imperative that students seek out these opportunities for on-the-job training. They give insight that schools won’t be able to provide, opportunities to build a professional network, and opportunities to step out of the campus comfort zone. Internships also give you a look into how your days would be spent if you choose to work at a particular organization.  

How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the accounting field?

I did my research on the field of accounting and realized that every area of business needs accountants. I also have passions and goals for myself and my future family, so I feel like accounting is the best avenue for me to reach those goals and be successful with what I want to do.

Have your career goals shifted since your transition? What things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

My career goals have stayed along the same path—they just became more focused. In the next five years, I will be a certified public accountant, be married to my girlfriend of over three years, and give back my time to help spark the next generation. I will have crafted the environment I want to introduce my future family to, and I will have a scholarship with my name on it at Prince George’s Community College.

Looking back on your time at PGCC, what are some of your biggest takeaways from being a student?

Don’t expect to reap the benefits of the work you didn’t put in. You can’t do nothing and get something—you have to put in the work.

Wise words given to me by one of my mentors are “Be coachable” and “When you walk around with an empty cup, then people will always be willing to pour into you.”

What advice do you have for the next graduating class at PGCC?

Enjoy the journey! It’s not about where you start or where you finish, but it’s about the journey. What kind of seeds did you sow? Did you take advantage of what PGCC has to offer you? Don’t leave out of PGCC without any faculty knowing who you are because they are your biggest champions.


He Chen smiles at the camera in a sky blue button-up shirt and white pants in a sunny path.

He Chen

After migrating to the U.S. in 2015 from China, He Chen found extreme difficulty adjusting to life in a new country. In China, she had been working at her dream job in environmental protection after studying in the South of China with a focus on chemistry. However, due to her husband’s job requiring him to work in the U.S., Chen decided to relocate as well because her son missed his dad.

“It was a really hard decision,” says Chen. “I had to give up my job, my parents. And I couldn’t speak any English at that time. I was really scared, but I loved my son more.”

Upon relocating to the U.S., Chen quickly found herself at a loss. “I remember after I came here, I couldn’t drive, and I couldn’t go outside. I didn’t even know how to go shopping.” She stayed home for over a year and a half, relying on her husband to help her navigate tasks such as going to the store, and felt despondent due to language barriers. For Chen, the adjustment became so difficult that she even contemplated relocating back to China.

But things began to change once Chen discovered PGCC’s Adult Education ESL (English for Speakers of other Languages) classes through her friends. Within two months, she began to speak some English and earned her driver’s license. After becoming a PGCC student, Chen began to feel a sense of community among her classmates. “When I came to the English class, we were all students and couldn’t speak English very well. You are not only you—you belong to this group,” says Chen. “I began to feel much better. And I knew the teacher could teach us how to do things in the United States.”

Following that course, Chen began taking Transition ESOL classes. One of the activities in her conversation class was practicing how to do a job interview, which inspired Chen to start looking for a new job in her field of study. Chen says, “I practiced what I studied in the conversational class for two weeks. And later, I passed the interview. It was amazing.” Chen was thrilled to find a job in her field. “I found a job—not in a Chinese restaurant, not as a Chinese teacher, but the same job as my job in China, you know. I continued my career! And after that, everything is great.”

Chen got a job at a biology lab associated with the University of Maryland, developing drugs for cancer research. “My task is to do biology and chemistry experiments to test some drugs and how they work. I will synthesize antibodies with chemistry drugs and connect them to treat cancers like liver or lung cancer. I think if we are successful, we can help a lot of people.”

Chen is also grateful for PGCC’s English classes empowering her to help her son with his homework. After her experience as a student at the College, she remains motivated to make a difference in the world through her work. “I want to work for humanity. I want to spend my life following my heart.”

In 2022, Chen and her family relocated to Illinois, where she continues to work as a researcher and enjoys her career.

When asked about advice for other ESOL students, Chen says, “Just take English classes as much as you can. Don’t be scared. You will improve very fast and keep studying. It can totally change your life.”

Prince George’s Community College offers a wide variety of ESL programs focused on teaching life, workplace, and academic skills in English. To learn more about the College’s ESL offerings, click here


Pamela Marcus smiles wearing a black sweater.

Pamela Marcus

Pamela Marcus is a nursing professor at Prince George’s Community College (PGCC). In this interview, learn about Pamela’s history in the nursing field, her views on how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nursing practice, and her thoughts on reaching her 50th year in nursing. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Tell us about your background and where you are from.

I am originally from Binghamton, New York. I went to Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, and graduated with my Bachelor of Science in nursing at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. I also obtained my master’s in nursing at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, MD.

What inspired you to embark on a career in health care as a nurse?

As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a nurse. I worked as a volunteer candy striper (a teenage hospital volunteer) when I was 13-16 years old and worked as a nurses’ aide (currently called a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA) from age 16 until I became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at the age of 20. I became a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1973, and I received my master’s in adult psychiatric nursing in January 1978.

Pamela Marcus (shown left) receiving her cap as a nurse among her graduating class.

I have worked in a variety of settings as an LPN, including the burn unit and the ER. As an RN, I began to work in psychiatric mental health nursing and found my area of interest. As a psychiatric mental health nurse, I have worked in a hospital inpatient setting, served as the Clinical Director of Crisis Response Systems in Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County, and founded a private practice that I still maintain to see patients. On the educational side, I worked as an Assistant Staff Development Coordinator, helping nursing staff with orientation as new hires and increasing their skills as they practice. I have also served as a nursing supervisor on two medical-surgical units.

I have had the opportunity to speak nationally on a variety of subjects, such as suicide prevention, psychiatric emergencies, childhood sexual trauma, personality disorders, prevention of violence, and mood disorders. I continue to present locally and nationally. For example, on June 1, I will be speaking for Montgomery mental health on mood disorders. I just completed a podcast for the Academy of Forensic Nursing on assessing adverse childhood experiences when evaluating risk for suicide.

Pamela Marcus smiles in a white nursing outfit with a nursing cap.

I also write for a variety of psychiatric mental health nursing textbooks. I have participated in writing and updating clinical practice guidelines for the American Psychiatric Nurses Association on assessing risk and intervention for suicide prevention. Recently, I participated in updating the clinical practice guideline for the prevention of seclusion and restraint (APNA). And I serve as a peer reviewer for a variety of psychiatric mental periodicals.

What is one experience you’ve had with a patient that has always stuck with you?

When I worked as an LPN in the burn unit in Buffalo, NY, I met a 7-year-old who attempted suicide by going to Niagara Falls and grabbing a live electric wire. He sustained a 90 percent full-thickness burn. He taught me how to touch him in a therapeutic way when giving care. I really had to think about his care based on his age and needs for a 7-year-old. The work I have done with suicide prevention is in memory of this young boy.

This year marks your 50th as a nurse! What an achievement. How do you feel, and do you plan to celebrate?

I am enjoying bringing new nurses into the world as part of the nursing faculty at Prince George’s Community College. I have had the opportunity to plan the Pinning Ceremony for the graduating nurses over the last several years. This ceremony gives me pleasure and is a celebration of nursing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an immeasurably challenging time for nurses and front-line workers. Do you envision more positive changes in the nursing practice environment that will benefit nurses and their patients?

My hope is that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped nurses think about perseverance, grit, and what each nurse needs to do for self-care. I discuss this with my students and nurses that I know. COVID-19 has caused exhaustion among nursing staff and educators. It is important for the profession to evaluate optimum staffing patterns and patient-nurse ratios to prevent burnout.

How has the pandemic changed the way that nursing programs are being taught?

Two events have impacted nursing education. One was the pandemic, and the second was a change in the national board exam geared towards critical thinking, similar to how the nurse functions at the bedside. The pandemic helped me to distill what the student needs to understand about the psychiatric nursing principles they will use in all areas of nursing.

I have simulations, documentaries, and reflection papers to highlight the lived experience of individuals with mental illness. It has been a creative time for me; I enjoy thinking about patients and the needs nurses must recognize and address while providing care.

What has been your experience teaching at PGCC? How long have you been a faculty member?

I have taught at PGCC for 24 years. I enjoy teaching nursing, although sometimes it is challenging. Watching my students grow to understand the patient experiencing mental illness while they think of how to provide care for the individual is very important to me. Students progress from being frightened of going to an inpatient behavioral health unit to understanding how competent nursing care can provide support and hope for the patient.

Is there any advice that you’d like to give to those interested in pursuing a career in nursing and health care?

I want future nurses to learn the skills of perseverance and grit. I teach my students to take 10 deep breaths to physiologically reduce their anxiety prior to taking a test. Throughout the semester, I have asked the students what they are doing to replenish their reserves to prevent burnout.