SCC Graduate Explores Opportunities in the Sunshine State

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Jerry Thao, a 2016 Advertising and Graphic Design graduate from Stanly Community College (SCC), landed a career in the field that he loves. As a photo editor and photographer for Valor Fitness, Jerry edits and creates content for Valor’s website, among other duties and responsibilities.

Valor Fitness, a subsidiary of Valor Athletic Inc., has an extensive online shopping inventory for home and personal training studios. Distribution Centers are located in California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida. The corporate office is located in St. Petersburg, FL, where Jerry works. “I have family that lives in Florida, so when this opportunity became available, I jumped at the chance. It’s awesome to be able to travel to the Sunshine State and explore opportunities in the graphic design field,” Jerry explained.

Jerry claims that his time spent studying at SCC was amazing. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a vision for design, so studying at SCC was perfect for me. Being able to work in the field that I love is awesome. I like what I do and have a passion for fitness and photo editing,” he added. “I want to thank Josh Gooch, the Program Head of Advertising and Graphic Design. He played a huge role in my success. Josh helped me through my years at SCC. He was not only my professor but also my friend. Whenever I needed help on a project or assignment, he always helped and gave me guidance on my designs. I’m truly honored to have had the chance to be in his classes,” he stated.

Jerry explained earning his degree meant buckling down and doing the work. He also shared his thoughts about what SCC really meant to him. “SCC was more than just a college to me. It was a place for me to grow and explore opportunities. I would encourage other students to take the time to really get to know the staff at SCC; they all could teach you something if you just listen and apply it to life, whether it’s school or finding a career. They will give you the answers you need when you do not know. For example, for me it was the Director of Marketing, Michelle Peifer, who really inspired me, especially during my internship in the Marketing Department. She loves what she does and she always gives the best advice when asked. I learned so many things from listening to her and just communicating with her.”

When asked what he would change about his education at SCC, he said, “I would have taken the time to explore every opportunity I could get my hands on!”

According to EMSI data, the occupational summary for this industry includes 2,988 jobs available by 2020 in the Albemarle, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC region, with medium hourly earnings at $24.35. Stanly Community College offers a degree, certificate, and diploma in Advertising and Graphic Design, and a diploma in Web Design. Additionally, a high school pathway called Career & College Promise (CCP) is available for juniors and seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. CCP offers tuition-free college courses that can lead to college credits and/or certificates and job training.

For more information regarding SCC’s Advertising and Graphic Design program, contact Josh Gooch, Program Head, at (704) 991-0263 or visit the College website at

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