Staff Profiles

Nicholas Riggins photo

Nicholas Riggins


Master of Business Administration/ Master Science in Leadership and Organizational Change

Served 8 years in U.S. Air Force, Started serving Veterans in 2010 through the Microsoft Elevate America grant. As Director of the Center for Military Families & Veterans, Nicholas leads daily business operations and oversees the execution of Central Piedmont Community College's strategy for serving Military Families

& Veterans. He started his career serving Veterans with Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont for the Microsoft Elevate America Grant. He knows first-hand the difficulties that Veterans face. He remembers how difficult moving to a new area without the comfort of a military installation, community assistance or a support system.

Nicholas has spoken locally and nationally on the topic of serving Veterans transition, including participating in a congressional panel on the subject. Nicholas served in the

U.S. Air Force for eight years, including 3 tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/ OIF).


Dorothy Fields

Admin Asst. I

US Navy, Certificate Computer Operations

Navy Veteran for 5 years. Began as jet plane maintenance person.  I completed computer operation training, then stationed on a Submarine Maintenance ship in San Diego Ca. After leaving the military, worked as a Lead computer operator in various hospitals and manufacturing companies. She has worked many years working in the civilian corporate environment in IT.  Dorothy began working at CPCC in 2010.  Supports students in various ways assisting veterans, CMFV Director, staff and working with other departments in supporting veterans at CPCC. She has been working in the Administrative position. Assisted to arrange the opening of 3 new CMFV offices. She is administrative assistance to director and staff.



Name: Shayna Gales

Admin Asst. I

Associate of Arts-Central Piedmont Community College

She has served in the US Army for 5 years as a Human Resources Specialist. She graduated from CPCC in May 2016 while working as the Administrative Assistant in the Center for Military Families and Veterans. Before being hired at CPCC she devoted many hours of volunteer work in support of the Veterans Center. Shayna supports student veterans and their families with applying for college and VA education benefits. She also assist staff and the director with coordinating events and assisting with the needs and care of students.


Sylvia “Ladybug” Bivins

Academic Advisor

US Air Force

BS in Business Administration

Served in U.S Air Force, retired and started as a student at CPCC shortly afterward.  While studying Human Services and volunteering at the Center, landed the awesome job as an Academic Advisor and the rest is history.  Sylvia enjoys helping veterans with educational and personal goals.  When not at the office, she enjoys plays, comedy shows and spending time with family.



Dana Pianowski

Student Counselor & Academic Advisor

BA Psychology, Dickinson College, MA Clinical Mental Health

Counseling, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Dana has been working as a Clinical Counselor and academic advisor at the Center for Military Families and Veterans since 2013. With a degree from UNCC in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Substance Abuse, Dana specializes in counseling for anxiety, depression, trauma, and substance use disorder. Activities include bicycling with the Wounded Warriors group rides, organizing and facilitating Veteran events including Pizza lunches, Writing for Self-Awareness, and Military student support groups.


Tracy Threatt photo

Tracy Threatt

MS Rehabilitation Counseling, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor

Student Counselor & Academic Advisor

Tracy is a Veteran, she served nine years in United States Navy. Tracy obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Saint Leo University. She holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with a Certification in Behavioral Addictions. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Tracy has worked with numerous individuals in both the private and public vocational rehabilitation sectors and has a background in case management, vocational assessment. She is experienced in vocational counseling, reviewing disability-related documents to create comprehensive vocational rehabilitation goals.


Ben Reed

MS Administration of Justice and Security

Student Counselor & Academic Advisor

3 years in the U.S Army with tours in Egypt and Kuwait. Started education as most veterans do fresh out of service at a local junior college which culminated with the completion of three degrees: AAS Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts and Master degree in Science. He worked as a Resident Director and gained valuable experience in student life while studying for his Bachelor’s degree. He moved to Charlotte in 2005 and gained experience working as an Academic and Career Counselor at the University of Phoenix. His interest includes holistic health and assisting veterans with service connected claims. He is currently the Student Counselor at Levine Center for Military Families and Veterans.