124 awards given at annual student ceremony

Chris James/Pioneer
Accounting major, Maria Torres, holds her son Miguel as she receives the 2012 Outstanding Accounting Student Award at the OCCC awards ceremony on April 20. Professor of accounting, Kayla Fessler, nominated Torres for the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants awards and stands next to her on stage as Myra Decker presents the award to Torres.

Proud family members, hardworking faculty and deserving students filled the general dining area for the 36th Annual Student Awards Ceremony on April 20.

Nearly every seat was taken as guests gathered to honor more than a hundred students for their academic and community achievements.

Awards were given out in seven categories including Student Organization Awards, Civic Honors, Student English Essay, Academic Awards, Certificates of Achievement, and the President’s Award for Excellence.

The students were recognized for their achievements as they walked across the stage to accept their certificates and other acknowledgements.

Marion Paden, one of the night’s emcees, began by offering a round of applause to thank friends, families and teachers for their support of the students.

Award winners

President’s Award for Excellence

Arts and Humanities: Elizabeth Blackledge, Lori Colbalt, Emily Schorr.

Business: Satah El-Fouly, Michael Southerland, Kelly Stone, Brenda Warren.

Health Professions: Ashley Milam.

Information Technology:Robert Chandler.

Science and Mathematics: Ethan Burchett, Li Yang, Cae Nguyen.

Social Sciences: Samantha Laydon, Kenneth Meador.


Certificates of Achievement

Arts and Humantities: Casey R. Akard, Kaitlyn Burton, Jodi Butler, Sara Caldwell, Benjamin Canizales, Elaine Cleveland, Jeremy Cloud, Cybele Hsu, Cheryl McGuire, Scott Michael, Akash Patel, Megan Riggs.

Business: Autum Bui, Pamela Fields, Jennifer Kirk, Daniel Pemberton, Young Sin, Angela Smith, Brenda Warren, Eric Williams.

Health Professions: Kaci Ford, Tre Kramer, Sarah Okeh, Michael Strauss.

Information Technology: Elham Aghillou, Barry Bosnyak, Kevin Dixon, Eric Espinoza, Amber Hayes, Ami Hicks, Kristopher Higgins, Jens-Karl Jentoft, Edward McMichael, Thai Nguyen, Teena Richardson, Justin Rodgers, Joyce Stiehler, Matthew Sullivan.

Science and Mathematics: Ethan Burchett, Anh Dang, Shams El Din El-Fouly, Kandi Evans, Kyle Gregory, Chad Hughes, Mounir Karmada, Anh Lam, Leila Ndomche Kondo, Kongyan Nicely, Brittney Linster, Alina Loranet, Preston Wood, Sheila Sawisza.


Student Organization Awards

Advocates of Peace: Jorge Krzyzaniak.

Black Student Association: LaNeisha Smith.

College Democrats: Angela Guiterrez.

College Replubicans: Zachary Sumner.

Engineering Club: Heather Abushehada.

The Gamer Guild: Michael Wormley.

Gay Straight Alliance: Nicole McKiel.

H.O.P.E.: Filoteo Gomez-Martinez.

International Student Association: Hakan Olasmis.

Kappa Beta Delta: Mary Newcome-Hatch.

Multicultural Student Business Club: Elsa Tehouambou.

Native American Student Association: Nicole McKiel.

Nursing Student Association: Gregory Shepard.

Oklahoma Biotechnology Association: Isis Palomino.

Psychology Club: John Gutierrez.

Student Emergency Medical Technology: James Pearson.

Students in Free Enterprise: Christabel Aryeequaye.

Civic Honors Awards: Elisee Jionang Dapen, Jennifer Bobo, Lauri Fitzpatrick, Kendra Hines, Jane Karanja, Leslie Kellogg, Daniel Kochler, Kenneth Meador, Valerie Mobley, Jason Morton, Erin Pickering, Lisa Preble, Celia Scott, Joyce Stiehler, Elsa Tehouambou.


Academic Awards


Recognition of Honors:

Elizabeth Blackledge, Elisee Jionang Dapeu, Alina Lorant, Erin Peden, Emily Schorr, Kimberly Taylor, Elsa Tehouambou, Jaden Walker.

Outstanding Accounting Student:

Maria G. Torres


Certificate of Appreciation Pioneer Award:

Sarah Hussain


“It really is a family event isn’t it?” Paden said. “Being able to spend time and be successful in class and in the college community really relies on a lot of support. It also relies a lot on encouragement by the faculty and staff.”

Award winners Maria Torres and Li Yang both agreed that it was their family and instructors that had been their biggest inspirations.

Torres won the Outstanding Accounting Student Award given by the Oklahoma Society of CPAs.

“My father always encouraged us to stay in school,” Torres said.

“He grew up in Mexico and didn’t graduate so inspiring us to stay in school was very important to him.”

During her time at OCCC Torres juggled work, school and taking care of her 2-year-old son. This fall she plans to attend the University of Oklahoma to pursue her bachelor’s degree in accounting. After that she hopes to earn a master’s degree.

Yang took home a President’s Award for Excellence, one of the top honors.

The pre-engineering major credited her husband and teachers.

“My husband gave me support to learn anything I liked,” she said. “All three instructors in the engineering department were very helpful.”

Yang said the encouragement allowed her to pursue her academic dreams.

She said at the age of 16, she taught herself how to speak English while living in China. After meeting her husband, who was teaching English there, she eventually came to the U.S.

Yang said she grew up in a poor and corrupt part of China.

“Learning was my way out of there,” she said. “That’s why I love learning; it’s a way of survival.”

Yang will be transferring to OU this summer. She too plans on attending graduate school after completing her bachelor’s degree. Her goal is to earn a doctorate.

The event concluded with a reception after the ceremony, complete with a photographer to take pictures of the award-winners with their families and professors.

To contact Alexis Filippo, email onlineeditor@occc.edu.

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