The Fountain - The Official SLCC Blog

Search The SLCC Blog

Loading...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

2016 SLCC Graduates of Excellence

The 2016 Salt Lake Community College Graduates of Excellence are as follows:

General Studies

Ashley Baker, 3.9GPA

“The General Education program at Salt Lake Community College has had a profound impact on my life. It’s allowed me to explore the vast aspects of education and figure out my place in the world. I’ve opened my eyes, discovered what my passion is and I’ve found a place in the world where I fit. My goal is to inspire my children and teach them to be strong people and to not hold themselves back because of some false self-belief. I hope my message to the world is: be okay with who you are and never doubt what you can become if you’re dedicated and willing to put in the effort. I know I have a long way to go, but at least I’m on my way.”

Ashley Baker

Criminal Justice

Catarina Granucci, 3.75GPA

“My academic success and dedication to my career field of choice is a direct and indirect attribution to the remarkable instructors whom have influenced me and guided me in this endeavor. Indeed, my personal progress and increased thirst for knowledge has been enhanced due to my professors, encouraging me and motivating me to learn and do more. Their instruction has served as a foundation for bettering myself, while their advisement continues to resonate within my thoughts. As such, I have a deep passion for what I do, in part, and in resemblance of that passion demonstrated to me by my instructors for what they do every day.”

Catarina Granucci

Business/General Studies

Fabrynn Soonalote, 3.7GPA

“As a minority first-generation student, my journey into the world of college, of any education beyond high school, was a difficult one. If it were not for the support of those close to me as well as a few amazing advisors I met through SLCC—Lee Martinez, Will ‘Unga, Brandi Mair and Tevita Hola—I honestly don’t believe that I would have been able to achieve as much as I was able to here at SLCC. They pushed me to believe in myself, to the point of realizing that college is achievable and life is survivable, and in doing so I took a step outside my comfort zone, outside of the everyday life of someone just passing through, and I discovered a world I never would have been able to comprehend let alone experience. I discovered through Student Life and Leadership, my talent as a graphic designer, my talent as a student and my abilities to achieve more than I thought would be possible for myself.”

Fabrynn Soonalote

Health Sciences

Joelle Merriman, 3.96GPA

“I knew I needed to go back to school and obtain the skills for a career that would help me rise above it all, and I had to rise to the challenge. My children were depending on me, and it was sink or swim time. I had a long list of small goals that I needed to accomplish to reach my final goal. I remember envisioning where I wanted to be way back then and giving myself a pep talk, ‘I can do this!’ I look back now and realize how far I have come and know that I can accomplish anything. It hasn’t been easy. It’s not easy being a single mom coming home from a long day of school, work or clinicals just to face not only mine but also my children’s schoolwork and studying. I had many things working against my success and sacrifice was always demanded. My hope is that my children will see my example and be proud of me and inspired by me. They are my motivation and the whole reason why I persevered.”

Joelle Merriman

Pre Health Sciences

Lillith Draper, 3.97GPA

“I received my letter of acceptance into the nursing program at Salt Lake Community College in 2012, and things have been in full-speed since then. I had positive relationships with all of my teachers, but some that stand out in my memory are Debbie Schuster, Deb Smith, Julie Rowsey, Matt Cropper, Karen Risch and Shane Carter. They were all very approachable and helped us find creative ways to remember the stacks of information we covered. Ah, the good times. The support I have received from my husband, children, teachers and friends on this journey has been amazing. I knew all the hard work would pay off in the end.”

Lillith Draper

Fashion Design

Trung Tham, 3.8GPA

During my time at the SLCC Fashion Institute, I’ve taken full advantage of the tools, resources and opportunities that are offered. Whether it was being chosen to design a dress for a war veteran as part of the ‘Grit To Glamour’ project, earning an honorable mention in the International Interior Design Association’s ‘Fashion Remix’ competition, serving as treasurer of the fashion club or displaying my artwork at the President’s Art Show, I have been very involved and eager to participate in the school’s various art and fashion events. When you think of fashion, you don’t necessarily think of Utah as being on the radar. My internships and freelance work proved to me that there are a lot of opportunities to do fashion even in this market. I believe this is a good foundation for me to make the next step in my career. I aspire to continue my fashion education in New York or London. The faculty members in the fashion design program have helped prepare me to achieve this goal.

Trung Tham

Psychology

Vanessa Wilkins, 4.0GPA

“Lacking educational support in my native country did not diminish my desire for one day obtaining a degree. Arriving to the United States opened those possibilities, which I could not take for granted. Nonetheless, I had to wait a while as I focused my priority on raising a family. Because learning has always been my passion, deciding to come back to school was easy. So far, it has proven to be full of challenges and sacrifices. Trying to find enough time to juggle the everyday life of family, relationships, motherhood, school and full-time work can be sometimes daunting and exhausting. I have been rewarded with education, awareness and appreciation. As I embraced my life as a student, opportunities such as obtaining a work-study position in Student Life became a major catapult for the path I’m taking. My plan is to continue furthering my education by obtaining a double major in psychology and ethnic studies.”

Vanessa Wilkins

Facutly, SLCC Supporters to be Honored Friday at Commencement

Salt Lake Community College will honor the following during commencement ceremonies May 6, 9:30 a.m. at the Maverik Center in West Valley City:


Honorary Doctorate

Barbara Lindquist Tanner is a community leader, humanitarian, human rights activist. She attended Ogden High School and Weber College and then transferred to the University of Utah. At the University of Utah, she was on the debate team, and during one event her opponent was Norman Tanner. They were a well-matched team even when they were on opposite sides of a debate. Barbara and Norman were married for 77 years and raised four children; Clark (deceased), Susan, Deon and Deb. As a family, they cultivated a concern for community, the environment and humanity. Tanner shared her leadership talents in organizing such agencies as Utah Girls Village (now Utah Youth Village) and established and participated in musical groups such as the Utah Symphony and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. In 2006, she established the Barbara L. and Norman C. Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights Advocacy in the College of Social and Behavioral Science. She also has been a strong supporter of hundreds of Salt Lake Community College students through scholarship programs she has established.

Barbara Lindquist Tanner
    
Stanley B. Parrish, currently the president and CEO of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, began his career in the wholesale floor covering business at Midwest Floor Covering, Inc. where he worked for 21 years, seven as the president and CEO. Parrish worked five years as the chief of staff for Sen. Orrin Hatch and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the associate deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Upon his return to Utah, Parrish served as the Utah governor’s executive director of Community and Economic Development and spent several years on the SLCC Board of Trustees. He was president of the PPI Group, president of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and president and CEO of Waterware, Inc. Parrish then became the owner of the Mighty Distribution Center and Parandco. A long-time friend of the College, Mr. Parrish has helped SLCC tirelessly by supporting philanthropic efforts like the annual golf tournament. He and his wife Joyce live in Salt Lake City and have six children and 17 grandchildren.


Stanley B. Parrish

Distinguished Alumni

Marisa Dawn Egbert discovered her love for civil engineering during a pre-engineering class at Salt Lake Community College, where she attended on an athletics scholarship and played on the women’s basketball team. She transferred to Utah State University and earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering.

In 2000, Egbert became state coordinator for the MATHCOUNTS, a national nonprofit foundation that strives to engage students of all ability and interest levels in fun, challenging math programs in order to expand their academic and professional opportunities.  The Utah program annually benefits approximately 500 middle school students and more than 60 participating schools statewide. Over the past decade her relationship with SLCC has come full circle through her work with MATHCOUNTS at the annual competitions every February and March on the SLCC Taylorsville campus.

“I am grateful for my STEM education at SLCC,” Egbert says. “I had no trouble transitioning seamlessly to Utah State with my SLCC education. I found a quality STEM education at SLCC, where I love bringing MATHCOUNTS every year. I’m proud that I got my start at SLCC, and I want young students participating in MATHCOUNTS and who are interested in STEM subjects to be excited about what SLCC has to offer in those areas.”

Egbert is a registered professional engineer in the State of Utah and has worked for the Utah State Division of Water Resources for the past eleven years. Prior to working for the State of Utah, Marisa worked in the Geotechnical Engineering field in Florida for several years. Marisa has served on the Executive Committee of the Utah Section of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) for the past ten years, including the past eight years as Secretary/Treasurer.

Marisa Dawn Egbert

Gerard Ford Craft received Food & Wine’s Best New Chef and Innovator of the Year awards. He was one of Inc. magazine’s Star Entrepreneurs under 30. And he won the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest award. To say that Gerard Craft has found success as a chef and businessman would be an understatement.

The foundation upon which Craft continues to build his niche in the culinary world took shape at Salt Lake Community College’s Culinary Institute at the Miller Campus. “I have been lucky to have a great career with many high points, but the one experience I will never forget is my time at SLCC,” Craft says. “In that kitchen is where I learned the building blocks of cooking, and without them I wouldn't be where I am today. Even though I am pretty sure I was low on the list of talent in that kitchen, my instructors kept pushing me. It’s really shocking I have come as far as I have. I am sure I am only one of many who came out of that kitchen to see success. Thank you, everyone at SLCC for the gift you give every day.”

In 2005, at the age of 25, he opened the restaurant Niche in Missouri and has since extended his offerings as part of Niche Food Group in St. Louis to include Taste by Niche, Brasserie by Niche, Pastaria and Porano Pasta—and a second Pastaria is expected to open in Nashville in summer 2016.  In 2010 Craft told St. Louis Magazine, “Growing up, all I wanted to do was to own a business and be a businessman.” He now lives in St. Louis with his wife, Susan, and their two daughters.

Gerard Ford Craft


Teaching Excellence

Jane Drexler
Full-time faculty
School of Humanities and Social Sciences – Humanities, Language & Culture
Department

Her students call her funny, clever and someone who loves what she does.
Colleagues will say Jane Drexler is dynamic and energetic. Drexler has taught
philosophy full time at the college level for the past 12 years, nine of which have
been at SLCC. She sees teaching as inseparable from her development, service,
leadership and scholarship. She is the 2010 winner of the national Blackboard Exemplary
Course Award.

She believes studying philosophy can help students take a holistic perspective,
converse with multiple voices and navigate conflicting obligations or interests that
arise from the multiple communities to which they belong. She sees philosophy
helping students take part in more engaged thinking and problem solving.

One student said in a review of Drexler’s Reasoning and Rational Decision-Making
class, “I have never taken a college course that was so interesting, well-planned and
well taught. I think that every student should be required to take this course (to
gain) the ability to communicate in a clear concise manner, whether through writing
papers or having discussions. This class was invaluable.”



Jane Drexler


Mequette Sorensen
Full-time faculty
School of Humanities and Social Sciences – Social Work Program

Mequette Sorensen became a first-generation college graduate largely because of the influence of her grandfather, a migrant worker from Mexico who “admonished” her not to become a laborer like him and to instead get an education. She was still a social work practitioner when an adjunct professor in the field helped her realize a passion for teaching. In June 2016 Sorensen will celebrate teaching 18 years (12 as a full-time faculty member) at Salt Lake Community College. Sorensen says, “Rather than viewing my role as teacher, I view myself as a facilitator of education; an agent in the exchange of information, providing tools that enable enlightenment with an initial development of curiosity and a deepening thirst and passion for knowledge.”

A former student and now current colleague of Sorensen says, “Her vast knowledge and passion for social work and ethnic studies has been incredibly rewarding to see. She is an ally, advocate and agent of difference with her students on systemic and individual levels toward change for the greater good. Her educational framework and skills for restorative justice, diversity and equality is invaluable.”

\
 Mequette Sorensen

Ron Carpenter
Adjunct Faculty
School of Humanities and Social Sciences – English Department

As an adjunct English instructor at Salt Lake Community College since 2012, the
Hopi Indian values of autonomy, balance and kindness guide Ron Carpenter’s
teaching philosophy. His goal is to help students improve their rhetorical and critical
thinking skills as future leaders. “My courses provoke students into meta-cognitive
acts about their writing and rhetorical process through engaged learning and real-
world communication acts that mutually benefit the Salt Lake community,” he says.
“I try to balance class time between lecture, writing exercises, group work and
individual consultation. My goal is that students explore each stage in the writing
process according to their individual needs and diverse skill levels.”

Students often credit Carpenter with helping them develop an appreciation for
service while taking his classes. One student wrote in an evaluation, “I got involved
with service learning and found a whole new way of learning. Our service learning
projects were tied into things that I might use in my work life. I love the service
learning aspect!”

Ron Carpenter

Distinguished Faculty Lecturer

John Close holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Minnesota State University and a
Master’s degree in Meteorology from the University of Utah. His teaching career spans over three decades and includes assignments in North Dakota, Minnesota and Tanzania.  For the last 24 years he has taught at Salt Lake Community College where he specializes in developmental mathematics.

Close dedicated his career to helping underprepared and first generation
students advance into the academic mainstream.  In the classroom, Close is noted
for being unrelentingly encouraging and supportive while maintaining academic
rigor.  During his non-teaching hours he enjoys flyfishing, kite building and flying, singing, woodworking and home improvements. His Distinguished Faculty Project will center on “The Role of Community Colleges in US Economic Growth”.

John Close