Community college transfer students recognized for achievement

Every year, one student from each community college in the area is recognized for their hard work both in class and out of it with the President’s Award Scholarship. The scholarship is for transfer students from community colleges who have “leadership potential,” who maintain a satisfactory grade point average and are community service-oriented.

“Students nominated for the award excel academically, exhibit leadership capabilities and are involved in extracurricular, community or campus activities,” said Socheat Seng, financial aid and scholarships counselor at Washington State University Vancouver.

The students are often nominated by their community college president. Nominations are accepted from various community colleges like Clark College, Lower Columbia College, Centralia College, Mt. Hood Community College and Portland Community College.

Recipients of the award will receive a full tuition award that is renewable the next year if the students still meet the criteria. There have been five recipients of the award for the last two years.

One of this year’s recipients is Kathleen Fockler from Clark College. Fockler recently took the National Council Licensure Examination, which nursing students have to take to officially become a registered nurse; it took her 20 years of work to be able to take the exam. Fockler encountered multiple unexpected challenges on her road to becoming a nurse, but she did not let those discourage her dream.

Another one of this year’s recipients is from Lower Columbia College, Cheyenne DeFrates. Prior to attending Lower Columbia College, DeFrates was a teenage father who suffered from alcoholism, which led to DeFrates spending 25 months in prison. During his time in prison, he decided he needed to change and completed a treatment program for substance abuse.

Upon leaving prison, DeFrates started to attend Lower Columbia College, wanting to be an engineer. Though DeFrates wanted to become an engineer, he started at the lowest level of pre-college math that Lower Columbia College had to offer, which was Math 078. Beginning from there, he began working his way into 100-level college math courses and beyond to achieve his dream. DeFrates expects to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering by spring of 2017.

Alseny Diallo is the recipient from Portland Community College. Diallo has been working for Portland Community College’s International Education Office for two years, which is meant to provide assistance and various services to international students. Just last year, Diallo was promoted as the senior orientation leader of the International Education Office. Diallo said that her hard work and dedication was the main reason for her 3.7 grade point average. Not only does Diallo work for PCC’s International Education Office, but she is also involved in philanthropy program called Students4Giving. Students4Giving is a PCC based nonprofit organization that was meant to inspire students to give to charities by raising money and giving the funds to various local nonprofit organizations.

Skye Troy was the recipient for Mt. Hood Community College. Troy struggled to stay in high school, and due to this struggle, she made a goal to graduate from college. Though Troy attended Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore., Troy was raised in rural Oklahoma, where her single mother worked three jobs to support their family.

Since Troy and her family struggled financially growing up, she never thought that attending college would be an option for her. Troy started becoming more serious about her education as a senior in high school. That was when she joined her first club and started becoming more active in the community. Currently, Troy attends WSU and is hoping to get a bachelor’s degree in public affairs.

The final recipient is Joshua Oswald from Centralia College. As a first generation college student, Oswald wants to earn a bachelor’s degree that will allow him to have a career that is centered on computers. At the age of three years old, Oswald and his family moved to Wash. from a small, rural town in Germany. During high school, Oswald passed multiple AP tests and was the salutatorian at his high school graduation.

Oswald applied to various universities after graduating high school but was unable to afford college since he was an undocumented student. Eventually, Oswald attended Centralia College after receiving a full scholarship. Oswald graduated at Centralia College with a 4.0 grade point average. Due to his passion with computers, Oswald plans on attending WSU with a double major in electrical engineering and computer science.

For more information about the Clark College President’s Award, and other scholarship opportunities, students, staff and faculty can contact Socheat Seng by email at s.seng@wsu.edu or by phone at (360) 546-9781.

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