This award is designed for transfer students who have leadership potential, are community-service oriented and have a satisfactory GPA.
Students are nominated by their community college’s president and receive a renewable full-tuition award.
We accept nominations every year from Clark College, Lower Columbia College, Centralia College, Mt. Hood Community College and Portland Community College (Cascade campus only).
Contact your community college President’s Office for nomination information.
2014 – 2015 Recipients
Portland Community College
After graduating from Lincoln High School, Yesenia Herrera wasn’t sure how college fit into her life. “I was too shy to ask for help and didn’t know who to ask for help,” Herrera says. “I would open up the different college websites and close them back up. I just didn’t think it was a route for me. But my mom wasn’t taking no for an answer.”
Her mom is a good role model. She earned her GED and certificate in pharmacy technology at PCC and now works at Rite Aid. Quite a journey for a person who started at the college with no more than a sixth grade education earned in Mexico. “She’s a very strong presence in my life,” Herrera said. “She is definitely what keeps me moving forward.”
Herrera’s development in work ethic, professionalism and leadership skills has been impressive while studying at Portland Community College, where she contributed to lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. Herrera was there to lobby for the restoration of funding for the federal Trio program, which serves low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities. After President Barack Obama restored 95 percent of the funds, Herrera was able to join Trio advocates from around the nation in D.C. to fight for the remaining 5 percent to be restored, which it eventually was.
She served as PCC Cascade’s campus director of student programs and then as its diversity retention coordinator for Latino students where she mentored and tutored fellow students. Heavily involved with student government, she helped organize clubs, program activities and direct social outings such as Cascade’s Dollar BBQ and the college’s End of Year Party.
Herrera’s journey continues at WSU-Vancouver where she will major in psychology and minor in neuroscience, and hopes to eventually earn doctorates in those same fields. She wants to eventually work as a bilingual therapist for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Early in Natasha Hambrook’s high school career, things weren’t looking so great. She felt frustrated by the lack of academic challenge in her classes; at the same time, she was having trouble accessing help in subjects where she was having difficulty, like math. She could have become discouraged. She could have checked out, or gotten into trouble, the way some bright but bored young students do.
Hambrook enrolled in Washington State’s Running Start program, which allows students to take college classes while still enrolled in high school. That decision paid off on June 19, when Hambrook earned her associate degree at age 17.
While at Clark, she maintained a 3.98 grade point average while taking challenging biology and chemistry sequences and contributing more than 15 hours a week in volunteer work with the Southwest Washington Humane Society, where she helps care for cats and trains other teen volunteers; and Clark College's Service and Leadership in the Community (SLIC) program. In that role Student Volunteer Coordinator, she has organized groups of students on volunteer trips to organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Clark County Food Bank, as well as a beach-cleaning trip to Cape Disappointment State Park.
Hambrook says her commitment to community service comes both from a love of helping others and from her own family's experiences. "My family has received help from the food bank in the past, so I know there's a need for community service," she says.
Like 73 percent of Clark's student body, Natasha Hambrook is a first-generation college graduate. She plans to study medicine and become a pediatric surgeon.
Mt. Hood Community College
Beija was an active student leader at Elgin High School, participating in Future Business Leaders of America, FFA, Student Government, and more! After her first year at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), she decided to get involved at the collegiate level.
Beija became a Student Outreach and Recruitment Leader, as well as an Orientation Center Peer Mentor. She was responsible for giving campus tours and assisting prospective students. Also, Beija will be serving the 2014-2015 Vancougs as an ASWSUV Senator! Be sure to stop by Firstenburg Student Commons to introduce yourself to Beija and let her know how she can serve you!
Beija earned an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science at MHCC and will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at WSUV.
Rashida was born and raised in Pakistan. Where her three brothers born with the bleeding disorder Hemophilia A. Wanting to relieve their pain led her to the health care field where she could help them and care for others fighting chronic diseases.
In Pakistan it is not easy for a girl to go to school, she and her parents were forced to leave their community and fight against the family members who were against her education.
After graduating high school she was unable to afford medical school, so instead studied computer sciences and also received a Masters in Economics.
After receiving her Masters, Rashida got married, and became pregnant with her first child, who was subsequently diagnosed with meningomylocele (Spina bifida). Doctors refused to perform surgery and to let the baby die because a disabled child could not survive in the society. Not wanting to lose their child, they found another Neuro surgeon, who operated on their son, who is now 9 ½ years old.
After moving to US in 2008, Rashida started the Surgical Technologist program at Clover Park Technical College, graduating in 2010, and subsequently enrolling in their LPN program, graduating in Mar 2012.
After suffering two 2 fetal demises in 2 years. Rashida experienced such great care from her OB nurses that she decided to follow in their footsteps, enrolling in the LPN-RN at Centralia College in 2013 and Graduated in June 2014.
Rashida balances caring for her three children, husband and father at home; while also attending school and working as a Surgical Technologist at Madigan Army Medical Center. Rashida is very passionate about her profession and will be working towards her RN-BSN program at WSU Vancouver.
Lower Columbia College
Anna came to the U.S. with limited English proficiency. Undaunted, Anna pursued English classes and moved into her academic program. Anna’s academic achievements have earned her recognition on the President’s and Dean’s Lists.
Along with a determined focus on her studies, Anna has given countless hours in service to the LCC campus and to her broader community. On campus, Anna is an active member and leader of the Multicultural Club, where she serves as treasurer and coordinates campus events to promote diversity and inclusion. She is always willing to offer help and support in whatever ways she can, including tutoring her fellow students in math, Chinese, and computer applications.
Anna is also a student worker in LCC’s International Program and Art Gallery. She has been very instrumental in assisting with student recruitment and partnership development in China. In the community, Anna has volunteered for Community House, Habitat for Humanity, Longview School Gardens, and St. John Medical Center, demonstrating her generous spirit and earnest desire to make a difference.
In addition to her studies, college activities and community volunteering, Anna is also an artist who likes to paint nature landscape and still life paintings. Anna will be pursuing a business degree in Hospitality Management at WSUV.
2013 – 2014 Recipients
Momodou Musa Bah
Portland Community College
Momodou is an international student from The Gambia, a small country in Africa. Graduating second out of 20,000 students in his ninth-grade class, Momodou received numerous awards and scholarships to high school, including a full tuition waiver and the Trust Bank Excellence Award of Achievement.
A six-time Dean’s/President’s Honors student and member of Phi Theta Kappa at PCC, he will pursue a degree in biology.
Clark Community College
A Running Start student while at Hudson’s Bay High School, Ramona also divided her time among student government, varsity basketball and the National Honor Society. A first-generation honors student at Clark, Ramona also served as a tutor in the Student Learning Center and a volunteer with the Urban Youth Program.
She will pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Lower Columbia College
Brett was home-schooled, then continued his education obtaining an AAS in Machine Trades. Two years after entering the workforce, Brett returned to LCC, where he was named 2011 English student of the year and selected for the 2012 All-Washington Academic Team.
Brett completed his AA-DTA with honors and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Mt. Hood Community College
The son of Guatemalan immigrants, Antonio had every opportunity to be “just another statistic.” Few placed high expectations on him, and fewer supported his dream of being the first in his family to earn a college degree. Working nights and weekends to help support his family and pay for textbooks, Antonio served three years in student government, with his final year as vice-president, and still managed to spend countless hours volunteering in the community.
After mass layoffs in manual labor, Travis (a lifelong Lewis County resident) was able to take advantage of the Worker Retraining program and enroll in the Energy Technology Power Operations AAS degree path at Centralia. One year after breezing through the program, Travis realized he didn’t want to operate power systems; he wanted to design them.
He is pursuing a degree in engineering at WSU Vancouver.