Community College President's Award

Transfer students

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.

2015 – 2016 Recipients

Student smiling at cameraCheyenne DeFrates started college 15 years after graduating from Kelso High School. In the meantime, he battled drugs and alcohol and spent 18 months in prison. Determined to turn his life around after a rigorous substance-abuse treatment program in prison, he enrolled in Lower Columbia College, where he earned straight A’s in his math courses, as well as an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering. An internationally certified tutor trained to work with a diverse student population, he worked as a peer tutor in chemistry, engineering, math and physics. Students often requested him specifically because of his patience and helpfulness.

Cheyenne is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at WSU Vancouver. He has volunteered with the Southwest Washington Regional Science Olympiad, has helped sixth- and seventh-grade students with STEM experiments and is active in numerous nonprofit self-help groups.  Married and the father of four, Cheyenne lives in Kelso.  

Student smiling at cameraAlseny Diallo left Guinea Conakry on the west coast of Africa to pursue his lifelong dream, an education in the United States. He earned an associate’s degree in computer science at Portland Community College, financing his education by working as a computer lab assistant and tutor and as an orientation leader for the Office of International Education. At OIE, he helped new students enroll in classes and find resources on campus. Alseny is majoring in computer science at WSU Vancouver and plans to go on for his Ph.D., then gain industry experience and skills so he can return to his home country to share knowledge with others who did not have the opportunity to study abroad.

Alseny works with an emerging nonprofit organization, NAFFA, that helps people coming to the local area from Africa find resources to navigate their new community. He is also involved with the Center for Intercultural Organization and the Fulani Association. He lives in Vancouver.

Student smiling at cameraAfter taking some college courses in her younger years, Kathy Fockler dropped out to take care of her children, the first of whom, a son, experienced developmental delays. She also worked in the Evergreen School District as a paraprofessional assistant, helping support children with developmental delays. After 20 years, when her son entered college, Kathy realized the time was right for her to return to Clark College too. She graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing and is pursuing a Bachelor of Nursing degree at WSU Vancouver. On receiving the award, she said, “I will honor your investment in me by learning as much as possible and seeking out ways to serve my community.”

Her goal is to become a pediatric nurse working with medically fragile children. Kathy created an internship for herself at the Center for Medically Fragile Children in Portland and now volunteers there. She also volunteers with the Early Childhood program in the Evergreen School District. She lives with her family in Vancouver.  

Student smiling at cameraJoscha Oswald is working toward a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in electrical engineering and computer science. He has two overriding goals: to earn a bachelor’s degree as a first-generation graduate, and to have a career in the computer industry.

A native of Germany, Joscha grew up in Rainier, Wash. He was salutatorian of his high school class and received a full scholarship to Centralia College, where he was a student tutor for STEM subjects. He graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and an associate’s degree in physics. He credits his mother and sister as role models who have been instrumental to his success. Oswald is active in the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Student smiling at cameraSkye Troy is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public affairs at WSU Vancouver, where she also serves as a student senator. Ultimately she hopes to become a lobbyist for a special interest group or human rights advocacy.

Skye was raised in Owasso, Oklahoma, by a single mother struggling financially, working three jobs at a time to keep a roof over their heads. Although Skye didn’t think college was a real prospect for her, largely because of the cost, she set her sights on Oregon. She says she finally learned to value herself, joined her first school club (and became its treasurer), and overcame an addiction. She earned an associate’s degree at Mt. Hood Community College and currently lives in Troutdale, Ore., where she serves on the Troutdale Citizens Advisory Committee working to connect elected officials to the concerns of residents.