Eight Front Range Community College students are members of the All-Colorado Academic Team. They received medallions and other awards at a State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education meeting this week.
The team recognizes high-achieving students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor, combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.
Boulder County Campus
Gutierrez plans to transfer to Metropolitan State University of Denver for a B.F.A. with painting emphasis, go to graduate school, and then teach art in college and working professionally. She has had a good example in John Cross, art faculty and professional artist. “He’s really laid back, knowledgeable, and talented. He sits next to us and works along with us.” Gutierrez tried college 10 years ago before working a series of jobs in the service industry. These days, she complements her studies by working as a curator assistant and fund-raiser assistant at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont. “I get to meet artists who are also professors. It’s nice to see how they make both work.”
Valencia, 19, was homeschooled through high school and is the second oldest of eight. That is where her interest in early childhood education started; “I enjoy working with children,” she says. She also volunteers at Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori-based religious education program held at Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Boulder and works as an assistant teacher at Primrose School of Longmont. “These have helped me realize being a teacher is exactly what I want to do,” she says. Valencia took advantage of dual enrollment to get a head start on college and will graduate this May. She is considering transferring to either University of Northern Colorado or University of Mary in North Dakota.
Baumstarck will graduate in May with an Associate of Arts degree with designation in English. Her goal is to work as a publishing house editor. This path opened up when working with Blair Oliver of the English faculty on The Front Range Review, an FRCC-based international literary journal that publishes works from established and emerging writers. Baumstarck was a hairstylist in Wyoming and Colorado for five years before allergies prompted her to seek another career. She came to FRCC. “I love it here,” she said. “Many people think I live here.” One reason: She works in Student Life. Another: She is president of the campus chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. And a third: She carries a 4.0 GPA.
Coleman will graduate in May with an Associate of Applied Science in Natural Resources. He plans to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado for a degree in ecology. He is passionate about field research, which he found he liked as a summertime Colorado Parks and Wildlife research technician. For a study of mule deer, he captured fawns for weighing, measuring, and tagging. This summer, he hopes to help capture elk calves. A Vermont native, Coleman earned an electrical technology degree, but jobs in that field dried up. He worked in construction, and also with his father who is a carpenter. He also traveled. He came to FRCC “with a lot of adventure, life experiences, and communication skills. I was more motivated as a non-traditional student and had fewer distractions.”
Ensle will graduate in May with a Certificate in dental assisting. “Your teeth are important to the health of the entire body,” she says. “Bacteria in your mouth can travel and lead to other health issues.” She has helped emphasize oral health when volunteering with Project Smile at a Fort Collins elementary school. She also has volunteered at horse camps. Ensle will be well prepared for working in a dental office from the 360 hours of clinical experience her certificate requires. She also credits faculty Nikki Edwards and Jan DeBell, who “care about you succeeding.” Born in the Czech Republic, Ensle came to the United States as a 1-year-old. She retains fluency in Czech.
Schneider carries a 4.0 toward May graduation with an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and an expected December graduation with B.S.N. from UNC. That’s 21 credits, plus clinicals this semester. Oh, and she and her husband have five children at home. Before starting at FRCC, Schneider was at the same point in life as her mother, who also had five children when she started nursing school – but without a husband and all the support that has meant to Schneider. “I felt this need to do something more and find my place outside the home,” Schneider says. Her mother is now a caretaker for Schneider’s grandfather in California, but, if all goes well, she will be in Colorado for Schneider’s graduation.
Girkins in not your typical 17 year old. For one thing, she plans to graduate from college before she finishes high school. She’ll have an Associate of Arts degree in business from FRCC’s Westminster Campus two weeks before she gets her diploma from Colorado Early Colleges charter school.
When she was 12, she started a successful business with her mom selling the hair accessory they invented—which ended up being incredibly popular with Irish dancers around the globe. She also has an odd combination of favorite classes from FRCC: Public Speaking and Microeconomics.
If that weren’t enough to make her stand out, Girkins has already been accepted to the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver and Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder. She’s keeping her options open while doing interviews with Harvard and Princeton, among others. But wherever she goes next fall, she plans to major—perhaps not surprisingly—in business and economics.
Hayes was performing as a musician before enrolling in classes at FRCC’s Westminster Campus in 2014. He values the opportunities that Multimedia Graphic Design (MGD) faculty Brandon Berman gave him working on two feature-length documentaries. “I knew I wanted to be a writer/director, but I didn’t know which medium,” Hayes says. “So I chose all of them.”
At FRCC, Hayes has excelled in classes from Game Design to Animation. Beyond the classroom, he says collaborating with other students gave him a sense of belonging to the campus MGD community. “We pushed each other to the limit. I love the department and the students who go here.”
Hayes works a full-time job with a multinational beverage company while taking classes to finish his Associate of Applied Science in Video Production and Editing and working as a freelance videographer.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 137,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE).