Eight Front Range Community College students are members of the All-Colorado Academic Team. They received medallions and other awards from the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.
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
Elena (Len) Barrera
Barrera is working toward an A.S. and plans to transfer to CU-Boulder to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. As a child her family struggled, and she was forced to drop out of high school, while she and her six sisters lived at friends’ homes or in spare trailers. Now a first generation college student—as well as a working single parent—she has overcome many challenges in order to become a role model for her three-year-old daughter. An environmentalist at heart, Barrera has a desire to help people live in more environmentally friendly ways through technology. She chairs the State Student Advisory Council (on which she represents Boulder County), and also serves as the SSAC representative to the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.
Stoudt is working towards an A.A. in women’s studies. She plans to transfer to CU-Boulder in the fall to start in the Women and Gender Studies Department as well as the INVST program—a leadership training for students who are passionate about social and environmental justice. Her goal is to break down barriers—including the oppression of marginalized communities—and improve society for all people. She hopes to help end the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illness. Stoudt is president of both the Student Government Association and the Feminist Uprising Collective at FRCC-Boulder County, and she received the award for “outstanding club member” for the 16-17 school year
Brecheisen is in her fifth semester at FRCC. She’s working toward a degree in psychology, and plans to continue on to a Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Her career goal is to work with kids using creative therapies, such as art therapy. This field of study appealed to her because she feels strongly that being mentally healthy is critically important, especially for kids who may feel lost due to mental health issues. Brecheisen volunteers as a “homework helper” at The Matthews House, which empowers young adults and families in transition to navigate through difficulties on the road to self-sufficiency. She’s also a member of the Alpha Tau Kappa Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and enjoys playing the piano and reading.
Castaneda became a father at a young age and started working as a construction laborer in order to provide for his young family. He was inspired to go back to school by his wife when she went recently earned a degree in early childhood education. As the first generation in his family to go to college, Castaneda is now working toward an A.A. in criminal justice, and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree next. He wants to work in a career field that will allow him to help the community and be a positive role model and mentor—specifically working with at-risk youth. In the meantime, Castaneda serves on the leadership team at his church, as well as volunteering with a youth program called “The Amp” in his community (Wellington).
Yates is studying nursing at FRCC, and plans to complete her bachelor of science in nursing. She chose this field because she finds the human body “fascinating,” and she enjoys taking care of people. As an adult learner, she says it was extremely difficult to quit her full-time job in order to go back to school—but she has proudly stuck with it into her fourth semester at FRCC. Yates’ medium-term goal is to work in a hospital to gain more hands-on experience—but she doesn’t intend to stop there. Once she is eligible, she intends to apply to a master’s program, where she can earn her MSN, specializing as a nurse-midwife.
Jaime Lynn Barth
Barth earned her GED at 17, then started working and raising a family. After a family tragedy left her widowed with two kids, she went back to school. She completed her A.A. (with psychology designation) in December. Barth now has junior status at UNC and has begun taking classes toward a B.A. in psychology. She wants to work with adolescents—possibly in inpatient mental health, as a school counselor, or in the juvenile court system as an advocate. She has attended both FRCC’s Brighton and Westminster campuses—making the President’s List in fall 2017 and fall 2018, and graduating cum laude.
Maisano is keeping her left and right brain active by working on both an associate degree in art history and a business owner’s certificate. She’ll use the certificate in her day-to-day work when she takes over for the owner of the auto repair shop where she works (which she eventually plans to purchase). She chose art history because it “feeds her soul,” while classes like accounting and entrepreneurial operations have immediate applications for her work. A mom of three kids, Maisano is also a first-generation college student (as well as a first-generation American).
Olguin came back to school from a creative career in New York City, where he worked as an industry leader in visual merchandising for companies like Lacoste and Harry Winston. He’s now the first person in his family to go to college—and is working toward an A.A., plus a certificate in interior design. He plans to transfer to Metropolitan State University of Denver to focus on Chicano studies. As president of the Latinx club at FRCC, he has discovered a passion for advocacy work, writing, and community building. He hopes to pay it forward and combine his interests by fighting for Latinx people and giving them a voice.