CCCS honors 16 FRCC students—and peers around the state—for their inspiring achievements.

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) this month paid tribute to top students from schools around the state during a virtual ceremony for the system’s 2020 Student Excellence Awards.

Sixteen distinguished students from Front Range Community College were chosen for this year’s honor. Due to COVID restrictions, students received a “ceremony in a box” that included medallions, certificates, and a backpack full of goodies from CCCS.

Three award categories recognized students for their academic accomplishments, exemplary leadership, and commitment to inclusive excellence:

  • The Phi Theta Kappa All-Colorado Academic Team Award specifically recognizes the academic accomplishments of high-achieving student members of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society from across the state.
  • The Rising Star Award recognizes students who have increased the level and quality of student engagement on their college campus.
  • The Inclusive Excellence Champion Award recognizes students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on their college campus.

This dynamic group of students has a deep-rooted passion for helping others—from mentoring children and young adults to spending countless hours as volunteers for various campus and community organizations. Each award winner has demonstrated strong commitment, reliability and professionalism in their activities in and out of the classroom.

Many of the awardees have expressed aspirations to continue their advocacy work beyond their time in college. Many are interested in pursuing careers that will help heal and empower communities in fields such as health care, social services, criminal justice, and education.

All-Colorado Academic Team

Ten Front Range Community College students have earned places on the 2020 All-Colorado Academic Team. 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

Erika Lemus

Erika is passionate about making a difference in others’ lives. The first-generation college student plans to transfer to the University of Colorado in 2020 after graduating from FRCC with the associate degree in psychology. She hopes to earn a master’s degree and become a therapist—and remove the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues. Erika supports herself through a work-study position as a receptionist at FRCC and as the Youth Services Initiative program lead for the City of Boulder. In this role, she encounters many inspiring young people—most of whom are low-income people of color—who are driven to make a difference. For them, she strives to be an example that dreams come true through hard work.

Maddie Womack

Maddie couldn’t be prouder of the fact that she started her educational journey at FRCC. Since beginning the pharmacy technician certificate program in 2017, she’s balanced her full-time restaurant server job with full-time school—and she’s now close to completing an associate degree. Maddie will transfer to the University of Colorado-Denver to begin pre-pharmacy prerequisites and will eventually apply to its Doctor of Pharmacy program. She wants to start her career in a retail-based pharmacy, then move into a nursing home or veteran’s hospital setting—a place where she can be a friendly face to elderly patients. Maddie’s love of people extends to her extracurricular activities. On Sundays, you’ll find her volunteering at church with first graders.

Larimer Campus

Lilly Gonzalez

Since she was a young girl, Lilly has wanted to make her parents proud. After watching her sister struggle with depression and a heroin addiction, Lilly wanted to help others—both people and animals. She enrolled in FRCC’s Veterinary Technology program in 2018, laying the foundation to become a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2020. She wants to gain experience in a small-animal practice and eventually specialize in rehabilitation therapy and earn the Canine Rehabilitation Veterinary Nurse Certification. The most rewarding experience at FRCC for Lilly to date has been volunteering as a tutor, which has helped her overcome shyness. She’s also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and a veterinary lab assistant.

Phuong Phan

When Phuong moved from Vietnam to the U.S. in 2015, everything was new to her. She had no family living in Colorado and had to figure out everything on her own—including college. At FRCC, she has found inspiration, kindness, and motivation. Phuong enjoys numbers and has recently finished an associate degree in accounting. She is looking for opportunities in the business setting and saving up to pursue a bachelor’s degree. One day, Phuong wants to be a Certified Public Accountant serving the Asian community in northern Colorado. So far, she has built her résumé as vice president of leadership for the campus Phi Theta Kappa chapter (spring 2019), and as a learning assistant at FRCC’s Business and Accounting Help Center.

Kyle Stone

After the passing of his mother, Kyle was inspired by his two older brothers who were determined to go to college despite emotional and financial difficulties. Kyle started at FRCC in 2017 and never looked back. He is finishing an associate degree and a certificate in forestry and plans to transfer to Colorado State University to earn a B.S. in natural resource management. After a fulfilling experience as an environmental educator at Camp Cal-Wood Education Center, Kyle teamed up with a friend to found Muscular Dystrophy Adventures, a nonprofit that helps those living with the disease experience Colorado’s beauty. One day, Kyle plans to work in forestry—and make a positive contribution toward environmental conservation efforts.

Victoria Hughes

Victoria is the first of her siblings to go to college—and when she started at FRCC in 2013, it felt “meant to be.” When she finishes her associate degree in 2020, she will transfer to Colorado State University for a B.S. in biomedical sciences. Eventually, Victoria wants to complete a master’s degree in physician assistant studies and to work in orthopedic sports medicine. An avid volunteer who travelled to Africa on a medical trip in 2014—an experience that changed her life and influenced her path—Victoria received the Lifetime President’s Volunteer Service Award for her mentorship of women. She wants to be an inspiration to her daughter, who will head to college in three years.

Westminster Campus

Ashton Melton

After Ashton dropped out of high school because of bullying, she came to FRCC at age 17 to complete her GED. She enrolled started working on her associate degree and ran a spa in Longmont before her father became ill. Sitting beside him in the ICU had an impact on her and she completed the practical nursing certificate, followed by the RN-to-BSN program, which she will finish in May 2020 at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Ashton still provides care for her father, but education has remained a priority. She wants to become a critical care nurse and provide compassionate care to patients in need. Outside school, Ashton has volunteered at the OUR Center, which offers support to impoverished Longmont residents.

Hau Nguyen

Hau started his college journey at FRCC in 2018 and transferred to the University of Colorado-Denver in spring 2020. He plans to earn a B.S. in computer science, and eventually, a master’s in information systems. Hau studied pre-dentistry in college in Vietnam before moving to the United States in 2015. He volunteered in a dental office and became interested in a career in technology—something that has fascinated him since he was 10 years old and played with his father’s laptop. Hau has his sights set on becoming a manager and leader in the information systems field. One day, he wants to become a mentor to aspiring IT professionals.

Maya Peterson

Maya draws inspiration from her mother, who grew up in an impoverished family and was expected to get married and have children at 16. Instead, Maya’s mother put herself through college, paving the way for her sisters to do the same. Today, Maya is bettering herself through her FRCC education—after spending 13 years raising her children and volunteering in her church. A creative at heart, she started working toward an associate degree in studio art in 2016 and will transfer to Metropolitan State University of Denver in fall 2020 to complete a B.A. in Fine Arts. Maya calls her life a “mural in the making,” and is eager to support youth in her community through art and possibly to teach English abroad.

Julia Petteway

Julia is in her third semester in the AAS/RN program, dually enrolled at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs for her BSN. Her hope is to continue her education and become a Certified Midwife and eventually achieve a doctorate in Nursing. Julia keeps busy as a mother and at her private Craniosacral Therapist practice and still makes time to serve as president of the Alpha Mu Psi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa for the past several semesters and secretary of the Front Range Student Nursing Association for the spring 2021 graduating class.

Inclusive Excellence Award

This award is sponsored by the State Student Advisory Council and recognizes students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on their campus. The students selected to receive this award may be involved in supporting or creating diversity activities and services; working to address issues of inequity; expanding the scope of inclusivity on campus; and/or demonstrating advocacy for social justice and intercultural awareness.

David Olguin

David came to FRCC from a creative career in New York City, where he worked as an industry leader in global visual merchandising and window production for companies like Lacoste and Harry Winston. He is the first person in his family to obtain a degree, working

toward an A.A. plus a certificate in basic drafting. David has been accepted to both Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Chicano Studies program, and the University of Colorado-Denver’s School of Public Affairs. David has served as the president of the Latinx Student Organization at FRCC’s Westminster Campus, the State Student Advisory Council’s Legislative Liaison, and Student Advisor to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education—where he discovered his passion for advocacy work, writing, and community building. David is honored to ensure the voices of his underrepresented constituents are heard. He is also a member of Colorado Student Government Coalition, TRiO and Phi Theta Kappa.

Sonya Almaraz-Tatum

Sonya took on a leadership role as president of the Feminist Uprising Collective at FRCC’s Boulder County Campus. The group’s faculty advisors found her to be innovative and passionate about inclusivity and equity. “Our club membership greatly diversified under Sonya’s leadership,” they said. She also served as a Legislative Representative in the campus Student Government Association. Sonya plans to study women and gender at the University of Colorado. In the longer term, she’s interested in doing advocacy work.

Joseph Zamora

Starting at the age of 11, Joseph became a flag football coach for a division football team. He taught kids and helped them to better understand teamwork and readiness. These skills came in handy as vice president of the Student Government Association at FRCC’s Larimer Campus. At the age of 18, Joseph became a member of AmeriCorps, engaging in public service work to help others and meet critical needs in his community. At FRCC, he has also been involved with the Black Student Alliance, Gender Sexuality Alliance, Wolf Welcome and Campus Culture Committees, and the Student Center Advisory Board.

Rising Star Award

This award is sponsored by the State Student Advisory Council and recognizes students who have increased the level and quality of student engagement on campus. The students selected to receive this award may have facilitated meaningful engagement by either broadening the scope of student engagement or by deepening the engagement of other students around a particular issue or initiative.

Sydney Ackman

Teaching English for three years in South Korea gave Sydney her life’s path. She is studying elementary education and will transfer to a four-year university to continue her education through to a master’s degree. “My dream is to go back to South Korea and teach English at a higher level,” she says. Sydney is a work-study student in the Admissions and Outreach office. “The people here are extremely helpful and supportive of my education,” says Sydney. “I like being able to talk with future students and help them figure out a path for their future.” Her efforts in Admissions and Outreach have not gone unnoticed. “Sydney has worked countless hours,” writes a nominator. “She has volunteered to take on roles far beyond her job description and completed them all with a smile. She is such a team player and a go-getter. She is an excellent communicator and her humor is unmatched. We are so thankful that she is working with us.”

Leah Dory

Leah jumped whole-heartedly into her role as the State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) representative, and she has never looked back. She has been working on a project to lobby for changes to Federal Student Loan Repayment structures. She has also begun reaching out to student governments across the country to create a coalition to lobby their respective legislators. Leah also serves on her campus SGA Legislative Representative. In addition, she edits the student newspaper, helping to guide and expand the material offered to students. She has also been a leader within the Orientation Leader team, guiding her peers and creating connections between new students on campus. Her love of snowboarding and rock climbing give her life a sense of playfulness. She recently decided to raise pigs on her farm.

Marty Hanscome

You could say Marty is all business. “Marty is an honors student, but his significant contributions to our college have come through his demonstrated leadership.” Marty is president of the campus Everybody’s Business Club for students. He is a member of the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce Public Policy group. “My connections with the chamber have advanced my ability to speak to new people and generate great possibilities,” Marty says. He has been recognized as the outstanding student in the Business-Information Technology Career and Academic Community at FRCC’s Boulder County Campus. He plans to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado to study business. Marty also serves as a mentor to many other students. In his free time, Marty enjoys woodworking and spends lots of time with a German shepherd named Duke.

Click here to view the 2020 Virtual Student Excellence Awards presentation and honorees. Or learn more about FRCC’s 2020 student awards by campus.

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, 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 138,000 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.

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