PCC / News / May 12, 2014

Diamond Alum Ahumada Alaniz seeks to open doors for others

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Five graduates of Portland Community College who have become community leaders along their professional and personal journeys since attending PCC have been tapped by the college to receive this year’s Diamond Alum Awards.

The 2014 winners include Abel Ahumada Alaniz of Garden Home, Cheryl Burgermeister of Southwest Portland, Rep. Chris Gorsek of Troutdale, Peggy Halley of Hillsboro and Hung “Lee” Nguyen of Beaverton. The award winners will be honored as part of PCC’s annual celebration of “Founders’ Week,” May 12-17, when the college salutes its history and accomplishments by way of a slate of activities in which staff, faculty, students, and the public at large can participate. Additionally, the honorees will celebrate together on June 11, in a special luncheon linked to commencement on June 13.

“I am so impressed by the caliber of the nominations we received, as well as the achievements of the winners selected this year,” said Jeremy Brown, president, Portland Community College.

Abel Ahumada Alaniz.

Abel Ahumada Alaniz.

“These five graduates exhibit the qualities of which the college is so proud. Each demonstrates a strong work ethic, a positive outlook on life, and a desire to give back to the community at large. We are delighted to honor them this year, to showcase their efforts and the inspiration they offer to others,” he said.

The judging committee was made up of a collective of external constituents, two former Diamond Alum Award winners, and PCC staff.

Diamond Alum: Abel Ahumada Alaniz

One of the five is Abel Ahumada Alaniz, who arrived to the United States in 1985 at the age of 15, ready and able to work as a beet and berry picker as a means to make money to send home to his family in Mexico.

While happy to earn money as a migrant worker to help his nine brothers and sisters, Ahumada Alaniz had bigger professional dreams – he wanted to become a dentist. But first, he needed to learn how to speak and write in English, then earn his high school degree.

He did just that – and then some. After obtaining his GED, he enrolled at PCC and earned his associate’s degree. From there he moved on to Portland State University for his bachelor’s degree, followed by his acceptance at Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Dentistry. Throughout his studies he regularly volunteered and assisted in the community – as a community health educator for the Virginia Garcia Health Center in Cornelius, as a guest speaker at local schools and for youth groups, as an advocate and health educator in migrant camps, and more.

Ahumada Alaniz graduated from OHSU in 2005, and the following year he opened a private practice in Southeast Portland that serves mostly the local Hispanic community. He allows students to “job shadow” at his office, to give them the chance to see if dentistry may be a profession they want to pursue. It’s one of several ways he strives to give others – many who have come from disadvantaged backgrounds, like his own – the chances he was given and also worked toward with determination. Ahumada Alaniz seeks to open doors for others and to give them the courage and confidence to pursue what’s behind those doors: The future is boundless.

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There are 6 responses to "Diamond Alum Ahumada Alaniz seeks to open doors for others" . If you see a comment that doesn't belong please click the "x" and report it.

x by Feature: Diamond Alum Burgermeister is an established, and very valuable, asset | PCC News 2 months ago

[…] 2014 winners include Abel Ahumada Alaniz of Garden Home, Cheryl Burgermeister of Southwest Portland, Rep. Chris Gorsek of […]

x by Luis 2 months ago

Great story! Congratulations on being named a Diamond Alum and thanks for your commitment to our community. You are definitely making a difference!

x by PCC selects five 2014 Diamond Alum Award winners | PCC News 2 months ago

[…] Abel Ahumada Alaniz – Abel Ahumada Alaniz arrived to the United States at the age of 15, ready and able to work as a beet and berry picker as a means to make money to send home to his family in Mexico. But he had a bigger dream: to become a dentist. Read about his journey from PCC to Portland State University to Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Dentistry and ultimately, to the launch of his own dental practice in southeast Portland. […]

x by Feature: Rep. Chris Gorsek has fostered lifelong service to the community | PCC News 2 months ago

[…] 2014 winners include Abel Ahumada Alaniz of Garden Home, Cheryl Burgermeister of Southwest Portland, Rep. Chris Gorsek of […]

x by Feature: Diamond Alum Peggy Halley first Oregon female career fire officer | PCC News 2 months ago

[…] 2014 winners include Abel Ahumada Alaniz of Garden Home, Cheryl Burgermeister of Southwest Portland, Rep. Chris Gorsek of […]

x by Feature: Diamond Alum Nguyen has drive for success | PCC News 2 months ago

[…] 2014 winners include Abel Ahumada Alaniz of Garden Home, Cheryl Burgermeister of Southwest Portland, Rep. Chris Gorsek of […]

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