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Six PCC student scholars honored by Governor
Photos and Story by James Hill
SALEM, Ore. – Hard work and academic success has paid off for a select group of community college students.Oregon’s Outstanding Community College Student Scholars will be honored by Gov. Ted Kulongoski at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 29 to help shine the spotlight on community college excellence. The awards ceremony will take place in the Capitol Rotunda where the Governor will give a brief speech and then honor each student.Six scholars from Portland Community College will be recognized for academic and personal accomplishment: Kristen Webster, Rossella De Leon, Chelsia Rice, Meagan Robbins, Dawn Schmidt and Heather Lindsay Carpenter. A $1,000 scholarship from 19 public and private Oregon universities and colleges is available for each scholar.This is the 13th year of the event, which is sponsored by the Oregon Community College Association. Before the ceremony, community college presidents and legislators will honor the students at a lunch in the Willamette River Room C of the Salem Conference Center on Commercial Street (200 Commercial Street SE) in Salem at 11:30 a.m.Here are PCC’s student scholars for 2005:Sylvania CampusKristen Webster (southwest Portland), 23, who majors in nursing, has a 3.9 grade-point average and plans to go into international health care. She is currently a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year honors society, and volunteers her time with the America Reads program, Love Joy SurgiCenter, and in the gastrointestinal bypass surgery ward at Oregon Health and Sciences Center. "I have always had the one motivation and that is to be the first person in my family to obtain a degree and be able to take care of my mother and myself in the years to come," said Webster, who has traveled Egypt, Jordan, Israel and India. "Being such an immediate witness to the struggle of life and death left me with a deep sense of fragility. The idea of helping the less fortunate is my sole motivation."Rossella De Leon (southeast Portland), 20, who is majoring in business information systems, possesses a 3.92 GPA. De Leon has achieved the President’s List and Dean’s List, and is an active student at the campus, volunteering her time for the Sylvania Diversity Fund, Illumination Project, Filipino American Student Association, Powwow committee, Cinco de Mayo and the Filipino Youth and Friends Coalition for Progress. "I chose to attend a community college because as a new struggling citizen and college student of the U.S., I heard from my cousins that community colleges create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere for students like me," said De Leon, who immigrated to Oregon in 2002 from the Philippines. "Being in the Portland Community College for more than two years now, I was able to prove that going to a community college is a good way to start."Cascade CampusChelsia Rice (northeast Portland), 27, has focused her studies on journalism and documentary studies and has a 3.35 GPA. Rice, who has made the Dean’s and Honor’s lists, is heavily involved on campus as board chair of the Women’s Resource Center, coordinator for the united sexualities club, and was a writer with the college newspaper The Bridge. She also has been an intern at Nervy Magazine and KBOO-AM radio, and a volunteer writer at The Alliance newspaper."PCC-Cascade has been superb nurturing community to get my education," Rice said. "It’s exciting and I’m honored to be recognized as a scholar. I feel like the work I have put into my education has been recognized and that feels good."Meagan Robbins (southeast Portland), 24, is majoring in economics and is looking to move on to pre-law at a four-year institution. Robbins, who holds a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the President’s List, serves as vice president of service for Phi Theta Kappa and is ASPCC club coordinator. She also has volunteered her time with Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Public Broadcasting food drive, American Cancer Society, Cascade AIDS walk and filling food boxes for the Sunshine Division. "I feel very fortunate to have been selected as a scholar to represent the Cascade Campus," Robbins said. "I’m thankful for the opportunity to attain a higher education. It will help me attain my goal of pursuing a career in family law."Rock Creek CampusDawn Schmidt (Hillsboro), 34, is majoring in education and plans to transfer to Portland State University with the goal of becoming a teacher. She hails from Ocean City, New Jersey, and holds a 3.68 GPA. Schmidt is on the President’s List, PCC Foundation scholar, member of Phi Theta Kappa and has won a community college poetry award. She is a Women’s Resource Center Advocate, and represents the resource center for the Associated Students of Portland Community College. "PCC has shown me that learning is a wonderful and glorious event that can happen to anyone at anytime in his or her life," said Schmidt. "Many of my goals, which at one time seemed unobtainable, are now within reach because of the constant reinforcement by a caring faculty and wonderful staff members."Heather Lindsay Carpenter (Hillsboro), 29, is a speech communication major who plans to transfer to Portland State University and earn a degree in communication. Carpenter’s home town is Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. She holds a 3.72 GPA and is on the President’s List and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She is involved in student government as the evening coordinator at Rock Creek Campus and is an officer of the Safety Club. "After high school, I became known as simply an employee," she writes. "I went to work right after high school with the lure of financial freedom and independence. I decided to try PCC to make myself more valuable to my employer. The smaller class size and intimate campus layout provided me with a sense of security and gave me the chance to really interact with my professors. I believe the community college has provided me with a foundation a jumping off place for the rest of my educational journey," she said.