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Meet Your Governor’s Scholars
Photos and Story by James Hill
Six scholars from PCC were recognized for academic and personal accomplishment at a recent ceremony at the state Capitol Building in Salem. The Governor’s Scholars were recognized as part of Oregon’s Outstanding Community College Student Scholars program, which spotlights community college excellence in Oregon.
Each scholar is eligible for a $1,000 scholarship from 19 public and private Oregon universities and colleges. This is the 15th year of the event, which is sponsored by the Oregon Community College Association.
Lisa Hummel is a gerontology major with a 3.9 GPA. The Phi Theta Kappa honor society named Hummel as one of its national New Century Scholars for 2006-2007, and the only such scholar in Oregon. She was recognized at the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual convention to be held this month in Tampa, Fla. Only 50 winners are selected from across the nation and each receives a $2,000 scholarship. She was also named to the first team of the All-USA Today Academic Team.
Hummel, 40, is president of Phi Theta Kappa at the Cascade Campus and volunteers her time at The Heights at Columbia Knoll Retirement Community, Loaves & Fishes and student government fundraisers. She has made the President, Honor and National Dean’s lists and is the recipient of the Ford Foundation Opportunity Scholarship. Hummel plans to go to Portland State University.
“I enjoy working with the senior population and have volunteered many hours assisting in cooking classes, art classes and meal deliveries at Loaves and Fishes, and am currently volunteering at an independent living community,” Hummel said.
Debra Lynn Porta
Debra Lynn Porta, is a sociology major with 3.78 GPA. Porta, 40, has served in student government as a legislative affairs director, and made the President and National Dean’s lists. She also plans to attend PSU. Porta, after sustaining injuries that forced her out of the restaurant business, returned to school at age 37.
“My future plans involve working for nonprofits involved with the homeless and hungry populations,” said Porta. “I have also become increasingly interested in politics and may consider public office at some point. Long-term, I wish to become an educator.”
Rock Creek Campus
Nicole Hurtado is a history major with a 3.91 GPA. Hurtado, 34, has made the President’s List and plans to transfer to Portland State University. She is an active member in the Women’s Resource Center, Phi Theta Kappa, and is a volunteer with the Literacy Program at El Monica Elementary School in Beaverton. Hurtado is the first in her family to attend college after dropping out of high school to have a child. She enrolled at PCC in 2004 to finish college.
“Through the support of the faculty and staff (at PCC) I maintain a high GPA,” said Hurtado. “My peers encourage me to use my voice and talents to speak out and help others. Today I no longer fear failure or success; instead I embrace the adventures before me.”
Hilda Carmen, a chemistry major, is 22 years old and sports a 3.6 grade-point average. Carmen is currently an Oregon Leadership Institute mentor and is active in student government. She has made the President’s List, is a Phi Theta Kappa member and received the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber and CAMP scholarships through the PCC Foundation. She plans to transfer to Oregon State University.
“The CAMP program pushed me to take classes beyond English as a Non-Native Language, and teachers and advisors encouraged me to become involved with the community,” said Carmen. “As a mentor for the Oregon Leadership Institute I realized I could make a difference. Those experiences helped me to step up and become a member of student government. The attention and support given to me by PCC advisors made me realize that anything is possible.”
Emily Harris is a psychology and business major who plans to transfer to Portland State. Harris, 29, carries a 3.82 GPA and is co-chapter president for Phi Theta Kappa. She is a volunteer for the Portland Farmers’ Market, campus habitat restoration team and has helped to restore a community in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. She has also been named to the Phi Theta Kappa’s Honor, Dean and President’s lists.
“My life has taken many twists and turns,” Harris said. “I am so happy that I have returned to college. By returning to my education I am sure to fulfill my goal of becoming a successful human resources manager.”
Taibat Morakinyo is majoring in computer information science and has a 4.0 GPA. Morakinyo, 33, is originally from Nigeria and plans to transfer to PSU. She was a volunteer for PCC’s international day last November and also helped rebuild communities in New Orleans. She says her parents having only an elementary school education helped spur her to achieve a college education.
“I have been dreaming of going to school not only to attend a college and obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but to go as far as a doctorate degree,” said Morakinyo.
“When I was in high school I developed an interest in computer science and since then I have been looking forward to pursuing a career in that field.”
In addition to this honor, Hurtado, Harris, Hummel and Porta will represent PCC on the 2007 All-USA Community and Junior College Academic Team in the national competition, through the sponsor USA Today newspaper. The program is administered by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. The scholars will receive a $1,000 scholarship and visit Nashville, Tenn., for Phi Theta Kappa’s national conference.