Outstanding Community College Students Honored at Annual Awards Event


April 13, 2022 (Denver, CO) – Today, more than 90 students from the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), Aims Community College, and Colorado Mountain College were celebrated for their contributions to their colleges and communities at the 2022 CCCS Student Excellence Awards, an annual event hosted by CCCS in partnership with the Credit Union of Colorado and the State Student Advisory Council (SSAC).

The event honors students for their academic accomplishments, exemplary leadership, and commitment to inclusive excellence within three categories:

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

These students have demonstrated great perseverance in the face of unprecedented challenges over the last two years.
-Joe Garcia, CCCS Chancellor
“These students have demonstrated great perseverance in the face of unprecedented challenges over the last two years,” said Joe Garcia, chancellor of CCCS. “Our honorees hold themselves to the highest academic standards and push for progress on the campuses and in their communities. We are proud to recognize their efforts today.”

From mentoring children and young adults to spending countless hours volunteering for various campus and community organizations, the honorees have demonstrated commitment, professionalism, and deep-rooted passion for helping others. Many of the awardees want to continue their advocacy work in fields such as healthcare, social services, criminal justice, and education.

“Not only have you committed to your education and self-empowerment—you’ve committed to lifting up those around you,” said Dr. Ryan Ross, CCCS associate vice chancellor for student affairs and the director of equity and inclusion. “You truly represent the best and brightest of Colorado’s community colleges.”

2022 CCCS Student Excellence Awards Honorees:

Aims Community College

  • Caroline Dexter
  • Robyn Miller
  • Lizeth Rodriguez

Arapahoe Community College

  • Andrew Ahrendts
  • Ashlyn Cross
  • Allison Pason-Guy
  • Dayriana Sanders
  • Sineca Williams-Boettcher
  • Isaac Emmanuel Winchester

Colorado Mountain College

  • Ryan Bunker
  • Julien Carpenter
  • Kodi Henderson

Colorado Northwestern Community College

  • Jadd Reller
  • Jada Braggs
  • Claudia Schuurmans
  • Boll Nyang

Community College of Aurora

  • Sydney Carrero
  • Kyle Gabriel Cruz
  • Abdou Hafizou Tchassanti
  • Micah Levy
  • Serena Martinez

Community College of Denver

  • Mariely Marquez-Lopez
  • Mariam Osman

Front Range Community College

  • Melanie Blanda
  • Rhonnie Crutcher
  • Jelena Estrada
  • Pam Graves
  • Eve Jones
  • Rachel Link
  • Chomba Mwiko
  • Kevin Ortiz
  • Bea Runyan
  • Jill Shuss
  • Sasha Smith
  • Anna Story
  • Emilia Morales
  • Mateo Chavez
  • Nick Hagan
  • Kevin Ortiz

Lamar Community College  

  • Aliana Gutierrez
  • Maddie Thompson
  • Ral’Shaun Descheny
  • Tess Camp
  • Malea Martinez
Morgan Community College

  • Mohamed Ibrahim
  • Cristina Olivo Ortiz
  • Anadelia Ortiz Madera
  • Citlaly Quiroz
  • Alex Muheto
  • Julie Castaneda
  • Elmi Hussein

Northeastern Junior College

  • Paige Finegan
  • Kathleen A. Marty
  • Steve Spurgeon
  • Noelle Meagher
  • Brandon Melnikoff

Otero Junior College

  • Maria Brandao-Santos
  • Heather Broussard
  • Chazz Vigil

Pikes Peak Community College

  • Sarahi Arroyo Hernandez
  • Saira Maqsood
  • Puja Paudel
  • Leslie Stewart
  • Salomé Carrasco
  • Marianna Jacques
  • Wesley Montgomery

Pueblo Community College

  • Lyric Beaumont
  • Halka Brunerova
  • Devan Collazo
  • CJ Purdy
  • Daniel Strome
  • Taija Oakes
  • Hannah Compratt
  • Paige Hoffman

Red Rocks Community College

  • Lila Bear
  • Leisa Menchaca
  • Justina Kroneberger
  • Marie Lim
  • Jamie O’Reilly
  • Ania Poisson

Trinidad State Junior College

  • Tamera Flores Hernandez
  • Casey Groom
  • Katrina McLaughlin
  • Cesar Saavedra
  • Sofia Sinda
  • Jonnalea Tortorelli
  • Crystal Waldroupe
  • Vega Lopez Riano
  • Taylor Escheman
  • Chase Porter


About CCCS
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education and workforce development, delivering thousands of programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 35 locations across Colorado. The System’s open-access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to high quality, affordable higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college cccs.edu.

About the Credit Union of Colorado
The Credit Union of Colorado has more than 80 years of experience serving members of the Colorado community. The Credit Union of Colorado supports local businesses, creates Colorado jobs, and is an important source of financial stability in the state economy. Today, more than 130,000 people, from all walks of life, enjoy the benefits of membership in the credit union that is worth over $1.53 billion in assets.

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