Prince William Sound College held its graduation ceremony last Wednesday, June 10, in the college’s atrium. There were 17 graduates from various programs, including Ryan Chalker who was the first graduate from the college’s Outdoor Leadership program, and Chase Smith who was the first graduate to receive an Occupational Endorsement in Millwright. Special presenters included UAA Provost Sam Gingrich, PWSC College Council Chair Mark Swanson, and UA President Jim Johnson.
President Johnson was the keynote speaker. He provided context for the University of Alaska (UA), which is currently in its hundredth year. He spoke of the University’s strengths, such as being the most affordable university in the country and being a global leader for arctic research. He also spoke of the current challenges that UA faces with the declining state budget. He mentioned that a hundred years from now, people would remember this as a time when the University overcame great challenges and how our graduates are a key component to that resiliency.
In 1999, then-UA President Mark Hamilton created the Staff Make Students Count award. It is the most prestigious award given to University staff, and every year it is presented to one staff member at each university and the statewide office. Since 1999, this award has been presented to 70 different staff members across the university system. For the first time in its history, this year the award went to a PWSC employee: Adult Basic Education (ABE) Coordinator Woody Woodgate.
Woody’s accomplishments include restarting the English as a Second Language program, increasing ABE student contact hours by doubling the attendance rates in 2017 from 2015, developing the Math Emporium program, and preparing students for the college math entrance exam. In addition, Woody wrote and serves as Personal Investigator for the Perkins grant that helps fund dual credit enrollment courses in allied health career fields, developed a course to help teachers in rural communities refresh their math skills, and continually works to identify unmet needs at PWSC and find practical, effective solutions.
“After twenty years in education, I’m very appreciative of this award,” said Woodgate. “A big thanks goes to the staff and students that took the time and effort to complete the nomination. Also, thanks to the administrative team and Director Dan O’Connor for their encouragement and support to develop innovative program ideas benefiting our students. Finally, a really big thanks to my wife, Melissa, and family who continue to be understanding that late nights and weekends are just part of what it takes to make every student count.” In addition to a plaque, the University of Alaska also awarded $1,000 and two Alaska Airlines tickets.
This year’s Valedictorian was Mindy Trozelle, an online student who lives in Craig on Prince Wales Island. A married mother of two children and a business owner who works full-time for an infant learning program, Mindy has been working toward her Associate of Applied Science degree in Disability Services with Speech Language Support Emphasis since 2011 and recently graduated with honors in December 2016. Mindy’s passion and drive for speech and language grew from her personal experiences raising a son who struggled with developmental delays.
The ceremony also featured presentation of master’s degrees to Susan Love and Kate Goudreau. Susan received a Master of Public Administration from University of Alaska Southeast, and Kate received a Master of Counseling from University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Afterward, there was a group photo and dessert reception catered by Chocolate Gypsy. Registration is going on now for the Summer and Fall semesters. For more information on any of the college programs, call PWSC at 834-1600.
Graduating Class of 2017
Associate of Arts:
- Craig Thomas Bailer
- Holli Marie Francis Barlow
- Ashley Lynn Briggs
- Shawnda Christine Gallup
- Holly Lynne Mooney
- Meghan Sarah Schinella
- Devena Shayanne Whitcomb***
Associate of Applied Science, Disability Services:
- Mindy Michele Trozelle***
Associate of Applied Science, Industrial Technology:
- Jonathan James Hollaus
- Junaid Hassan Khan**
- Jeremy Wayne Miller
- Corina Sky Nicolette
- Charlie Dean Nixon
Associate of Applied Science, Outdoor Leadership
- Ryan Chalker
Occupational Endorsement Millwright
- David A. Christie
- Chase Allen Smith
- Terrence P. McCabe
Master of Public Administration, University of Alaska Southeast
- Susan I. Love
Master of Counseling, University of Alaska Fairbanks
- Kate I. Goudreau
Honors: *Cum Laude (GPA of 3.5-3.74), **Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.75-3.99), ***Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 4.0)