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A Brief History

Each year, Crafton Hills College Faculty and Staff honor the best and brightest students from their respective departments. These students come from all walks of life and stand out from their peers for a variety of reasons. Whether they have the highest grade, the strongest work ethic, are the first to help others, or exhibit some other unique characteristic, the College is extremely proud of these individuals and their contributions to our campus community. Congratulations to this year's honorees!

 

Students of the Year

Based on Faculty and Staff Nominations | Spring Semester 2021

 

Students of the Year 2021

Daniel Bickel

Daniel Bickel

Tutoring Center SI Leader and Tutor

Faculty Quote
"Daniel has always been a strong student and SI Leader, but since going remote, his patience, flexibility, work-ethic, and innovation has really shined while everyone around him struggles with the sudden change to remote learning. Daniel has continued to be a popular SI Leader while moving his sessions to an online platform. He patiently coaches his student through  assignments using multiple online platforms to connect. He has also provided more of his own busy schedule to help tutor students in CSci work, while continuing to excel in the subject himself. Daniel has been a great representative of the Tutoring Center."
Nominated by Mr. Nick Reichert and Ms. Karen Peterson
Students of the Year 2021

Amanda Francis

Amanda Francis

Department of Anthropology

Faculty Quote
"Amanda is an exceptional student in anthropology. She has shown initiative and perseverance in going beyond the basic requirements of her classes, producing outstanding and creative academic work. Well done, Amanda!"
Nominated by Department of Anthropology Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Maria Olekh

Maria Olekh

Department of Japanese

Faculty Quote
"Maria has made great contributions to Japanese classes and the Japanese Study Club. She has been taking Japanese classes for four semesters, from 101 through 104. She had the experience of studying at a high school in Tokyo, so her skills and knowledge of Japanese was outstanding when she started taking Japanese classes at our college. She has been very interested in Japanese culture, history, and society as well as the Japanese language. Thus, it was no wonder that she joined Japanese Study Club when she enrolled in JAPN 101. Maria really loves Japan and Japanese. Currently, she is working hard as President of Japanese Study Club, voluntarily teaching Japanese to other students and planning various events such as Japanese movie time. Congratulations Maria!"
Nominated by Japanese Prof. Mayumi Ajioka
Students of the Year 2021

Charis Alexander

Charis Alexander

Department of English and Reading

Faculty Quote
"Charis is an active student in many areas including 2021 Black History Month events and being a member of the Critical Thinking Club. She is also active in other clubs and a founding member of the Christian Club. Charis is a dedicated, driven student!"
Nominated by Department of English and Reading Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Amr Bahjri

Amr Bahjri

Promise Program

Faculty Quote
"Amr has been an exemplary student throughout his two years in the Promise Program and at CHC. He has continued to excel throughout the pandemic, both by always staying ahead of the curve in the Promise Program as well as achieving and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He shows his commitment to being a great student by being active in the Honors Program and participating in the Counseling office as a student worker before going remote."
Nominated by Promise Program Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Gabriel Chavez

Gabriel Chavez

Department of Radiologic Technology

Faculty Quote
"Gabriel is a single father who works part-time to raise his daughter. He took a break from school and despite his busy schedule managed to go back to school to provide a better opportunity for himself and his daughter. He is an excellent student."
Nominated by Radiology Prof.Melissa Huynh
Students of the Year 2021

Grace Daboura

Grace Daboura

Department of Mathematics

Faculty Quote
"Grace has achieved a perfect score on every assignment and on every test, including the Final Exam, in the last two semesters of Calculus."
Nominated by Department of Mathematics Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Patricia Daniels

Patricia Daniels

Department of American Sign Language

Faculty Quote
"Patricia (Kate) is such an inspirational student. Despite some personal hurdles, she is punctual to class, engaged from start to finish, thoughtful with her assignments, and her signing skills are impressive. Her language acquisition of ASL has always been ahead of the curve. I am so proud of you Kate; you will be (and already are) a wonderful asset to our community... both hearing and deaf. I have always loved the quote, "Don't wish for what you want in life, but go out and get it," and Kate is doing just that. Keep up the great work!"
Nominated by Department of American Sign Language Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Kobe Darby

Kobe Darby

Department of Theatre Arts

Faculty Quote
"In addition to keeping his grades up during COVID, Kobe has stepped into a student leadership position within the Department and helped to keep the morale of his fellow students up. Congratulations, Kobe!"
Nominated by Theater Prof. Paul Jacques
Students of the Year 2021

Sara Doering

Sara Doering

Department of Environmental Science

Faculty Quote
"Sara is a future environmental scientist that is very passionate about the field, with interests in climate change and sustainability. While at Crafton, she was one of the top performing students in the Geoscience program. She will be transferring to UCR this coming Fall."
Nominated by Department of Environmental Science Prof. Rich Hughes
Students of the Year 2021

Tracy Edge

Tracy Edge

Department of Adult Education

Faculty Quote
"Tracy is a true example of what it means to fight for your dreams. She has demonstrated her ability to be an excellent student, support her family, and being a loving mother at the same time. Tracy always brings positivity even in tough times. It is always a pleasure to have a conversation with her. I am proud to have witnessed her transition from Adult School into college, and although it was not easy, she has accomplished so much. I know we still have more to see from her. Keep up with the great work Tracy!"
Nominated by Program Specialist Herberth "Alex"Jaco
Students of the Year 2021

Schyler El-Rahi,

El-Rahi, Gideon Schyler

Department of Geology

Faculty Quote
"Skye is a great student of Geology. Since becoming a Geology major, he is one of the most enthusiastic students in his geological studies courses. In the last year, Skye also became a tutor for the Geology Department (as well as other subjects), and is a natural in helping get the concepts of Geology across to students in Geoscience classes. Congratulations Skye!"
Nominated by Geology Professor Rich Hughes
Students of the Year 2021

Sydney Funderburk

Sydney Funderburk,

Department of Biology

Faculty Quote
"Sydney Funderburk met and exceeded academic expectations on a regular basis in her biology classes, both in the pre-pandemic traditional format and during emergency remote instruction. Sydney supported her fellow students' success, informally as a peer and formally as part of CHC's tutoring team. I admired and appreciated Sydney's spunk in speaking up regularly, bringing me questions and feedback so I could improve our teaching and learning environment. Sydney has a B.S. in film studies, writes, teaches music, and now has her sights on medical school. I know she will do an outstanding job, in every role she chooses to pursue in her life."
Nominated by Department of Biology Prof.Ruth Greyraven
Students of the Year 2021

Juliette Gonzales

Juliette Gonzales

Veterans Resource Center

Faculty Quote
"Juliette has proven herself to be an outstanding employee while working in the Veteran's Resource Center. We can always count on her to be there for events and projects. She is graduating Spring 2021. "
Nominated by Program Coordinator Mr. Steven Rush
Students of the Year 2021

Melissa Grubb

Melissa Grubb

Department of Music

Faculty Quote
"Melissa has been an outstanding part of the Music Program and is a strong member of the Crafton community. She supports and encourages her peers in performances and classes, and has worked to build camaraderie among Music majors. She has been accepted to multiple CSU Music Programs for Fall 2021."
Nominated by Music Prof. Mark McConnell
Students of the Year 2021

Carina Gutierrez

Carina Gutierrez

Department of CalWORKs

Faculty Quote
"Carina has been an inspirational student for me. Carina is a single mom and has a lovely daughter, named Magnolia who I fondly call “Magpie”. Carina is a great student and has always been open with me. I have known Carina since 2017 when she first joined the CalWORKs Program. It was a slow start as she was trying to figure things out but now, Carina is almost done! She is on track to graduate at the end of Fall 2021 with AS Health Sciences. What I appreciate the most about Carina is her appreciation of the CalWORKs Program at CHC. Per Carina, being a recipient of cash aid and CalWORKs comes with a lot of stereotypes and shaming. However, she knows in her heart that not all the stereotypes are true. Carina sees cash aid and CalWORKs as great resources and stepping stones to help her to succeed and get out of the poverty cycle. Carina is grateful for the services available to her from the CalWORKs Program. Per Carina, CHC CalWORKs Program has been more than just an opportunity for resources, but also motivational and resource for emotional support from Director, Counselors and Staff. Per Carina, she will always be thankful for CHC CalWORKs Program for being there for her and supported her through her ups and downs. Per Carina: Never give up. Take one day, one class, one semester at a time."
Nominated by Department of CalWORKs Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Stephanie Gysler

Stephanie Gysler

Department of Respiratory Care

Faculty Quote
"This student actively participates in course discussions and lab activities. The student always presents as prepared and ready to learn from the information being presented. Academic performance has been strong throughout the time spent in the respiratory program and the student actively applies themselves to gain the most from the clinical experiences provided. By combining these elements, this student is on the road to success and achievement in becoming an excellent respiratory care practitioner."
Nominated by Department of Respiratory Care Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Kristina A. Heilgeist

Kristina A. Heilgeist

Department of Sociology

Faulty Quote
"Ms. Heilgeist is a single mother who works fulltime and has earned a 4.0 GPA. She is a dedicated and driven student who has excelled in all her classes. Her qualities include: leadership, passion, social awareness and compassion. She is always kind and gracious to her fellow students and continually maintains a positive attitude!"
Nominated by Department of Sociology Prof. Julie McKee
Students of the Year 2021

Irene Hernandez

Irene Hernandez

Department of Disabled Student Services 

Faculty Quote
"Irene is a very hard working student with a positive attitude. She is wonderful!"
Nominated by Department of Disabled Student Services Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Ashley Hummel

 Ashley Hummel

Department of Guardian Scholars

Faculty Quote
"Ashley Hummel has been in the EOPS Program since Spring 2019. She is an excellent and very motivated student. Ashley has many strengths. She is highly responsible and dependable. When she sets her mind to accomplish her goal, she achieves it! Ashley has been through a lot in her life . Through the process of navigating adversity, Ashley has gained insight and become an empowered advocate for herself. Ashley demonstrates that there is no situation that you cannot change if you have the determination and perseverance to do so. In spite the hardships she has endured, Ashley possesses an inner strength and self-assurance that are key factors to her success. Ashley has been accepted to Cal Baptist University Spring 2021 but has deferred transfer to Fall 2021 as she wanted to finish some classes at CHC this Spring 2021 semester."
Nominated by Department of Guardian Scholars Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Trent Kratz

Trent Kratz

Department of Psychology

Faculty Quote
"Trent Kratz is a relatively new student to the field of psychology and is now a major! He took Research Methods (Psych 201) in the Fall of 2020 and had his research accepted to be presented at the Western Psychological Association this April, 2021. His research was titled "The Parental Influence on Romantic Relationship Satisfaction: A Correlational Analysis. Trent has demonstrated his excellent writing skills, dedication to his studies, and first-rate communication skills by achieving a 4.00 as of the Fall 2020 at CHC. He is a member of the Psychology Club a part-time monitor in an HOA community, and a former Sunday School teacher! His goal is to become a Clinical Psychologist."
Nominated by Department of Psychology Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Zoe Lane

Zoe Lane

Department of Visual Arts

Faculty Quote
"Zoe has developed as a visual artist in leaps and bounds over the course of her time at Crafton. Zoe's artwork is consistently thoughtful and engaging; her artwork continues to grow in skill and conceptual depth. Zoe has been a wonderful student in all ways, and her kindness, intelligence, and work ethic have been a great example to fellow students and to all who work with her."
Nominated by Department of Visual Arts Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Natali Lemus

Natali Lemus

Department of Counseling

Faculty Quote
"Natali has been very proactive in working with Counseling and Transfer Center to achieve her goals and transfer. She has achieved degrees in Multiple Science and Social Science during the Spring of 2020. Natali has a passion for learning about the social sciences and decided while she waits to hear back from the universities, that she would also pursue her degrees in Anthropology and Psychology. Natali continuously demonstrates her love of learning and the level of commitment necessary to succeed in college and beyond."
Nominated by Counselor Violeta Vazquez
Students of the Year 2021

Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez

Paramedic Program

Faculty Quote
"Throughout the program and the multitude of hardships that the pandemic has caused, Mr. Martinez maintained an outstanding attitude and dedicated work ethic. Andrew earned high marks across all courses and his precepting agency greatly enjoyed hosting him during the final phases of the program. He is a shinning example of the caliber of student and clinician that Crafton Hills College Paramedic program strives to cultivate and we are confident that he will be a strong asset to the communities that he serves."
Nominated by Paramedic Program Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Ashley Mascarenhas

Ashley Mascarenhas

Department of Honors

Faculty Quote
"Ashley has been one of the Honors Ambassadors this year and has done a terrific job representing the program. She is "all in," participating in all our programs, helping with all our events, and always providing thoughtful, meaningful input. She has recently become the editor of our newsletter. She is reliable and creative, a true pleasure to work with."
Nominated by Ms.Judy Cannon & Ms. Debbie Bogh
Students of the Year 2021

Daniel McCluskey

Daniel McCluskey

Department of Honors

Faculty Quote
"For several years, Daniel has been very involved in everything the Honors Institute does. He attends every function, has presented his research in seven research conferences, and generally brings an air of enthusiasm to the program. He is a great example of what the Honors program can do for a student who gets involved
Nominated by Ms.Judy Cannon & Ms.Debbie Bogh
Students of the Year 2021

Katie McDonald Wiley

Katie McDonald Wiley

Department of Anatomy & Physiology

Faculty Quote
"Katie McDonald Wiley is a Deaf/Hard of hearing, excellent, hardworking student, and a mother of two. She serves as a role model to her kids and the Deaf community. Katie is in the final stages of earning her AS (Associate of Science) degree at Crafton Hills College. Her goal is to be accepted into a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program and eventually contribute to the healthcare profession. Katie continues to work hard to overcome challenges as a Deaf/Hard of hearing college student and credits her success to the wonderful services of the DSPS office and the amazing and supportive professors at Crafton Hills College."
Nominated by Department of Anatomy & Physiology Prof. Dr. Sam Truong
Students of the Year 2021

Alicia Medina

Alicia Medina

Department of Spanish

Faculty Quote
"Alicia is worthy of recognition for her outstanding achievement in the field."
Nominated by Department of Spanish Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Casandra Mora

Casandra Mora

CARE Program

Faculty Quote
"Casandra is a mother of 3 children, Caleb (10), Joseph (5) and Elisa (2 ½). Raising 3 children on her own, helping her 2 sons with the online learning during Covid and providing for her family is quite difficult. BUT, Casandra is determined to achieve the goals she has set for herself. She has repeatedly told me that she is motivated to do well in school because she wants to be a role model for her children. Per Casandra, it is her children that keeps her going! Casandra is on track to graduate at the end of Sprng 2021 with AS-T Business Administration. She is also on track to transfer and has received conditional acceptance from CSU San Bernardino. I admire Casandra for her determination and I have told her that many times.  Casandra is very grateful for the EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs Programs. Per Casandra, our Programs have helped her and her children tremendously and she is absolutely grateful. Casandra and I have had numerous talks about different topics throughout her stay in the EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs Programs. But there is one she told me that has always stayed with me, and I quote, “Whatever life throws you, as long as you have perseverance, you will get what you want."
Nominated by CARE Program Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Yasuna Morita

Yasuna Morita

Department of History

Faculty Quote
"Yasuna Morita sets an excellent example in the online classroom. She is a dedicated student who models professionalism with every assignment submission. Additionally, she is a mother of grown children and she has returned to college to pursue her dream of becoming a pianist. I admire her passion for education and her desire to learn more about History. This 2020/2021 school year, she has enrolled in my U.S. History courses with the goal of fulfilling degree requirements and to study for her U.S. Citizenship exam. This college and country is all the better with individuals such as Yasuna Morita actively contributing to the educational experience and society"
Nominated by History Prof. Sabrina Jimenez
Students of the Year 2021

Robert Remedios

Robert Remedios

Department of Biology

Faculty Quote
"I met Bobby Remedios during pandemic instruction. During Zoom sessions, Bobby helped by bringing pertinent chat messages from other students to my attention. I learned that Bobby was contributing to CHC by working as a math tutor and serving as the Math Club president. In our Fall 2020 lab meetings, Bobby's personality and desire to assist others stood out, even from behind a mask, with lab groups limited to 8 students and social distancing maintained.I wondered at first if his goal to be an anesthesiologist was purely practical but Bobby has a true and incandescent passion for science of all kinds.  Online, Bobby always had the best questions and creative thoughts about class content.  I have confidence Bobby will succeed in whatever goals he sets for himself in life."
Nominated by Biology Prof. Ruth Greyraven
Students of the Year 2021

Robert Remedios

Robert Remedios

Department of Mathematics

Faculty Quote
"Bobby is in his first year as President of the Math Club. He has done an excellent job of adapting the club to being remote and broadening the membership of the club. Bobby brings a genuine academic curiosity and enthusiasm to his work which shows in the diverse topics he is interested in. He also welcomes all to participate in mathematics and problem solving regardless of their academic background. This curiosity and enthusiasm will serve him well through his academics and future career."
Nominated by Department of Mathematics Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

AJ Sparks

AJ Sparks

Department of Athletics

Faculty Quote
" AJ is a team leader. He brings energy and hard work into every aspect of the Crafton Swimming program."
Nominated by Department of Athletics Faculty
Students of the Year 2021

Steven Spellacy

Steven Spellacy

Department of EOPS

Faculty Quote
"Steven Spellacy often refers to himself as the person “everyone doubted,” but one would never guess by his vivacious spirit , encouraging character and impeccable work ethic. Steven has gone from a teenage-parent to a soon-to-be college graduate (with honors), proving “everyone” wrong. He and his wife, Alyssa, have been students in EOPS since 2018 and they will both transfer to CSUSB in the fall to become teachers. Steven has openly expressed how he wants to give back to the community and help encourage the next generations of learners, just as he does with his two children. Steven is vocal about the need for equity and social justice in education and want to contribute to a solution. It has been an honor to work with Steven and experience his growth. Congratulations and best wishes!"
 
Nominated by Department of EOPS Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Hannah Stiff

Hannah Stiff

Department of Political Science 

Faculty Quote
"Outstanding student with exceptional writing skills, study habits and work ethic. Hannah is also an active participant in student government and campus activities. She will succeed in whatever career path she chooses. We have been fortunate to have her here at CHC"
Nominated by Political Science Prof.Steven L. Hellerman
Students of the Year 2021

Hannah Stiff

Hannah Stiff

Department of Student Life

Faculty Quote

"Ms. Hannah Stiff has been a member of the Student Senate for 2 years and done an exemplary job as a student leader. Whether she’s presenting at Club Rush, representing the student voice at shared governance committees, or volunteering for an event, Hannah always goes “above and beyond” for the task at hand. Her outgoing nature, attention to detail, and ability to collaborate with people from all walks of life make her absolutely deserving of this award.  

Congratulations Hannah!!"

Nominated by Department of Student Life Director, Dr. Ericka Paddock
Students of the Year 2021

Lauren Valdez

Lauren Valdez

Promise Program

Faculty Quote
"Lauren has already made her mark on this campus in her first year at CHC and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon! She has been a great example in this pandemic to fellow students by always completing assignments on time and achieving a 4.0 GPA in her first semester. She is highly active on campus and has also highly excelled through the Honors program."
Nominated by Promise Program Faculty and Staff
Students of the Year 2021

Marisa Ward

Marisa Ward

Department of Communication Studies

Faculty Quote
"Marissa is a hardworking student who excels in the classroom."
Nominated by Communication Studies Prof. Jimmy Urbanovich
Students of the Year 2021

Spencer Wolford

Spencer Wolford

Department of Spanish

Faculty Quote
"Spencer is recognized for outstanding achievement in the field."
Nominated by Department of Spanish Faculty