GateWay to Honor Graduates at May 14 Commencement Ceremonies
On Friday, May 14, GateWay Community College (GWCC) will hold commencement ceremonies for graduating students as they are awarded their certificates of completion and/or associate degrees. To honor the 1,393 graduates, a Commencement Ceremony for certificate and degree candidates, and a Pinning Ceremony for graduating nursing students will be held.
Both events will take place at the North Phoenix Baptist Church, which is located at 5757 North Central Avenue in Phoenix. The Nursing Pinning Ceremony begins at 3 p.m. and the Commencement Ceremony will follow at 6:45 p.m. Free parking will be available at each event.
Whether a student is headed straight to the workplace or is transferring to a university, each graduate has a story to tell about their educational journey. With this in mind, six outstanding certificate and degree candidates shared their stories:
Amira Boskovski, will address her peers at this year's graduation as the honored student speaker and as a remarkable example of determination and dedication. Her journey began 17 years ago when she first enrolled at GWCC without a goal in mind. Through the course of almost two decades, she eventually decided on a career as a Registered Nurse. Along the way she received her Licensed Practical Nursing credentials, took time off from school to work, get married and start a family. In 2001, her second child was diagnosed with autism, leading to her decision to leave work and become a stay at home mom during which time her nursing license lapsed. Not losing sight of her original goal, she returned to school off and on and had two more children. Then, in 2006, her youngest was also diagnosed with autism.
Two years later, now as a single mom, she returned to GWCC to have her license reinstated and continue her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Back working part-time as an LPN, she attended school full-time as an honors student and discovered a love for literature and the possibilities an education can offer. She represented GWCC at this year's Honors Conference in Wyoming and will receive an Associate in Arts degree which is providing her the foundation to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing.
Hector Salazar, an automotive technology major from Yuma, Ariz., attended GWCC as a full-time student while also working full-time as an Automotive Technician. He is graduating with honors. He represented GWCC along with four other students at the SkillsUSA Arizona Championships and placed first, securing a spot in the National Leadership and Skills Conference this June in Missouri. He served as president of GWCC's Automotive Club and often volunteered at campus events. He plans to enroll at Arizona State University (ASU) in the fall to begin his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Jonathan Carrillo, a biology major, will be the first in his family to graduate from college. As an Honors student, he was very involved in student activities. He served as last year's Student Council Vice-President, which allowed him to travel to California and Tucson to participate in leadership conferences. He was also a member of the Hispanic Student Organization, Soccer Club, Phi Theta Kappa, and often volunteered at college events such as GeckoLand and the Holiday Buffet. He also provided campus tours to potential students. Jonathan will transfer to ASU this fall to pursue a degree in microbiology with the hope of attending medical school to become a surgeon.
For Pamela Shepherd, a Physical Therapist Assisting (PTA) graduate, the third time's the charm. She began her career as an internal auditor in Florida, went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and after 16 years her husband was transferred to Fort Worth, Texas. She left chasing the corporate ladder behind and discovered a passion that catered to her nurturing instincts as a substitute elementary school teacher. Eventually she was offered a position, and went on to receive her credentials through an alternative certification program. She taught for five years before her husband's job transferred them once again, this time to Phoenix. At this stage, she played with retirement but found she wasn't ready and felt she wasn't contributing to society like she wanted to.
During her trial retirement, she trained with her neighbor and the Phoenix Heat Wheelchair Rugby team at the Arizona Disabled Sports Gym in Mesa. Some of the team members were USA Paraolympians training for the Beijing Olympics. Here she helped with their training and was encouraged to enter the Physical Therapy field. In 2008, she began the PTA Program at GWCC, and through her clinical experiences, she is confident she is on the right path. With her certification, she is leaning toward heading back to an educational environment to assist disabled children in a one-on-one setting and furthering her education with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science at Northern Arizona University.
Miriam Pallister, came to GateWay from New Mexico where she was homeschooled and competed high school at the age of 16. Always wanting to be a nurse, she explored her educational options and at the age of 18, enrolled in GWCC's Nursing Program because of the smaller class sizes and excellent reputation for training nurses. During her studies, Miriam participated in the TRIO program from which she received tutoring, and learned study and test taking techniques. She also got married and had two children and through diapers and late nights, she never wavered from her goal, also finding the time to immerse herself in college life. She served as president of Club INSITE for two years, served as the secretary of Club PLAY, through the campus child care center where she brought her daughter, and was a science tutor for the Upward Bound Program on campus for 3 years. She will graduate with her Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing. She plans to work as a Registered Nurse for a year, hopefully as a Labor and Delivery Nurse, then return to school to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with an ultimate goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
Indira Harahap, a biology major, is one of ten GateWay Early College High School students graduating from the high school as well as GWCC this year. Indira was named to the 2010 All-Arizona Academic Team, an honor for community college students across the state. She is involved in Phi Theta Kappa and served as the campus organization's Vice President of Service and Fellowship. Additionally, she participated in the IGNITE Club (Influence, Guide and Network for Intercollegiate Tobacco Education), the Hispanic Student Organization, and World Explorer's Club. She is also a member of the Camelback Mountaineers Pathfinder Club. Community service is strongly valued by Indira, who reaches out to others in numerous ways as a volunteer at the Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Children's Hospital, and at the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. Indira plans to continue her education at ASU.