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Student Achievements Recognized during Annual Awards Ceremony

Primary Media Contact:

Holly Walker
Public Relations Manager

Secondary Media Contact:

Heather Busch
Creative Services Manager

Released on May 31, 2018

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Leadership, academic excellence, community service and creativity were recognized as John Tyler Community College honored more than 100 students during the college’s annual Awards Ceremony. During the ceremony, held at Tyler’s Chester Campus on April 20, 2018, the following awards were presented (zip codes follow recipient names):

Sherwood Forest Art & Literary Review 

John Tyler Community College publishes the Sherwood Forest Art & Literary Review each year in conjunction with its annual student literary and art contest. The publication has highlighted the creativity and talent of John Tyler students since 1968. Students submit entries in the categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and art. Judges review and select first, second and third place winners in each category. Honorable mention awards may be given if the judges choose to recognize additional entries. The winning entries are published in the Review. An electronic copy of the publication may be downloaded at


1st Place – Zach Zarzycki (23228)
2nd Place – Alexzane Taylor (23832)
3rd Place – Guy Dubois (23235)
Honorable Mention – Terry Lynn Smith (23834)
Honorable Mention – Madeline Walter (23236)   


1st Place – William Murfee (23112) 
2nd Place – Adam Short (23226) 
3rd Place – Sydney Baker (23838) 
Honorable Mention – Kearston Kenner (23860) 
Honorable Mention – Savannah Shomette (23836) 

Creative Nonfiction

1st Place – William Campbell (23112) 
2nd Place – Savannah Shomette (23836) 
3rd Place – Emilee Kowalewski (23114) 
Honorable Mention – Zach Zarzycki (23228) 
Honorable Mention – Renee Reed (23235) 


1st Place – Ryan Rotramel (23831) 
2nd Place – Maureen Drivick (23235) 
3rd Place – William Murfee (23112) 
Honorable Mention – Freysol Ruiz (23112) 
Honorable Mention – Elizabeth Dozier (23464) 

Social Sciences Research Expo Awards

Students are given the opportunity to present research they have conducted on a number of subjects at Tyler’s annual Social Science Research Expo. During the Research Expo, visitors, who spend time viewing the research and talking to the students about their findings, are given an opportunity to vote on their favorite projects. This year’s winning project was presented by Aya Khattab (23235) for “The Framing of Palestinians in Mainstream American Media.” Honorable mentions went to Heather Ashbeck (23112) for “Battered Woman Syndrome and Self-Defense Laws” and Alexandra Dizon (23112) for “Self-Segregation in Schools.”

Tau Rho and Beta Omicron Omicron Phi Theta Kappa Academic Awards

John Tyler Community College’s two Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society chapters, Tau Rho and Beta Omicron Omicron, recognized graduating PTK members with the highest GPAs in their programs.  

Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts
Emmaline Capps (23059) 

Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration
Camila Espitia Navas (07857) 
Jennifer Willingham (23236) 

Associate of Science Degree in Engineering
Samuel Scott (23236) 

Associate of Science Degree in General Studies
Nina Copeland (23235)
Lauryn Evans (23838) 
Courtney Stephens (23114) 

Associate of Science Degree in General Studies, Computer Science Specialization
Daniel Lysinger (23002) 
Kenneth Richardson (23112) 

Associate of Science Degree in General Studies, Mass Communications Specialization
Elena Brancato (23838) 
Savannah Shomette (23836)  

Associate of Science Degree in General Studies, Pre-BSN Specialization
Candace Cromwell (23237)
Aya Khattab (23235) 
Michele Malone (23237)  
Jean Murphy (23832) 

Associate of Applied Arts Degree in Visual Arts
Tallie Frost (23234) 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Human Services
Helen Drivick (23235) 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Technician Specialization
William Dove (23223) 

General Education Certificate
Elizabeth Lowry (23832) 

Theresa Windham Service Award

This award was first presented in 1996 in honor of Theresa Hands Windham, who succumbed to a sudden illness in 1993 at the age of 37 while serving as the college’s coordinator of grants and development.  During her short tenure at Tyler, Ms. Windham’s kindness and selflessness touched the lives of countless students, faculty, and staff.  Always smiling, always striving to help others, she was loved by all who had the good fortune to make her acquaintance. This award recognizes students who personify Ms. Windham’s dedication to service without regard for personal gain or adulation. This year’s recipient was Heather Ashbeck (23112). Ashbeck served in the U.S. Air Force for 18 years and is a mother of three children. When she decided to return to school, she chose John Tyler Community College because she liked the college’s small class sizes, its variety of majors, and its transfer options. While taking courses, she discovered her true calling: to become a licensed social worker who helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault become empowered survivors. Ashbeck switched majors, enrolling in Tyler’s Human Services, Pre-Social Work degree program, and she immersed herself in student life, becoming active in a number of clubs, an intern in the college’s Military and Veterans Education Office, and a worker in the Student Activities Office.

Daniel Dalton Award

The Daniel Dalton Award, named in honor of a John Tyler Community College founding faculty member, is presented annually to an outstanding club or student organization that exhibits excellence in the areas of service to the College, commitment to community service, and dedication to academics. This year’s award was presented to the Student Veteran Organization (SVO). Throughout the past year, SVO has donated gift bags to over 70 veterans at McGuire Hospital; hosted a variety of events commemorating the service and sacrifice of those who serve in uniform and out; honored veterans by lining flags along the entrances of both campuses; organized fundraisers; and supported the “UnDecorate a Tree” campaign to assist Tyler students whose families were in need during the holiday season.

Marshall Denison Society

The Marshall Denison Society, named for the College’s second president, was established to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the student activities program at John Tyler. Dr. John Kirn, professor of history, was this year’s inductee. 

CCWA Student Achievement Award

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) Student Achievement Award recognizes a student who exceeded expectations or excelled in a workforce training program. This year’s award was presented to Justine Johnson (23223), a single mother of three small children who wanted to advance her education, so she could achieve her career goals and gain self-sufficiency. When Johnson entered the CCWA program, she was working part-time as a personal care assistant in the medical field and had a true love of helping others in need. Johnson passed her state boards in March and is now a certified nurse aide working at Henrico Health and Rehab.  

Academic Resource Center Tutor Awards

Student tutors for Tyler’s Academic Resource Center (ARC) were recognize for assisting students throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. These students were honored for their work in the ARC:  

McKensie Cooper (23836)
Isaiah Credle (23831)
Maria Daniels (23225)
Yen Dao (23120)
Sabrina Fuller (23139)
Monica Garrett (23842)
Ramzy Hudson (23832)
Elizabeth Lowry (23832)
Sean Minogue (23112)
William Ngu (23836)
Kilyna Nguyen (23831)
Autumn Phillips (23803)
Jonathan Shaw (23235)
Ciara Smith (23832)
Lucia Tol (23831)
Hien “Taylor” Truong (23059)
Daniel Vega (23803)
Casey Zapata (23834)
Zach Zarzycki (23139)

Performing Arts Achievement Awards

Tyler’s Performing Arts program recognized two students who excelled within the program: 

Brooke Glanzman (23002)
Isabell Surina (23229)

Student Ambassador Awards

Tyler’s Student Ambassador Program gives current students the opportunity to represent the college and become student leaders. Student ambassadors lead tours; assist during special events; help their fellow students in a variety of ways; visit area high schools and organizations; and more. The 2017-2018 Student Ambassadors were recognized for their service to the college, and the 2017-2018 Student Ambassador of the Year was named:

2017-2018 Student Ambassadors
Stephen Escamilla (23112)
Dana Legere (23223)
Jordan Nurney (23235)
Reece Adkins (23237)
Julia Bailey (23860)
Brittney White (23608)
Elena Brancato (23838)
Todd Graves (23112)

Student Ambassador of the Year
Julia Bailey (23860)

Student Activities Awards

During the past academic year, the Office of Student Activities organized or provided coordination assistance for more than 70 events and activities. These and other Student Activities’ projects were made possible with the help of several students. These students were recognized for their work:

Heather Ashbeck (23112)
Jeremy Bailey (23860)
Hunter Baker (23112)
Shane Beacham (23803)
Chelsey Bufton (23112)
Richard Bride (23834)
Jonathan Brown (23139)
Emmaline Capps (23059)
Rashawn Cromwell (23832)
Noah Devereaux (23834)
Michael Dovi (23112)
Alexis Gomez (23229)
Lauren Intravia (23831)
Dana Legere (23223)
Elijah Pullings (23236)
Tyler Reitz (23831)

Athletic Achievement Awards

The Office of Student Activities recognized Curt Langley (23223) for his outstanding leadership as the captain of Tyler’s intramural basketball team. Also recognized were Reece Adkins (23237) and Richard Bride (23834) who scored the win at the VCCS Student Leadership Conference Cornhole Tournament.

Trailblazer Award

The Trailblazer Award recognizes students who have put forth maximum effort, as they balance multiple responsibilities, such as work and family, with their classwork. This year’s recipients were:

Reece Adkins (23237)
Jenny Birringer (23112)
Mark Burroughs (23112)
Evita Cancel (23860)
Jamie Carter (23225)
William Cauthen (23223)
Kelsey Cunningham (23234)
Bryson Henry (23112)
Brittany Johnston (23834)
Steven Kent (23113)
Angel Lopez (23803)
Hilmar Lopez-Garcia (23234)
Maria Madava (23112)
Demetria Mann (23236)
Flora Njugi (23236)
Danielle Phillips-Skiba (23801)
Denise Roller (23112)
Margaret Sharp (23235)
Joanna Stephens (23060)
Anthony Taylor (23219)
Ebony West (23805)
Sarah Zawedde (23236)

Trailblazer of the Year Award

The Trailblazer of the Year Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a student. The award is presented annually to a student for outstanding performance and volunteer service to John Tyler Community College and who the faculty and staff believe will achieve great success. This year’s Trailblazer of the Year is Dana Legere (23223). During her time at Tyler, Legere was a student ambassador, was elected Student Government Association president, was named as a VCCS student delegate to the Governor’s Civic Engagement Task Force, attended the VCCS Student Leadership Conference, was named to the Dean’s List, received multiple scholarships, won first place at the 2017 Social Sciences Research Expo, and organized voter registration drives on both campuses. 

John Tyler Community College offers more than 60 majors that provide pathways to careers in high-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, a Nursing Education Center, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 13,900 students during the 2016-17 academic year. It also assisted nearly 6,000 learners and more than 200 companies and organizations through its workforce development division, Community College Workforce Alliance. 

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Holly Walker, Public Relations Manager


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