2019 Outstanding Student Awards

By Vanessa Lauren

Outstanding Student Awards honors 22 College of Southern Nevada students for their exceptional academic performances.

CSN’s Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs James McCoy describes the event as, “A beautiful ceremonious night. I’m getting all chocked up just thinking about it because it is a tearful event: an emotionally impactful event. It is one of my favorite events of the year. Seventeen years and I’ve never missed it. Thousands of students graduate at Thomas and Mack but this Outstanding Student ceremony is intimate.”

“There are 22 students and we get to hear their stories and after their stories are shared the students selected will get to go the podium and say a few words in response to receiving those honors,” McCoy says. “In that moment, there is this overwhelming sense of pride. This overwhelming sense of joy. There are accolades shared. There should be branded CSN Kleenex in every aisle because tears are flowing.”

Students winning these awards are nominated annually by each academic department at the College. Faculty vote for students who best represent their departments. Winners receive plaques and awards for their efforts, according to Professor Jennifer Mitchell, who had a couple of her very own journalism students win these awards in the past few years. Families and faculty are there to cheer them on. “By the end of the night, everyone in the room feels uplifted, inspired, encouraged and amazed at the high quality of CSN students,” Mitchell says.

One of the student honorees Nicole Xophi Welch, nominated by the Department of Human Behavior, says, “I certainly did not expect to be able to win an award like this. I cried when I finally realized I actually won and everything about this has just been an amazing experience for me.” When she started college she wanted to put everything in to it to be successful and this is a wonderful validation.

Welch has complex post-traumatic stress disorder as well as an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome making it difficult for her to stay motivated but her efforts and prevalence was quickly noticed and recognized by CSN psychology Professor Elsa Mason.

“I had Nicole in my psychology of human relations course,” Mason says. “At the beginning of the semester she joined the psychology club, which I advise, and immediately displayed superb leadership qualities. It was evident that she was dedicated to studying and learning psychology and she would be a stellar representative for our department as an outstanding student.”

Department of Media Technologies winner Bailey Thurmond is shocked to receive this award.

“I wanted to finish my associate strong to be done in May so I went crazy and I am taking 18 credits,” Thurmond says. The plan is to graduate soon and continue on to a bachelor’s in photography. One of the most rewarding parts of CSN for Thurmond, “Pushing myself creatively to lengths I didn’t know I could go.”

Maria Mencos, winner from the Department of Social Sciences, says the most challenging part of her journey was taking the leap to come back to school, and making adjustments and sacrifices to pursue her education at CSN. “I am thankful to CSN and Instructor Seacord for recognizing my efforts as well.”

“I am looking forward to having the people who have supported me throughout my educational journey there with me to share this accomplishment,” Mencos says.

Hospitality Management Department winner Allen Adamyan says, “I am incredibly excited and humbled to be a recipient of the Outstanding Student Awards. Hard work and an eagerness to succeed really do pay off.”

The most difficult part of Adamyan’s journey during his collegiate studies was balancing a heavy work load. He worked a full-time and part-time job all while attending school. “Pushing myself to my limits has made me realize they aren’t limits. We are all capable of doing so much. I set goals for myself and proceed to exceed my own expectations. This journey has helped me grow and become a person I am proud to be.” Adamyan plans on attending University of Nevada, Las Vegas for his bachelor’s in hospitality after he’s completed his degree at CSN.

The College community comes together to celebrate these Outstanding Students on Friday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. in the North Las Vegas campus’ Morse Arberry Jr. Telecommunications Building. It’s open to the public.

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